I have hypertension. When I was diagnosed with having high blood pressure, my doctor immediately prescribed a synthetic angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor and put me on a regulation of regular monitoring. The purpose of which was to reduce my risk of heart disease or of having a cardio-vascular accident. Laudable as those aims are, it stuck me as odd that my condition was being managed, not grateful. I decided to find out more.
Amongst the wealth of information I discovered about hypertension, I learned three things each one of which has been duly confirmed as true by my doctor. This is what I learned:
# 1. Why there is no cure for hypertension:
I was being treated as if I was ill, but high blood pressure is not a disease or an illness. Because of this, there is no cure. The condition can only be managed to keep the statements as close to normal as possible to minimize the risk of other potentially serious conditions developing.
# 2.It is a symptom of an underlying health problem:
Hypertension is a vital bodily sign just like your pulse and your temperature. Blood pressures that are elevated for a continuous period could indicate an undering cause that needs to be investigated – just like running a fever indicating a health issue that needs to be treated.
To complicate matters, there are over 300 possible causes of hypertension. Few doctors have the time to systematically eliminate all the potential causes until the real cause is found. It is far easier and much less time-consuming for them to manage our condition than to find and treat the real problem.
Often, however, the undering cause can be linked to a combination of lifestyle choices such as a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking tobacco products and heavy consumption of alcohol.
# 3 Diet and exercise can reduce hypertension:
My doctor prescribed a synthetic ACE inhibitor to manage my condition and I was given some brief and very general dietary advice and recommended to become more active. My own research soon revealed that there were natural ACE inhibitors that were just as effective as the synthetic type I had been prescribed, but without the potential harmful side-effects.
For example, bananas contain a natural ACE inhibitor. Eating two medium sized-bananas a day has been shown to reduce hypertension by 10%; and, eating three a day halves the risk of having a stroke. Bananas are also a rich source of potassium and having the recommended daily amount of potassium can also help to lower high blood pressure.
Garlic also contains a natural ACE inhibitor, and cucumber and parsley are mild diuretics. There are many other foods that can help lower our high blood pressure. Keeping our bodies properly hydrated will also help as studies have shown that in dehydrated subjects, 6% of the water loss is from inside the cells in our body. That makes the smooth muscles lining our blood vessels less elastic and adds to our high blood pressure.
It soon became clear to me that diet was a critical factor in decreasing my hypertension.
Regular exercise, such as brisk walking, for 45 minutes to an hour a day can lower high blood pressure by up to 20 points and the benefits last almost 24 hours. That makes daily exercise essential.
I am not ill and I regard my high blood pressure not as an illness or a disease, but as an indication something is out of balance in my body. Combining a healthy diet with a more active and healthy lifestyle is, as I discovered, the key to reducing hypertension naturally.