About High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure is a common condition in which long-term blood pressure in the walls of the arteries is high enough to cause health problems like heart disease. Hypertension is another name for this health condition.
The amount of blood your heart pumps and the degree of resistance to blood flow in the arteries is used to determine blood pressure. The more your heart pumps blood and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure becomes.
Furthermore, one can have high blood pressure for years without any symptoms. However, even without symptoms, the damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Your risk of serious health problems like heart attack and stroke increases, when high blood pressure is not controlled.
Additionally, it usually develops over many years, and it affects almost everyone eventually. However, It is easy to discover high blood pressure. As soon as you know you have this health condition, work with your doctor to control it.
Also, a lot of people call it a silent killer because it often has no symptoms. Nevertheless, it is a major risk for heart disease and stroke.
A lot of people with high blood pressure do not any signs or symptoms even when their blood pressure readings get to severely high levels.
Some people may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds. However, these signs and symptoms are not specific and usually do not occur until high blood pressure has become severe or life-threatening.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
In this part of the article, we would talk about the types of High Blood Pressure and what causes them. They are:
#1. Primary Hypertension
This is also called Essential Hypertension. For a lot of adults, there is no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. This type of Hypertension tends to develop gradually over many years.
#2. Secondary Hypertension
Few people have high blood pressure due to underlying conditions. This type of Hypertension tends to suddenly appear. It causes higher blood pressure than primary hypertension does.
In addition, different conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension. Here are some of them:
- Adrenal Gland Tumors
- Thyroid Problems
- Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels
- Kidney problems
- Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some prescription drugs
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Illegal drugs like Cocaine and Amphetamines
Hypertension puts too much pressure on the walls of the artery. This can damage your blood vessels, as well as organs in your body.
Furthermore, the higher your blood pressure and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage caused.
When Hypertension is not controlled, it can lead to complications:
It can weaken and inflame the blood vessels. This forms an aneurysm. When this aneurysm ruptures, it can be very dangerous.
#2. Heart Attack or Stroke
It can lead to the hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). This can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
#3. Weakened and Narrowed Blood Vessels in Your Kidneys
High Blood Pressure can stop these organs from functioning as they should.
Narrowed or blocked arteries prevent blood flow to the brain. This leads to a certain type of dementia (vascular dementia).
Furthermore, a stroke that stops blood flow to the brain can also cause vascular dementia.
#5. Thickened, Narrowed or Torn Blood Vessels in The Eyes
Hypertension also can lead to loss of vision.
#6. Heart Failure
The heart has to work harder for it to pump blood against the higher pressure in your vessels. This makes the walls of the heart’s pumping chamber thicken (left ventricular hypertrophy).
After a while, the thickened muscle may have a hard time pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs, which can lead to heart failure.
#7. Difficulty With Memory or Understanding
Hypertension, when not controlled, might also affect your ability to think, remember and learn things.
Furthermore, this is very common among people with this health condition.
#8. Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome is a set of disorders of your body’s metabolism. It includes an increase in waist circumference; low-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol; high triglycerides; insulin levels and high blood pressure.
In addition, these conditions make you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
How To Lower Your High Blood Pressure Quickly
Here are ways you can lower your high blood pressure as quickly as possible. They are:
#1. Eat More of Potassium and Little Sodium
Reducing your intake of salt and increasing your consumption of Potassium can help lower your blood pressure.
Also, Potassium reduces the effects of salt in your body system and also eases tension in your blood vessels.
However, rich potassium diets can be harmful to individuals with kidney disease. Therefore, before you increase your potassium intake, talk to your doctor.
A lot of foods are naturally high in potassium. Some of them are:
- fruits, such as bananas, apricots, avocados, and oranges
- low-fat dairy foods, such as milk and yogurt
- vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, and spinach
Furthermore, people respond to salt differently. Some people are sensitive to salt. This means that high salt intake increases their blood pressure.
Some others are salt-insensitive. This means they can have high salt intake and excrete it in their urine without increasing their blood pressure.
In addition, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that people should reduce salt intake using the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
The DASH diet focuses on:
- fewer sweets and red meats
- fruits and vegetables
- low-fat dairy
- whole grains
- low-sodium foods
- fewer sweets and red meat
#2. Lose Weight If You Are Overweight
For people who are overweight, losing between 5 to 10 pounds help reduce their blood pressure. Also, it lowers their risk for other health problems.
In addition, a 2016 review of several studies found that weight loss diets reduced blood pressure by 3.2 mm Hg diastolic and 4.5 mm Hg systolic.
#3. Do More of Exercise
Increasing your heart and breathing rates often helps the heart get stronger and pump with less effort. As a result, less pressure is put on your arteries and reduces your blood pressure.
Also, if exercising for 40 minutes at a time is difficult, divide the time into three or four 10- to 15-minute segments throughout the day. You will still enjoy some benefits.
Furthermore, you do not have to run marathons. Increasing your activity level can be done with simple routines like:
- doing household chores
- walking instead of driving
- going for a bike ride
- using the stairs
- playing a team sport
Try to do it regularly. Also, engage in at least half an hour per day of moderate activity.
According to a 2014 review on exercise and lowering blood pressure, it was found that there are many combinations of exercise that can lower blood pressure. Some of these exercises are:
- Aerobic exercise
- High-intensity interval training
- Walking 10,000 steps a day
- Short bouts of exercise throughout the day
- Resistance training
In addition, there are ongoing studies that say that there are still benefits to light physical activity, especially in older adults.
#4. Reduce Your Intake of Sugar and Refined Carbs
Various scientific studies show that reducing the intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates help you lose weight and reduce your blood pressure.
A study comparing a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet was done in 2010. A diet drug was added to the low-fat diet.
Both diets produced weight loss. However, the low-carb diet was more effective in lowering blood pressure.
The low-carb diet reduced blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic. And, the diet of low-fat plus the diet drug reduced blood pressure by only 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic.
Furthermore, another side effect of a low-carb, low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller for a longer time since you’re taking more protein and fat.
#5. Eat Less Processed Foods
A large part of the extra salt in your diet is from processed foods and foods from restaurants, not your salt shaker at home.
Popular high-salt items are canned soup, deli meats, pizza, chips, and other processed snacks.
Also, foods labeled “low-fat” are usually high in salt and sugar to make up for the loss of fat. The fat gives food taste and makes you feel full.
Cutting down on or even better, cutting out processed food will help you consume less sugar, less salt, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All these can help to reduce your blood pressure.
In addition, try to check labels as often as you can. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a sodium listing of 5 percent or less on a food label is said to be low, while 20 percent or more is considered high.
#6. Try Meditation or Yoga
Meditation and Mindfulness, including transcendental meditation, has been used and studied for a long time as methods of stress reduction.
A study in 2012 says that a university program in Massachusetts has had over 19,000 people participate in meditation and mindfulness programs to reduce stress.
Additionally, Yoga, which usually involves breathing control, meditation techniques and posture, can also reduce stress and blood pressure very well.
A review in 2013 on yoga and blood pressure showed an average blood pressure decrease of 3.62 mm Hg diastolic and 4.17 mm Hg systolic when compared to those who did not exercise.
Furthermore, studies of yoga practices that included breath control, postures, and meditation were almost twice as effective as yoga practices that didn’t have all three of these elements.
#7. Stop Smoking
Stopping smoking helps your health all-around. It causes an immediate but temporary increase in your blood pressure and heart rate.
Furthermore, the chemicals in tobacco can increase your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessel walls. This causes inflammation and narrows your arteries. Hardened arteries cause Hypertension.
Additionally, these chemicals can affect your blood vessels even if you are around secondhand smoke.
#8. Reduce Excess Stress
The times we live in are stressful ones. Family and Workplace demands, National and International Politics all contribute to stress.
Hence, discovering ways to reduce your own stress is very important for your health and blood pressure.
There are numerous different ways to relieve stress successfully, so know what works for you. Try to practice deep breathing, take a walk, book reading, or watch a comedy.
In addition, listening to music every day has been shown to lower systolic blood pressure.
#9. Try Medicinal Herbs
Herbal medicines have been used for a long time in many cultures to treat a lot of ailments.
Also, some herbs have been shown to possibly lower blood pressure. However, more research is required to identify the doses and components in herbs most useful to us.
Furthermore, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal supplements. This is because they may interfere with your prescription medications.
Additionally, here is a list of plants and herbs used by various cultures all over the world that tackle this health condition. They are:
- Black Bean (Castanospermum Australe)
- Cat’s Claw (Uncaria Rhynchophylla)
- Celery Juice (Apium Graveolens)
- Chinese Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
- Ginger Roots
- Tomato Extract (Lycopersicon esculentum)
- Tea (Camellia sinensis), especially green tea and oolong tea
- Umbrella Tree Bark (Musanga cecropioides)
#10. Eat Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers should be very excited about this. Dark chocolate over time has been shown to tackle hypertension.
However, the dark chocolate should be between 60 to 70 percent cacao. A review of studies on the dark chocolate showed that eating one to two squares of dark chocolate daily might help reduce the risk of heart disease. It does this by lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
Furthermore, the benefits are said to come from the flavonoids in chocolate with more cocoa solids. They help widen your blood vessels.
A study in 2010 of 14,310 people showed that people without hypertension who ate more dark chocolate had lower blood pressure overall than those who ate less.
#11. Take Prescribed Medication Only
If you are hypertensive, your doctor might have to recommend prescription drugs.
Also, they work and improve your long-term outcome, especially if you have other risk factors.
Nevertheless, it may take some time to find the right combination of medications.
Therefore, talk to your doctor about possible medications you should take and what works best for you.
#12. Drink Less Alcohol
Even as a healthy person, alcohol can increase your blood pressure. Therefore, it is important to drink in moderation.
Furthermore, Alcohol can raise your blood pressure by 1 mm Hg for every 10 grams of alcohol taken. Fourteen grams of alcohol is contained in every standard drink.
A standard drink is made up of a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Additionally, moderate drinking is up to up to two drinks per day for men and one drink a day for women.
#13. Consider Cutting Back on Caffeine
Caffeine raises your blood pressure and has a short-term effect. It lasts for between 45 to 60 minutes and the reaction is different amongst individuals.
Some individuals may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. However, if you’re caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption. If you find that difficult to do, try decaffeinated coffee.
Caffeine research, including its health benefits, is in the news a lot these days. The choice to cut back depends on many individual factors.
An older study showed that caffeine’s effect on increasing blood pressure is higher if your blood pressure is already high. This same study called for more research on the subject.
#14. Eat Garlic or Take Garlic Extract Supplements
Fresh garlic or garlic extracts are widely used to reduce blood pressure.
Also, according to a clinical study, time-release garlic extract preparation might have a huge effect on blood pressure than the regular garlic powder tablets.
Furthermore, a review in 2012 examined a study of 87 hypertensive individuals who experienced a diastolic reduction of 6 mm Hg and a systolic reduction of 12 mm Hg in those who consumed garlic, compared to those who did not receive treatment.
#15. Make Sure You Get Good, Restful Sleep
To begin with, your blood pressure usually drops down when you are asleep. When you don’t sleep well, your blood pressure can be affected.
Also, people who are deprived of sleep, especially those who are middle-aged, have a high risk of hypertension.
Furthermore, for some individuals, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t an easy feat. There are various ways that help you get restful sleep.
Try to set a regular sleep schedule, take out enough time to relax at night, exercise during the day, and make your bedroom comfortable.
The National Sleep Heart Health Study discovered that regular sleep less than 7 hours a night and more than 9 hours a night led to an increased prevalence of hypertension.
Additionally, sleeping less than 5 hours a night regularly was linked to a huge risk of hypertension long term.
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