Can Stage 1 Hypertension Be Reversed?

Blood pressure readings between 140 and 159 systolic (the top number) and 90 to 99 diastolic (bottom number) is considered stage one hypertension. This chart is relatively new as it came out in 2003. The beginning stage is called prehypertension and the third part of the chart is stage two.

There are many problems that this condition can create. The kidneys can be damaged and so can the cardiovascular system. This makes it important to do something about it.

Causes : One of the most frequent causes for this condition is weight. Being overweight increases the likelihood of high numbers. Age, race, medications and other medical conditions are also on the list of causes. In fact, two herbs are on the list. Rosemary and licorice both cause spikes.

Lifestyle Changes : To get the statements down to normal may require some changes. Reducing sodium and saturated fat are two that can be very beneficial. Weight loss, if it is a contributing factor, is also wise. If you are taking supplements, medications or you have any medical conditions you should talk to your doctor. A change in approach to these issues may reduce blood pressure.

Medication : If and / or until the condition stabilizes you will probably need to take medications. It may take time for the doctor to find the right combination of them as there are several different types. While the situation remains unstable make sure to keep in contact with your doctor.

Do not be surprised if your doctor requests that you purchase and use a blood pressure kit to take daily readings. They are fairly inexpensive (mine cost $ 15) and easy to use. Having readings on a regular basis will let the doctor know what needs changed.

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Can Kids Have High Blood Pressure?

There was a news clip about a year ago addressing the problem of high blood pressure in children and young adults. Because it can cause so many serious issues it's important to understand that yes, children can have this medical condition.

Obesity : This is the main reason children may develop hypertension. The good news is that it can be managed mainly by lifestyle changes. That does not mean medication is out of the picture. It may be needed for a time to keep the numbers at the appropriate level.

Diseases : While HBP can cause kidney and heart disease, these conditions may cause them themselves. It works both ways. This will probably mean more than just changing the diet and exercising more. The pediatrician can help understand the condition and what parents can do about it.

Race and Family History : African-American children have a higher chance of developing hypertensive in childhood than any other race. The reason for this is unclear. Children with a family history of the condition are also more likely to develop it.

Caffeine and Energy Drinks : When children get old enough to purchase beverages on their own, they sometimes go for those containing sugar, caffeine and other substances that boost energy. Sometimes it's to feel the effects and at other times it is to avoid sleep or sleepiness. Stopping the overuse of these beverages will help bring the numbers under control.

Dehydration : Whether it's a stomach virus or being physically active children can get dehydrated quickly. Dehydration can cause a rise in blood pressure. While it is considered a spike, chronic dehydration could create serious problems.

How To Find Out : Children do not use the same scale as adults. Their numbers are figured by age, height and weight. The best way to make sure the statements are correct is regular visits to the pediatrician.

Depending on risk factors, readings can begin as early as two years of age. This gives a base line as well as helps monitor the changes as the child grows. The pediatrician may ask you to purchase a kit and give you instructions on what to look for. The kits are relatively inexpensive. Some are as low as $ 15.

The important thing to know is that this can be a threat to our children. Even if they are a healthy weight, the issue can come up. This is as important for the child's wellbeing as vaccinations.

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High Blood Pressure May Take You Out of Your Comfort Zone

I grew up in the South. That means I grow up eating bacon and using the fat left over for other dishes. We did not pay attention to how much fat was in our ground beef. Most of the time it came from a side of beef that we stored in our freezer.

That was my comfort zone and while I did tone some of it back, that's the way I cooked for my family. Realizing that I was seriously overweight changed that. One of my children sat me down and told me that if I did not change the way I was cooking (and eating) she was afraid I would die. Let me tell you, that gets you out of your comfort zone without even changing things.

Work : I was doing the same job back then. It means sitting at a computer for hours at a time. By the time I was finished the last thing I wanted to do is cook from scratch a healthy meal. I learned something. It's just as much fun to cook using healthy ingredients as it is using their counterparts. It also tastes better.

Home : This is a bit of a hard area to change as both my spouse and I work from home. It's a lot harder to quit thinking about the job and get on with the things that need done. We've had to make a way to do that.

Lifestyle Change : That's what it is all about. My blood pressure when I was given that mother / daughter talk was 178/123. In order to bring it down I needed to change everything, not just what we ate. I had to exercise. It was not about a diet. Diets end. This can not or I very well might die. So might you.

I'm using myself as an example but I imagine most of you reading this article have a few issues that need changed. It may take getting out of your comfort zone. In fact, it probably should. Do not wait for someone to tell you that your actions could be killing you. Get started now, before it is too late.

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Technology and Blood Pressure

How many computers do you have in your house? Did you count the smart phones and the internet ready television? That number may startle you. Sometimes it does make our lives better in some ways. If we want to know something we can find out almost instantly. However, it does act like a chain and leash. Just the thought raises my blood pressure.

Sitting : Those of us who use computers for our work end up doing a lot of sitting. Even when we get home, we sit. There's another computer to check, there's all of those shows recorded that need watched.

Sitting itself is not the problem, of course. It's that we do not take time to exercise. That lack leads to problems that end up as hypertension.

Eating at the Desk : It's a bad habit for many reasons. We do not get a break from work. Studies indicate that rodents just love it when we do that. They come by after work and clean up the crumbs in the keyboard.

This often means we are not eating anything healthy. It's hard to eat an apple and talk on the phone but a French fry can be. A trip out to the lunch truck is not going to give you fresh vegetables, it will be more along the lines of a cheeseburger and fries. The saturated fat and sodium can lead to hardening of the arteries, which the makes our numbers go up.

Stress : Both of the above are stressful. It's like we can not get away from work; it follows us home. Once we get a chance to do our own things, such as update the bank software, the stress goes even higher. This, too, raises the numbers.

Fixing It : This is much easier to write than it is to do. Leave work at work. If you work at home, set up a stopping time and then stop. Eat dinner at the dinner table with the family. After dinner, go for a walk.

You can also fix it by not eating at your desk. If there's no decent place to eat, bring your lunch, and then eat it somewhere besides the office. After you eat, take a short walk. This will help reduce stress and give you some exercise.

If you are having troubles with blood pressure, talk to your doctor. There are medications that will help. Once you get into shape you may be able to go off of them, but keeping those numbers down is important.

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Sudden Onset High Blood Pressure Reading – Causes for Sudden Spikes in Blood Pressue

One in three people in the US have high blood pressure. Many of them do not even know they have it. This can cause serious problems. According to the CDC 3.6 million people go to the emergency room with hypertension being the cause. Almost 28,000 people die annually from it.

This applies to people who spike in readings as well as those who have it as a chronic medical condition. Blood vessels can only take so much, so figuring out how to prevent the problem is paramount.

Caffeine : We do not know why this is a problem but we do know that it is. Every time we consume something with caffeine in it our blood pressure rises. If you drink coffee, colas and / or energy drinks all day long you are continuously spiking the pressure.

Stress : Short term stress, like an accident or a sudden threat will raise the numbers fast. This is part of the “fight or flight” hormone response. It's also why doctors want us to reduce stress as it can turn into a chronic problem requiring medication.

White Coat Syndrome : This may be a surprise to you but it is not to your doctor. Some of us (and I'm one) have a subconscious fear of the doctor. This shows by having higher than normal numbers.

To find out if this is the case your doctor might suggest you get a kit to take readings through the day. This may show spikes from caffeine, which is not a bad thing. It's always easier to treat something before it becomes a major health threat.

Bringing the Numbers Down : If you can track the spikes to specific problems you may be able to stop it from becoming a big deal. Cutting back on the caffeine and learning stress management may keep you from needing medicines.

Garlic supplements may be wise, though that should be discussed with your doctor. If you are taking blood thinners for any reason the supplement can interact.

If the readings are stay high and remain that way you may need medication. There are several different types for this problem and it may take some experimentation to get the right one for you. It took four attempts to get mine under control.

This is an important issue. The statistics mentioned above may include any of us. Finding and resolving the problem is very necessary.

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Reasons Why Your Diet Is Causing Your High Blood Pressure

Salt gets the most blame for causing high blood pressure, but it actually is not what comes out of the salt shaker that's the problem. In fact, it is one of many factors that create the situation, and a lot of it is dietary.

Sodium : Salt is a combination of two chemicals, sodium and chloride. This can make things confusing, especially when looking at prepared foods. The label does not say salt; it says sodium.

There is even more confusion when you start looking at studies. The theory that sodium increases blood pressure has to do with it causing more water in the blood stream. There are some studies that suggest that's true. There are also studies that suggest it is not. This is a discussion best held with your doctor.

Dehydration : It may seem odd that dehydration would have any effect on hypertension, but it does. Small capillaries are closed off and this raises the pressure on the major blood vessels. This increases the numbers and can become deadly.

Caffeine : While we do not know why caffeine spikes pressure levels we do know that it does. This is true even for the healthy. Repeated exposure to caffeine can make it a real problem over time.

Things that Help : What we eat or drink can have a positive effect. Garlic is a good example. While it's best taken raw, garlic supplements are more palatable. You will still have the odor problems garlic produces, but at least it will not burn your mouth and stomach.

Maintaining hydration is very important. Water is great most of the time, but if it is extremely hot and / or you are exercising vigorously you may need a sport's drink. These maintain electrolytes, another problem that dehydration can cause.

Talk to the Doctor : If you have hypertensive or suspect you do, talk to your doctor about the things you can do to keep your numbers in the right range. There may be other suggestions, and you may need medication to help.

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How to Determine If Your Blood Pressure Is Too High

Blood pressure is determined by two numbers. One number shows the pressure when the heart is beating. The second number is when the heart is at rest. These numbers are important indicators of how well the cardiovascular system is working.

By the Numbers : Many reputable websites have a chart showing the tables that indicate a problem. Generally it is good to have the numbers under 120/80. Prehypertension is 129/89. Stage one of the disorder is 139/99 and stage two is anything over 140/100.

Why is it a problem ? Imagine your blood vessels was a high power water hose. Now imagine putting a coffee filter over it and turning on the water full blast. That's what happens to the kidneys when blood pressure is too high. High readings can also cause heart problems in a similar fashion.

Getting Tested : There are several ways to find out what your numbers are. Many pharmacies will take readings for free. Some of them and some supermarkets have a machine that will take it. You can buy your own kit, I think mine cost all of $ 15. Your doctor will also have it checked on each visit.

What do I do if it's high ? Barring a problem such as an accident or “white coat syndrome” (being afraid of the doctor), you will probably be put on medication to regulate blood pressure. There are several and they work in different ways. It may take several tries before the right medication (s) are found.

You may also want to change your diet and lifestyle a bit. Lowering sodium intake can be beneficial and garlic is a good supplement for this problem. Adding exercise two or three times a week can also prove beneficial. The most important thing is to keep an eye on your numbers and report to the doctor if it is consistently high.

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When Does My Child Need Blood Pressure Taken?

To be honest the idea about this article started with our cat. He is 21 and has to have his blood pressure taken. They take it on his tail (which goes over like a lead balloon). It made me wonder about our children. At what age should we start testing and are there conditions that make it even more imperative?

Age : The chart I found on complexchild.com actually starts with premature babies. It lasts by age until twelve. While a child's blood pressure may not be taken every visit it might be wise to ask each time so that both you and the doctor have a baseline. It recommends the doctor due to difficulty in getting the right size equipment for each size change in a child.

Weight : Overweight children are at higher risk for this problem than normal. This can cause damage to blood vessels and the kidneys. If the child is overweight or obese it is important to have regular checksups. Depending on the conditions it might be a once-a-month nurse visit or just on semi-annual physicals.

Family History : This is where the baseline readings come in handy. If either parent (or both) has a family history of hypertension it's important to start checking young. This is not necessarily because the child may develop the problem in childhood. It will get the child into the habit of being checked and earlier detection more likely.

Teen Pregnancy : This is true in all pregnancies. There are problems that can occur in pregnancy that raise rates. These problems can kill both mother and child if not handled as soon as possible. Talk to the obstetrician about these conditions and ask if home monitoring would be wise.

Our children need many of the same routine tests we adults require. If this is not a regular part of your child's checkup, whether from an illness or just a physical, ask the doctor to take the reading.

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173/128 At Age Forty Five

I was visiting the doctor for an entirely different reason when the title reading was done. I had no symptoms, not even a slight headache. Blood pressure that high is very dangerous no matter what the age and that reading meant something had to be done.

Stress : It was a high stress time in our family. In fact, it still is a high stress time our family. Stress levels can make this problem worse. One of the things we had to do is figure out how to combat the stress. I have since learned several techniques that help.

Herbs : There are a few herbs that can help in this fight. The one decided on was garlic. When I have a medical problem I discuss herbs with my doctor. He knows quite a bit and will listen. Even though I am a master herbalist the doctor plays a big role in handling medical problems.

Medication : It took a while to find the right combination. The first one was not strong enough. The second caused a serious allergic reaction. The third worked but needed a diuretic. Now my blood pressure is (finally) stable.

Weight : At the time I was extremely heavy. Part of the success has been dropping forty pounds. I could use another forty gone but it's going to be slower.

You may wonder why I'm telling you about this. My case is not unusual. In fact, a third of the people who have high blood pressure do not even know it. It takes either the doctor finding it like he did mine or a major medical problem caused by the readings for many to find out.

If you've been skipping the doctor's office due to cost, and many of us are doing that because of high deductibles, you may want to consider having your pressure checked. Many supermarkets and pharmacies have machines that test and there are other places that offer free screening. Do it regularly and you may be able to avoid something life threatening.

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Natural Ways to Decrease Blood Pressure

According to the CDC 32% of those in the US have hypertension. Almost 40 million will receive that as the primary diagnosis from a doctor's visit. Not counting deaths via heart attack or stroke, over 27,000 people will die from it or the renal disease that it causes. That makes taking care of this problem imperative.

Lifestyle Choices : Some cases of high blood pressure, which is the other name for this ailment, can be treated by lifestyle changes. Decrease fat and sodium and increase physical activity. Eat fish twice a week, particularly those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These are things your doctor can advise you on.

Remedies : The safest home remedy for this problem is garlic. Raw is best but few people can handle the taste or the results of raw garlic hitting the stomach. If you want to try it, put the garlic in some bread and take it with ginger to handle the stomach part.

Omega-3 capsules may help. Studies are mixed which means they'll probably be doing more to find out when or not it's useful. At this point, for the most part, it will not hurt.

When to see the doctor : If your blood pressure is at or above 130/80 consistently, it's time to see the doctor. If it's above 140/90 the doctor may suggest the emergency room.

There are some diseases and medical conditions that need additional help. If natural methods are not working, you do not want to become one of the statistics on a CDC web page with the exception of the diagnosis. This is a deadly condition.

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Diet Plan for Blood Pressure Patients – Follow These Diet Guidelines for Hypertension

High blood pressure affects millions of people. According to the CDC up to a third of those who have it do not even know it. Once you do find out the problem you may need to make some changes.

Weight Issues : According to heart.org dropping is few as five to ten pounds could lower blood pressure. That's great, but losing weight is not easy without knowledge and change.

The best method I've found is to use a calorie calculator. Caleriesperhour.com has the best one I've ever seen. It helps calculate everything you eat (including fast food) and everything you do. At the end of the day if you've burned more than you've eaten you are on your way to weight loss.

What to Avoid : There are things that can cause blood pressure to go up no matter how much you weigh. Sodium and caffeine are two of the worst offenders. Cutting sodium intake to 1200 mgs or less can make a big difference. Getting rid of caffeine is also wise. If you do take in a lot of it, do not go cold turkey. The withdrawal head is not pleasant.

Enjoying Food : Over the last nine years I've been working out ways to have good food that does not threaten blood pressure levels. Increasing the use of herbs and spices is one route. Using unsalted stock (or better still, make your own) is good. Even if I have to start from scratch (read the label on canned tomato sauce or canned pasta sauce and you'll see why), it can be done, tasty and healthy.

Nutritionists : Not everyone has the time or inclining to do a lot of from scratch cooking. A nutritionist can help you through the minefield of prepackaged foods and easy to prepare meals that stay within your diet budget. Your doctor can refer you and some insurance plans cover it.

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Does Limiting Salt Control High Blood Pressure?

For decades, doctors have been telling you to eat less salt as it causes hypertension or high blood pressure, which raises your risk of heart disease. Current diet guidelines in the US recommend limiting your salt intake to anywhere from 1.5 to 2.4 grams of sodium per day, which varies depending on which organization you ask. (For reference, one teaspoon of regular table salt contains about 2.3 grams of sodium.) According to some estimates, Americans get rough 4 grams of sodium per day, which has long been thought to be too much for heart health.

However, recent publicized research found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes, or death in people with normal or high blood pressure. In fact, research showed that too little salt in your diet may also increase your risk of heart disease!

Physiological Roles Of Salt In The Human Body

Salt has been a highly prized substance for thousands of years across all cultures and continents. Salt provides two main elements – sodium and chloride – both of which are essential for life. Your body can not make these elements on its own, so you must get them from the diet.

Sodium is a vital nutrient and is responsible for many vital functions in the body. It:

  • Is a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and amniotic fluid.
  • Maintains and regulates blood pressure through a delicate sodium-potassium balance in the body. This function is handled by the kidneys which are capable of adjusting to fluctuating levels of sodium and potassium in the diet to maintain homeostasis (internal stability).
  • Carries nutrients into and out of your cells.
  • Maintains your acid-alkaline balance.
  • Helps your brain communicate with your muscles.
  • Increases the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning. Both sodium and chloride also play an important role in the communication among nerve cells.
  • Supports the functions of your adrenal glands, which produce dozens of vital hormones.

Not All Salts Are Created Equal

Many people wonder why the natural salts are so much more expensive than regular table salt. Is it really worth it? Here are the differences.

Natural unprocessed salt , such as Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt, contains about 84 percent sodium chloride. The remaining 16 percent are naturally-occurring minerals and trace elements, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, bromine, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, copper, and silicon, that the body can use for many different functions.

Processed table salt contains 97.5 percent sodium chloride and strictly any other minerals. The rest is man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbs and flow agents.

It is, hence, obvious that natural unprocessed salt has much more nutritional value than processed table salt, not to mention that it does not contain any artificial chemicals.

Among the various types of natural salt, Himalayan salt, in addition to being naturally lower in sodium, is also much higher in potassium compared to other salt. Himalayan salt contains 0.28 percent potassium, compared to 0.16 percent in Celtic sea salt and 0.09 percent in processed table salt. Therefore, Himalayan salt has a much more preferable sodium-potassium ratio than any other salt.

Research Findings On Sodium Intake And Health

Conventional understanding is that excess salt causes hypertension which increases heart disease risk. However, when you look at the long list of publicized studies, you can not find strong evidence that reducing salt intake will cut down your risk of dying from heart disease.

In 2014, the New England Journal of Medicine published a four-year long observational study named the Prospective Urban Epidemiology Study (PURE), which included more than 10,000 people in 17 countries. It found that while higher sodium levels correlate with an increased risk for high blood pressure, potassium helps offset sodium's adverse effect.

In addition, those with the lowest risk for heart problems were consuming 3 to 6 grams of sodium a day, far more than the current US diet guidelines of 1.5 to 2.4 grams daily.

However, when sodium level went above 6 grams or go below 3 grams a day, the risk for heart disease went up. Other recent studies also confirmed this observation. That means while there is some relationship between sodium and high blood pressure, it is not exactly a linear relationship.

Long-term salt restriction may have other serious health consequences too. A 2010 Harvard study showed that low sodium intake is associated with poor outcomes in type 2 diabetes. Low-salt diets led to an immediate onset of insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. This calls into question the appropriateness of dietary guidelines advocating sodium restriction for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Salt restriction may also be especially dangerous for the elderly. Studies found that older people who have hyponatremia (low sodium level in the blood) have more falls and broken hips and a decrease in cognitive abilities. Hyponatremia is a common finding among the older due to universal guidelines recommend sodium restriction for those with acute illness.

Studies have shown that restricting salt is also problematic for athletes, particularly those who engage in high intensity or long duration exercises. Such athletes should make sure they will very well replace the salt lost through sweat.

When Is Salt Reduction Warranted?

While most people have no reason to restrict salt to the levels recommended by various health organizations, there are a few health conditions in which lower salt consumption may be warranted.

1. Salt sensitivity

For those who have high blood pressure, there is evidence that some individuals have inherited salt sensitivity, which is thought to be caused primarily by impaired sodium transport in the kidneys. People with this trait will have a significant blood pressure response to a high salt intake. However, increasing dietary potassium seems to mitigate such effect and may even eliminate the salt sensitivity.

2. Impaired renal function

Patients with chronic renal disease typically have reduced glomerular filtration rates and may have more difficulty excreting high levels of sodium. Therefore, increased sodium intake may become toxic to the kidneys when sodium filtration is impaired and may lead to unsafe levels of proteinuria (abnormal amount of protein in urine).

3. Kidney stones

Those who are sooner to kidney stones may need to reduce their salt intake. High sodium intake leads to high sodium as well as high calcium excretion in the urine. High calcium excretion may lead to kidney stone formation, particularly if fluid fluid is insufficient.

4. Osteoporosis

Since higher sodium intake is associated with increased calcium excretion, those with low bone density may benefit from a lower salt intake. However, a high salt salt is not believed to be the cause of osteoporosis, and the potential negative effect of a high salt intake can be offset by an adequate intake of calcium and potassium.

Strategies To Control Hypertension

1. Reduce excess carbohydrates carbohydrates, especially refined carbs and sugars.

Those who have high blood pressure tend to have chronically high blood sugar, high insulin, and high triglycerides, all of which are caused by eating too much carbohydrates, in particular, refined grains and sugars. Cutting out sugary beverages, white carbs, and sugary snacks should be your first step in managing hypertension. However, do not switch to “diet” foods made of artificial sweeteners as they too contribute to hypertension.

2. Alter your sodium-potassium ratio in the diet

Rather than severely restricting your level of sodium, which is essential for many vital functions in the body, focus instead on eating a high quality diet that is rich in potassium, as it helps to relax blood vessel walls and lower blood pressure.

  • Avoid processed foods, which are notoriously high in sodium (processed salt) and low in potassium.
  • Eat whole, unprocessed foods, ideally organic and chemical-free.
  • When using salt, use a natural salt. Himalayan salt contains less sodium and more potassium compared to other salts.
  • Eat more potassium-rich foods every day. Lima beans, winter squash, cooked spinach, and avocado are particularly high in potassium. Other potassium-rich vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and pumpkin. Bananas, cantaloupes, papayas, and prunes are high in potassium too but watch out for the sugar content in these fruits.
  • Green vegetable juicing is another way to increase your intake of potassium. Be careful not to use too much fruits or carrots in the juice as they contain high amounts of sugar.

3. Increase intake of other beneficial minerals like magnesium and calcium

Both have been shown to play a role in blood pressure management.

  • Magnesium-rich foods – dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, and whole grains.
  • Calcium-rich foods – dairy products (preferably full-fat, grass-fed), dark leafy greens, canned sardines and salmon with bones, and bone broth.

4. Optimize your Vitamin D and K2 levels

  • Research shows that vitamin D relaxes your arteries and improves blood pressure. Deficiency is associated with arterial stiffness and high blood pressure. Therefore, make sure you get adequate sun exposure safely, or alternatively, take a vitamin D3 supplement. Most people need at least 4,000 IU a day, some even up to 8,000 IU, to achieve the optimal D3 level of 50-70ng / ml in the blood.
  • Vitamin K2 is also important for preventing arterial plaque buildup and heart disease. The best sources of vitamin K2 are fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kim chee, and other fermented vegetables, yogurt, kefir, and certain cheeses like Brie and Gouda.

5. Eat 3-4 servings of fatty fish per week

Fatty fish is high in essential omega-3 fats and these fats have been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease in multiple studies. Wild salmon, sardines, and herrings are your best bet as they are lowest in mercury.

6. Eliminate caffeine

There is ample evidence that coffee and other caffeine drinks may exacerbate your condition.

7. Increase nitric oxide in your blood

This compound can help to open constricted blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. Methods for increasing nitric oxide include taking a warm bath, breathing in and out through one nostril, and having bitten melon and beet juices.

8. Exercise regularly

If you are active, start with walking slowly and gradually build up your pace. If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, high intensity interval exercises and weight training are most beneficial in regaining insulin sensitivity, which is essential for blood pressure management.

9. Learn how to effectively address and handle your day-to-day stress

Whether it is related to an issue at work, an argument with a friend, or problems with family, everyone feels stressed at times. Understand that most problems and solutions take time to deal with. In the meanwhile, give yourself time to de-stress. Try some of these methods and see if they work for you – deep breathing, meditation, yoga, guided visualization, aromatherapy, take a warm bath, listen to music, exercise, get a massage, write in your journal, take a nap, take a stroll, or cuddle your pet.

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How Can Stress Contribute to High Blood Pressure?

Stress is an entity belonging to the mental realm, whereas, high blood pressure is an entity belonging to the physical dominion. How could these two conditions interconnect with each other? Stress, on one hand, is the physiological (normal) response to daily activities or to external or internal stimulus that trigger the fight, flight or freeze reaction. These triggers are recognized as stressors that can be either physical or psychological producing the same reaction in your body. For example, the fear of losing a loved one produces the same answers as when you fear losing your job or facing the imminent threat of a dog barking at you.

So what happens at that moment in your body? Under normal circumstances stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucocorticoids, adrenaline, and antidiuretic hormone are released into blood to give your muscles the strength to be ready for fight or flight. In the case of the antidiuretic hormone its purpose is to keep stable the fluid volume in your body. It follows that by regulating the amount of blood volume this hormone also has a pronounced effect on stroke volume, which is the amount of blood pumped by the heart. Thus, the antidiuretic hormone has a critical role on blood pressure. When in a stressful situation this hormone functions by activating and increasing slightly the blood pressure, which in normal individuals act as a helper to perform better; however, when the lifestyle is stressful and the individual does not know how to cope with the daily life activities then it becomes chronic stress, distress and / or anxiety. Anxiety is a common emotion that is experienced by anyone at some point in life; however, it can affect an individual in negative ways if not deal with properly. Therefore, the increase of vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone) under stressful circumstances out of control will increase blood pressure when someone has already elevated values. Given the seriousness of what stress and anxiety can transform into, it is important that you learn to deal with anxiety in healthy and appropriate ways to benefit yourself and those around you. Each individual's responses are different and can be related to health and stress and may cause a significant impact not only on health but also in the outcome of serious illnesses.

Lastly, stress as perceived as a normal response of the body helps it to perform faster and stronger and becomes a life saver under a life threatening situation that is an immediate reaction; neverheless, chronic stress without control leads the body and the mind to be in a continuing perception of daily events as threats, which in turn, may cause the increasing of blood pressure if you have risk factors for hypertension or already elevated values.

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Do You Know Your Blood Pressure?

Blood is a unique marvelous fluid that circulates in our vascular system. It's the only organ in the body that is a fluid. As a result, it moves through the body to bring nutrition and carry away waste products. It also needs pressure to flow. Pressure is the force that moves blood around the circulatory system. In general the heart generates an orderly pattern of pressure to supply organs with the blood each one needs.

Additionally, blood needs its avenues to move and transport all the good things, but it also transports a lot of junk. Thus, it is necessary to keep the roads, arteries, in good shape for this precious fluid to flow at a continuous force. What is normal arterial pressure, then?

Multiple factors determine the normal force with which the blood flows; However our main concern is to learn whether or not your blood pressure is normal and answer questions such as: What is high blood pressure? Do I know my readings? Do I have hypertension? If I do, which risk factors am I exposed to? Can I keep track of it at home? If so, how can I measure it at home? And should I visit the doctor?

What is high blood pressure?

The persistent presence of values ​​that exceeded 140/90 is considered as hypertension. The normal reading range is 120/80 or less. Systolic pressure is measured when the heart contracts, and diastolic pressure when the heart relaxes, between beats. Numbers are given like this: 120/80 … where the top number is the systolic and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure. Criteria for the diagnosis of hypertension varies depending on the presence of associated medical problems, for instance, diabetes mellitus, or kidney disease. Sometimes a diagnosis of hypertension, can be made at an initial hypertensive-related visit when arterial pressure is higher than 200/120 mm Hg; This is either a hypertensive emergency or urgency. The mm Hg is millimeters of mercury-the units used to measure it.

Hypertension Chart: What your reading means.

The table depicted below shows a general classification for readers to better grap the idea of ​​whether or not you have a disorder in your blood system. Both readings are important. If one or both are consistently high, you have high blood pressure.

Your category:

Normal; Systolic or Diastolic blood pressure

Normal

Less than 120 mm Hg / Less than 80 mm Hg

Pre-Hypertension

120-139 / 80-89

Hypertension Stage 1

140-159 / 90-99

Hypertension Stage 2

160 or higher / 100 or higher

Adapted from The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. December 2003 in Hypertension. 2003; 42: 1206

Blood pressure monitoring at home

There are many ways of testing it. You can measure it at home, at a pharmacy, or at the doctor's office. Nowadays, there is no easier way to do it than by using your own home blood pressure monitor to control your reading results. Try to take readings at same time of day to ensure consistency. You just need to have a device provided with a cuff. Ask for the right cuff size for your arm, this is very important so as to have accurate readings. Then, sit down in a straight up position with your back supported and feet flat on the floor, raise your arm at the heart level with the palm of the hand facing upward, then wrap the cuff in the upper part of your bare arm, the cuff should have enough room for you to slip one fingertip under the cuff, and 2 cm from the crease of your elbow, stay quiet, and then press start. As the cuff inflates you will feel the cuff getting tighter around your arm and after a while the monitor will display your results. Take 2 readings on one sitting since these may differ.

On the other hand, if you do not have the machine you might go to a public place where you can have measured it for free. Do not forget to write down the date it was checked, the readings, and additional data if provided. Keeping a record of your measurements will show you and your doctor how well your medicine is working, and also it allows you to participate in taking control of your own health and identifying changes.

Now you know how to measure it and also know your readings.

Who is at risk for hypertension?

Risk is defined as a possibility of getting into a situation. There are factors which present threaten normal blood pressure levels. Those risk factors could be, family history of hypertension, stress, being overweight or obese, age, race, smoking, drinking excess amounts of alcohol, having too much salt in your diet, and certain chronic medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, kidney disease , sleep apnea, and high cholesterol. These are the factors that could lead you to have hypertension. Apart from that, once it is diagnosed you should take action to treat it. If left untreated, hypertension can damage multiple organs. In fact, this condition is known as the Silent Killer because the individual may be suffering from this condition for years without any symptoms. The persistent rise harms the heart, kidneys, brain, retina, and vessels. So, before the damage in organs appears you can accomplish much to prevent a calamitous event.

Should I visit the doctor?

Yes, it is the doctor who makes a diagnosis. Diagnosis of hypertension is not always done at the first doctor visit, it may take two or three visits over a period of several weeks. Alternatively; it is important to monitor your readings by having it measured at home. You can work along with the doctor in order to have your blood pressure under control. Self-monitoring is crucial in the prevention of devastating consequences. If I were a cardiologist I would never want to see a person with a damaged heart as a consequence of hypertension. Or, if I were a Nephrologist, I would never want to see an individual dying from damaged kidneys. Still, if I were a neurologist I would never want to see a patient with an injury to the brain just because he did not know the significant risk of stroke when readings are higher than 160/100 mm Hg.

Reuters Health reports: “Home blood pressure monitors can help people keep their blood pressure in check and possibly cut down on medication – as long as the patients and their doctors put those home readings to good use, a new research review finds.”

To sum up; take action by measuring your blood pressure. So before an adverse outcome occurs it is important that you know that high blood pressure is usually controllable. It's not something you can not do anything about.

This information serves as a guide to prevent the progressive rise in blood pressure and its complications, suddenheless is the physician responsibility to diagnose the condition.

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What Is Causing You Hypertension?

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Up-to-date medical literature states that the cause of high blood pressure is only known in 5% of the cases while 95% is unknown. When I attended medical school, I learned that the cause of high blood pressure was known in only 10% of the cases whereas 90% was unknown. Now, other sources state that the exact cause of hypertension is unknown, but may be related to hereditary and environmental factors. Known causes lie in a very small field while the unknown continue in a vast ground. The known causes include:

• Individuals with chronic kidney disease

• Tumors in kidneys, adrenal glands, lungs or brain, secreting substances that affect blood pressure

• Lesions of the vascular system such as coarctation of the aorta, or vasculitis

• The use of oral contraceptive pills

• Some medications and toxins like cocaine, and amphetamines

Obstructive sleep apnea

• Obstruction to the urinary tract

• Pregnancy-induced hypertension

• Conditions that destabilize calcium, potassium or magnesium levels

In addition, there are risk factors that lead individuals to hypertension, so it is reasonable to think that these are also identified causes of hypertension in individuals. These include:

• Being overweight or obese

• High levels of cholesterol

• Diabetes

• Having excessive amounts of alcohol

• Smoking

• Putting too much salt on your meals

• Bad nutritional habits

• Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise

• Stress

In my professional opinion, while these are causes, though, considered as risk factors, the following are true risk factors. These include:

• Family history of hypertension

• Age – risk is increased as you age

• Race – studies show that black race is associated with a higher risk of developing hypertension

Although high blood pressure is by far more common in adults, a growing number of children are getting diagnosed with hypertension as a result of poor lifestyle habits; such as unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.

While hypertension was first mentioned as a disease in the early 1800; it is a modern malady with very well-known causes created by the feedback of this society. Currently, more than a billion individuals suffer from hypertension worldwide. However, do not be discouraged, you can reverse or control the condition by taking care of your blood pressure. Treatment of hypertension includes dietary changes, medications, and exercise.

This information serves as a guide to prevent the progressive rise in blood pressure and its complications, suddenheless is the physician responsibility to diagnose the condition.

By Esmeralda Franco / Mansilla MD

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