High blood pressure also called hypertension, is a serious and dangerous illness that is also called a “silent killer.” Over 85 million adults in our country are affected by this illness and are unaware of it. Over a period of time, if you do not get treated for your high blood pressure you can get sick or even die. It can lead to complications with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, vision loss or even death.
What is hypertension or high blood pressure as its commonly known? Well, it is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. The pressure depends on the work being done by the heart and the resistance of the blood vessels. When you have your blood pressure taken by your doctor, you are told two numbers such as 120/80 which are very important to know and is considered normal. The first number is your pressure when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second number is your pressure when your heart relaxes (diastolic pressure). Throughout the day, your blood pressure goes up and down depending on what you are doing. It is normal for your pressure to rise briefly, but the higher your blood pressure stays, the more at risk you are for complication with your health. If your blood pressure is often greater than 140/90 you may need to get treatment to help lower it. If it is also greater than 120/80 and you have other ailments such as diabetes, you also will need treatment.
High blood pressure does not discriminate. The World Health Organization(WHO) advises hypertension and heart disease are a global health concern. They suggest that the growth of the processed food industry has impacted the amount of salt in our diets worldwide which is a major cause of hypertension. Anyone can have high blood pressure. However, some people are more likely to have high blood pressure including:
- African Americans are more prone to having high blood pressure.
- People over the age of 55 as you get older blood pressure increases, arteries become stiffer with plaque buildup.
- People with a family history of high blood pressure
- Kidney disease
Your chances of having high blood pressure are higher if you:
- Are overweight
- Eat foods high in salt
- low potassium in your diet
- Not getting regular exercise
- Drinking alcohol heavily
- Certain diseases and medications
To treat your high blood pressure, lifestyle adjustment is the first standard of treatment. It is recommended to engage in some form of exercise such as aerobics, jogging, swimming, cycling for about 5 to 7 days of the week. A yoga and meditation class is helpful in combatting stress in your life. Avoiding excessive drinking of alcohol, giving up smoking and unhealthy eating and avoid stress. When you give up smoking it reduces heart conditions and other health issues. Another option is drugs which are usually started at a low dose which I am against because they lead to major side effects.
Therefore, to help combat hypertension and help with your treatment for a healthy new you :
- Eat a healthy diet with fresh fruit and vegetable
- Reduce salt intake
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Quit smoking
- Reduce stress in your life
Minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium and folic acid is the best natural medicine for hypertension. Coenzyme Q10, L-arginine, garlic, Omega-3 fatty acid, fish oil supplements, flaxseed are also needed. Some herbs to try for treating the condition of hypertension includes:
Cinnamon helps to lower blood pressure. I use cinnamon in my oatmeal and add it to my warm almond milk tea. Try to include more cinnamon in your diet.
Cardamon an Indian seasoning was used in a study and found significant reductions in the people who took the cardamon powder help in lowering their blood pressure.
Flaxseed rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown in a study in lowering hypertension. Taking 30-50 grams of ground flax seeds per day for best results. Flaxseed help with protection against cardiovascular disease, improving glucose tolerance.
Garlic helps in lowering blood pressure by a substance in the body known as nitric oxide which allows the blood to flow more freely and reduce blood pressure.
Ginger helps control blood pressure which improves blood circulation and relax the muscles surrounding the blood vessels.
Cats Claw is a Chinese herbal medicine also help in the treatment of blood pressure by acting on the calcium channels in your cells.
Basil the chemical eugenol found in basil block certain substances that tighten blood vessels, and lead to a drop in blood pressure.
French Lavender extracts have been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Therefore, eliminating foods high in saturated fats, such as processed foods with fatty meats, and eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains will help in you avoiding or eliminating hypertension from your life. Avoiding consumption of sweetened beverage such as soda and juice and dessert along with excessive drinking of alcohol and smoking, and a new you will emerge to live a long and healthy life.