igh blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.
Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.
A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.
There are two types of high blood pressure.
●Primary (essential) hypertension
For most adults, there’s no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called primary (essential) hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years.
Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:
◇Obstructive sleep apnea
◇Adrenal gland tumors
◇Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels
◇Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
◇Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines.
High blood pressure has many risk factors, including:
*Age. The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Until about age 64, high blood pressure is more common in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65.
*Race. High blood pressure is particularly common among people of African heritage, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites. Serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, also are more common in people of African heritage.
*Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in families.
Being overweight or obese. The more you weigh the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
*Not being physically active. People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight.
*Using tobacco. Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow and increase your risk of heart disease. *Secondhand smoke also can increase your heart disease risk.
*Too much salt (sodium) in your diet. Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
*Too little potassium in your diet. Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet or retain enough potassium, you may accumulate too much sodium in your blood.
*Drinking too much alcohol. Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than one drink a day for women and more than two drinks a day for men may affect your blood pressure.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
*Stress. High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only increase problems with high blood pressure.
*Certain chronic conditions. Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Sometimes pregnancy contributes to high blood pressure, as well.
Although high blood pressure is most common in adults, children may be at risk, too. For some children, high blood pressure is caused by problems with the kidneys or heart. But for a growing number of kids, poor lifestyle habits, such as an unhealthy diet, obesity and lack of exercise, contribute to high blood pressure.
The excessive pressure on your artery walls caused by high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, as well as organs in your body. The higher your blood pressure and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to complications including:
Heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
Aneurysm. Increased blood pressure can cause your blood vessels to weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can be life-threatening.
Heart failure. To pump blood against the higher pressure in your vessels, the heart has to work harder. This causes the walls of the heart’s pumping chamber to thicken (left ventricular hypertrophy). Eventually, the thickened muscle may have a hard time pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs, which can lead to heart failure.
Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys. This can prevent these organs from functioning normally.
Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. This can result in vision loss.
Metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a cluster of disorders of your body’s metabolism, including increased waist circumference; high triglycerides; low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol; high blood pressure and high insulin levels. These conditions make you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Trouble with memory or understanding. Uncontrolled high blood pressure may also affect your ability to think, remember and learn. Trouble with memory or understanding concepts is more common in people with high blood pressure.
Dementia. Narrowed or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain, leading to a certain type of dementia (vascular dementia). A stroke that interrupts blood flow to the brain also can cause vascular dementia.
A blood pressure reading, given in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), has two numbers. The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure).
Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories:
Normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure is normal if it’s below 120/80 mm Hg.
Elevated blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is a systolic pressure ranging from 120 to 129 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure below 80 mm Hg. Elevated blood pressure tends to get worse over time unless steps are taken to control blood pressure.
Stage 1 hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 80 to 89 mm Hg.
Stage 2 hypertension. More severe hypertension, stage 2 hypertension is a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher.
Both numbers in a blood pressure reading are important. But after age 50, the systolic reading is even more significant. Isolated systolic hypertension is a condition in which the diastolic pressure is normal (less than 80 mm Hg) but systolic pressure is high (greater than or equal to 130 mm Hg). This is a common type of high blood pressure among people older than 65.
If your blood pressure remains stubbornly high despite taking at least three different types of high blood pressure drugs, one of which usually should be a diuretic, you may have resistant hypertension.
People who have controlled high blood pressure but are taking four different types of medications at the same time to achieve that control also are considered to have resistant hypertension. The possibility of a secondary cause of the high blood pressure generally should be reconsidered.
Having resistant hypertension doesn’t mean your blood pressure will never get lower. In fact, if you and your doctor can identify what’s behind your persistently high blood pressure, there’s a good chance you can meet your goal with the help of treatment that’s more effective.
**Lifestyle and home remedies
Lifestyle changes can help you control and prevent high blood pressure, even if you’re taking blood pressure medication. Here’s what you can do:
*Eat healthy foods. Eat a heart-healthy diet. Try the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. Get plenty of potassium, which can help prevent and control high blood pressure. Eat less saturated fat and trans fat.
*Decrease the salt in your diet. Aim to limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is ideal for most adults.
While you can reduce the amount of salt you eat by putting down the saltshaker, you generally should also pay attention to the amount of salt that’s in the processed foods you eat, such as canned soups or frozen dinners.
*Maintain a healthy weight. Keeping a healthy weight, or losing weight if you’re overweight or obese, can help you control your high blood pressure and lower your risk of related health problems. In general, you may reduce your blood pressure by about 1 mm Hg with each kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight you lose.
*Increase physical activity. Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, manage stress, reduce your risk of several health problems and keep your weight under control.
Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. For example, try brisk walking for about 30 minutes most days of the week. Or try interval training, in which you alternate short bursts of intense activity with short recovery periods of lighter activity. Aim to do muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week.
* Limit alcohol. Even if you’re healthy, alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women, and up to two drinks a day for men. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
* Don’t smoke. Tobacco can injure blood vessel walls and speed up the process of buildup of plaque in the arteries. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit.
*Manage stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy coping techniques, such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing or meditation. Getting regular physical activity and plenty of sleep can help, too.
*Monitor your blood pressure at home. Home blood pressure monitoring can help you keep closer tabs on your blood pressure, show if medication is working, and even alert you and your doctor to potential complications. Home blood pressure monitoring isn’t a substitute for visits to your doctor, and home blood pressure monitors may have some limitations. Even if you get normal readings, don’t stop or change your medications or alter your diet without talking to your doctor first.
*Practice relaxation or slow, deep breathing. Practice taking deep, slow breaths to help relax. There are some devices available that promote slow, deep breathing. According to the American Heart Association, device-guided breathing may be a reasonable nondrug option for lowering blood pressure, especially when anxiety accompanies high blood pressure or standard treatments aren’t well-tolerated.
Although diet and exercise are the most appropriate tactics to lower your blood pressure, some supplements also may help lower it. However, more research is needed to determine the potential benefits. These include:
Fiber, such as blond psyllium and wheat bran
Minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium
Supplements or products that increase nitric oxide or widen blood vessels (vasodilators), such as cocoa, coenzyme Q10, L-arginine or garlic
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, high-dose fish oil supplements or flaxseed.
Coping and support
High blood pressure isn’t a problem that you can treat and then ignore. It’s a condition you need to manage for the rest of your life. To keep your blood pressure under control:
Take your medications properly. If side effects or costs pose problems, don’t stop taking your medications. Ask your doctor about other options.
Schedule regular doctor visits. It takes a team effort to treat high blood pressure successfully. Your doctor can’t do it alone, and neither can you. Work with your doctor to bring your blood pressure to a safe level, and keep it there.
Adopt healthy habits. Eat healthy foods, lose excess weight and get regular physical activity. Limit alcohol. If you smoke, quit.
Manage stress. Say no to extra tasks, release negative thoughts, maintain good relationships, and remain patient and optimistic.
*◇Home Remedies for high blood pressure
There are also other natural methods to lower your blood pressure without side effects, but today we would like to highlight some additional home remedies for high blood pressure for you to try at home.
1. Ginger-Cardamom Tea.
Combined with ginger and cinnamon, both warming spices that improve circulation, you can make a lovely tea to help your heart get healthy.
2. Watermelon In The Morning
Every morning, be faithful to watermelon. Often times watermelon as viewed as a strict summer fruit, one for seed spitting contests and barbecues, but it can also help lower blood pressure.
Why does it help lower blood pressure? Watermelon contains an organic compound called citrulline. Once it enters the body it is converted to L-arginine, the precursor to nitric oxide. Nitric-oxide in the body relaxes the blood vessels causing your blood pressure to decrease. A great natural remedy to enjoy.
Start by eating nuts. Pistachio nuts, singled out among other nuts, seem to have the strongest effect on reducing blood pressure in adults.
4. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw is a popular herb in China, South America, and Central America. It is widely used in China for the treatment of high blood pressure. Cat’s claw lowers blood pressure by inducing vasodilation. Dilated blood vessels allowing the blood to flow more easily. It also acts as a mild diuretic and rids the body of harmful excess fluid.
Cutting them can make the task much more difficult (Hint put your onions in cold water before slicing you won’t cry) the taste is worth it. Onions like their cousin garlic pack a host of cardiovascular benefits.
Onions contain a powerful antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin helps lower blood pressure but also helps treat chest pain, angina, and also lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack. The secret to getting as much of this enzyme is eating the onions raw or lightly cooked.
6. Enzyme CoQ10
CoQ10 is a naturally occurring enzyme. It contains antioxidants that are good for maintaining cardiac health. CoQ10 has been shown to decrease blood pressure and reduces the thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophy). There are no known side effects of CoQ10 since it naturally occurs in the body.
7. Celery Seed Extract
To treat high blood pressure, doctors usually prescribe diuretics (water pills) to reduce the fluid volume; and vasodilators to relax the arteries to reduce the resistance of blood flow, or beta-blockers to turn down the pumping action of the heart.
8. Beetroot juice
Beetroot juice is a powerful medicine when it comes to lowering a high blood pressure. Some of its effects relate to the minerals it contains, such as potassium and magnesium, but its true pharmacological action is due to a high content of nitrates.
When you drink beetroot juice, these nitrates are rapidly converted into nitrites by bacteria (Veillonella and Actinomyces species) that live on the surface of your tongue, and which are also present in saliva.
The nitrites are absorbed into your circulation, where they are used to make a gas called nitric oxide (NO). NO is a cell-signaling molecule which has a powerful relaxing effect on small muscle fibers in your blood vessel linings. This causes the blood vessels to dilate so that your blood pressure falls.