High blood pressure is more common than you think, it can be deadly if left untreated. Let's take a good look at high blood pressure, the causes, symptoms and various treatments.
Blood pressure is created by the force of the heart pumping blood around your body, it also measures the pressure within your arteries and the resistance your heart has to pump against to get blood to flow around the body. Normal BP delivers an effective blood supply to all parts of the body. When your BP is elevated it is called hypertension, and low blood pressure is called hypotension.
According to the Ministry of Health in my country (New Zealand), high blood pressure is responsible for an amazing 43% of all deaths in the NZ population aged 65 and over in 1999. Incredible – that is almost half of all deaths. I’m sure if you are reading this and live in USA, Europe, or any other Western nation that the statistics would be quite similar. An incredible ten percent of the entire NZ population take some form of prescribed BP pharmaceutical drugs. Among those 65 years and over, 36 percent said they were currently taking blood pressure pills. About 66 percent of men aged 75 and over had elevated BP, but only 36 percent were on medication for it. There is also evidence that taking pharmaceutical medication was not always effective in alleviating the problem.
There is a high level of unrecognised high BP among older people, and it is most evident among women aged 75 and over, where 72 percent had BP issues but 28 percent were not on medication for it. Among the 44 percent of the elderly who were on medication, half still had issues.
Top Number – Systolic pressure This is the first number, systolic pressure is the pressure that occurs when the heart contracts and forces blood through the arteries; think of this like the water that comes out of your tap when you open it.
Bottom Number – Diastolic Pressure This is the second number, diastolic pressure is the pressure while the heart is relaxed. Think of this like you are measuring the pressure in the pipes (blood vessels) with the tap shut.
The systolic number is placed over or before the diastolic number and is always the higher of the two numbers. 110/70 is spoken as “110 over 70.
Normal BP is 120 (systolic) over 75 -80 (diastolic) or lower. Hypertension is defined as blood pressure averaging 140/90 or higher in at least two preferably three separate measurements.
You don’t want a lot of pressure against your arteries (your internal pipes) constantly as that can cause them to balloon out (aneurysm) or a stroke may occur. When your pipes get older, they may get clogged up inside, this is called atherosclerosis or what is know as “plaque build-up” in the arteries) or maybe even hard or brittle with calcium deposits, etc; called arteriosclerosis – hardening of the arteries.
Clean water, like your blood, will mean clean pipes, so keep your kidneys and liver in good shape, and your pipes and internal blood circulation will look after itself a lot better. Doing an annual fast or cleanse is a good idea if you drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks regularly, this can help your circulatory system by improving the function of your liver.
Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the artery walls while your heart is contracting at full force and also while it is resting between the beats.
In the past, blood pressure used to be classified as “mild”, “moderate” or “severe”. But these are thought not to adequately represent the role of blood pressure as an important risk factor in heart disease. Instead, the US National Committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure has developed a number of new stages for hypertension. (see table)
This enables your doctor to classify blood pressure more accurately at different levels – normal and high normal, and then four stages of hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension used to be called “mild” high blood pressure. High normal is regarded as an intermediary zone, the risk is not serious, but has the potential for getting worse over time, particularly if there is a family risk of high blood pressure. The risk of serious disease increases with increasing stages of hypertension, and for this reason it is important for you to accurately monitor your blood pressure.
The Classification of Blood Pressure
|Systolic BP||Diastolic BP||
What to do
|Normal||Under 130||Under 85||Recheck in 2yrs|
|High-Normal||130 – 139||85 – 89||Recheck in 1yr|
|Stage 1||140 – 159||90 – 99||Confirm in 2 months|
|Stage 2||160 – 179||100 – 109||See doctor in a month|
|Stage 3||180 – 209||110 – 119||See doctor in a week|
|Stage 4||210+||120+||immediate attention|
Are you happy with your blood pressure, heart health and circulation? No? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Thousands of people struggle with their circulation as they grow older and worry about their blood pressure increasing as they age, their risk of stroke increasing or developing angina or a heart attack like their relations have. Others complain of cold hands and feet or cramping pains in their calf muscles from poor blood supply. You may feel a little lost with all the conflicting advice from friends, magazines and the internet. That’s why we created this website, to give you realistic and sensible advice and tips on healthy lifestyle and diet and supplementation which are all conducive to assisting you to develop an excellent heart health.
High blood pressure is one of the most serious of health problems in this country; yet some sufferers never even experience warning symptoms. It is potentially dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard, and also makes the walls of the arteries hard and as a result, the disease slowly destroys multiple organs and tissues until a health crisis inevitably becomes apparent.
High blood pressure significantly increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, the first- and third-leading causes of death for many people who live in Western developed nations. High blood pressure can also cause other problems, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and even blindness
Your BP is controlled by a complex regulatory system involving your heart, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, and adrenal glands. It is quite normal for your blood pressure to fluctuate often, even minute to minute. There is even a condition known as “white coat hypertension”, where a patient’s blood pressure is high in the doctor’s office.
This is a very important and relevant question but not so easily answered! A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered (medically) to be high blood pressure. You can find out if you have high blood pressure by having your blood pressure checked regularly. Your doctor will diagnose you with high blood pressure on the basis of several readings, taken on different visits to his or her rooms.
Although countless dollars are spent annually for the treatment and detection of cardiovascular disease, current conventional treatments have done little to reduce the number of those with hypertension. Natural medicine offers a most effective way to decrease the rising number of people with high BP. Research has found a variety of a natural therapies to be successful in reducing high blood pressure including diet, exercise, stress management, nutritional supplements, and herbal medicines. Do you have high blood pressure? And more importantly …Is your BP under or out of control and what are you going to do about lowering it?
Your doctor will discuss the treatment you need, and medical treatment may be necessary if you blood pressure is very high. Most cases of mild and even moderate blood pressure can be successfully treated at home with dietary modification, regular exercise and a sensible fat-loss program. Treatment will depend to a large degree on how high your blood pressure is, what is causing it, and whether you have other medical problems. To help maintain a healthy blood pressure, give serious consideration to:
You will be told that the key to healthy heart eating is choosing foods lower in salt and to keep your sodium intake right down. Most adults I’ve seen as patients consume plenty of salt, but they tend to eat the refined and purified white salt. The current recommendation is to consume less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day. That is about having 6 grams (or 1 teaspoon) of white refined table salt a day. This 6 grams include all salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking and at the table. For someone with very high blood pressure, your doctor may advise eating much less salt.
In reality, most people are actually harmed by low-salt diets. Salt is actually essential for life, and you cannot live without it. However, you don’t want to use your current refined white table salt. Instead, it is important to obtain real natural salt – and we recommend Himalayan salt (pinkish in color) or Celtic Sea Salt.
The difference between conventional white supermarket salt and natural unrefined salt is that conventional salt is dried at a staggering 650 degrees Celsius. (1200 degrees Fahrenheit). This amount of heat changes the chemical structure of the salt. Also, conventional processing adds harmful additives and chemicals, such as “free flowing agents”.
When your body attempts to eliminate this excessively processed and highly refined salt, water is taken from your cells, which tends to compromise the fluid balance in your cells. Naturally your doctor wants you to reduce you salt intake when you get side-effects from highly processed salt! You may be surprised to learn that for every gram of sodium chloride (white table salt) that your body cannot get rid of, your body uses 23 times the amount of water to neutralize that salt.
How Blood Pressure Happens – The are potentially several mechanisms responsible for elevated blood pressure. Genetics may account for up to one third of all cases of hypertension, but for most of us causative factors include arteriosclerosis (narrower, stiffer arteries), inactivity, being overweight of obese, chronic stress, diabetes and having more fluid retention due to too much refined white salt.
Detecting Blood Pressure – The are different ways you can determine your blood pressure, and we recommend that you purchase a digital blood pressure monitor. These are gradually replacing the older types of blood pressure monitors (which many doctors still use) called a sphygmomanometer, a device comprising an inflatable cuff to restrict blood flow, and a column of mercury to measure the pressure. Manual sphygmomanometers are used in conjunction with a stethoscope, which are handy to determine the “heart sounds” as well, and these you won’t pick up with a digital monitor.
Blood Pressure Monitor – Modern digital BP home monitoring devices are the best ones for daily monitoring, but have supplementary checks at your doctor’s surgery where your results are regularly recorded. The practice nurse can generally do this for you. Please remember – high blood pressure often has NO symptoms you can feel or see. Important – bring your Blood Pressure Monitor with you when you visit your doctor. You can then compare your readings (and accuracy) of your measurements and your doctor’s measurements.
White Coat Hypertension – The condition called “white-coat hypertension” can be experienced by some people when they visit the doctor’s office. Their blood pressure is fine until they see their doctor. If your doctor suspects this, you may be asked to monitor your blood pressure at home or asked to wear a device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This device is usually worn for 24 hours and can take blood pressure every 30 minutes.
Conventional Blood Pressure Treatment – Millions of people around the world take pharmaceutical drugs to lower their blood pressure. There are several types (classes) of blood-pressure lowering drugs that are commonly used including Beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and Calcium channel blockers. Diuretics are also widely prescribed (“water pills”) which reduce the amount of fluid in your bloodstream to lower your blood pressure.
Use Natural Unrefined Sea Salt – Don’t believe the hype and avoid salt, you need sodium in your diet, but choose the naturally healthy form. You can use natural salt liberally on your green vegetables particularly, such as kale, broccoli or Chinese vegetables (brassicas), to decrease the bitter taste. That way you have plenty of potassium (vegetables) along with your sodium (salt). We advise using Celtic Sea Salt, which has all the minerals intact. One of the best ways to have salt in your diet is to make a Japanese condiment called Gomashio, it is perfect on your steamed vegetables or used as a sprinkle on many dishes. Roasted sesame seeds in Gomashio contain many different minerals, especially calcium, which is a really good mineral to have along with sodium.
Self-Treatment Of Blood Pressure – Very high for most people with high blood pressure. Blood pressure in most people can be lowered with dietary changes and adopting a sensible and effective weight-loss program. Eating a diet high in fresh fruits and plenty of vegetables can act as a natural diuretic, especially if you stop take-away foods (sugar, salt and fat), reduce fatty meats and eat fresh fish and chicken. Relaxation, meditation, stress management, weight loss, smoking cessation, alcohol reduction and regular exercise all contribute to a lowered blood pressure.
If you are overweight and have high blood pressure, heart or circulatory concerns, high cholesterol, chronic inflammation, oxidative stress or metabolic syndrome, then why not try using some of the information on this page? It just might help save your life
In conjunction with a healthy heart diet and stress management, natural medicines for BP can be the perfect preventive measure for people who have a family history of heart disease. They can be used in combination with drugs as a safe and effective program for combating the gradual loss of heart and circulatory function that comes with age.