High blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of one’s arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of one’s body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage the heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time (JAMA). Hypertension also called high blood pressure, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. The most effective way to prevent high blood pressure is to make healthy choices and manage other health conditions naturally (Nature Reviews Neuroscience).

 

Causes

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.

Secondary hypertension: 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
  • Kidney disease
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • 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 (www.mayoclinic.org).

 

Symptoms

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.

 

Natural ways to help manage high blood pressure

Maintain a healthy weight: If you want to lower blood pressure, the first thing you may hear from your doctor is “lose weight.” Being at a higher weight can put you at a higher risk for high blood pressure. But, being overweight doesn’t automatically give you hypertension, and losing weight doesn’t automatically get rid of the problem.

Hibiscus: One of the most impressive and well-known benefits of hibiscus tea is that it may lower blood pressure. Several studies have found that hibiscus tea may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).

Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity — such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels (www.mayoclinic.org).

Limit Alcohol: Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

Quit Smoking: Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. People who quit smoking may live longer than people who never quit smoking (www.mayoclinic.org).

Celery Seed: Celery seed may help to lower blood pressure as well as cholesterol due to celery seed’s phthalides. It is also good for arthritis, gout, and kidney problems. Celery seed also acts as a diuretic, antioxidant, and sedative (link.springer.com).

Minimize stress: Stress is proven to raise your blood pressure. So anything you can do to lower stress and promote relaxation is great for hypertension.

“Practicing mindfulness meditation and deep breathing are excellent tools for lowering blood pressure,” says Dr. Elizabeth Rice, licensed naturopathic doctor and primary care physician at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. “All of these recommendations elicit the relaxation response, bringing the body out of fight or flight mode, and relaxing the blood vessels to drop blood pressure.”

 

If you want to improve your quality of sleep and overall health set up a virtual appointment with Zen’s Medicine Staff CLICK HERE.

 

Supportive Links:

American Heart Association. “What Is High Blood Pressure?.” South Carolina State Documents Depository (2017). Relationship between clinic and ambulatory blood-pressure measurements and mortality

Banegas, José R., et al. “Relationship between clinic and ambulatory blood-pressure measurements and mortality.” New England Journal of Medicine 378.16 (2018): 1509-1520.

Yusuf, Salim, et al. “Blood-pressure and cholesterol lowering in persons without cardiovascular disease.” New England Journal of Medicine 374.21 (2016): 2032-2043.

“Program, National High Blood Pressure Education. “Report of the national high blood pressure education program working group on high blood pressure in pregnancy.” American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 183.1 (2000): s1-s22.

Guyenet, Patrice G. “The sympathetic control of blood pressure.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 7.5 (2006): 335-346.

Note: “Western Pharmaceutical” is defined as a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Quote from National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov

Zen's Medicine Staff
Written by Zen’s Medicine Staff

Holistic Health: is mindfulness of one’s mind, body, emotions, spirit, environment & social group.

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