High Blood Pressure

Condition and Causes

High blood pressure or hypertension is a common condition that runs in families and affects around one in six people. There is no cure for high blood pressure and the cause is unknown, although lifestyle factors are thought to contribute to the condition.

The heart circulates 5 litres of blood around the body every minute, which carries oxygen and nutrients to the body’s major organs, such as the heart, kidneys liver and brain. The smaller blood vessels, though which blood passes, produce a resistance to the flow of blood. The heart pumps against this resistance to create the necessary pressure that allows blood to circulate. When the heart contracts, the highest pressure it produces is called the systolic pressure, when it relaxes, the lowest pressure it produces is called the diastolic pressure.  A normal blood pressure reading should be less that 12/80 this is shorthand for a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 60. Blood pressure is high when it is consistently above 140/90. A permanently raised blood pressure may result in heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.

High blood pressure is usually divided into two categories, designated primary and secondary. Primary hypertension is high blood pressure that is not due to another underlying disease. The main cause is unknown, the risk factors are identify as cigarette smoking, stress, obesity, excessive use of stimulants, drug use and high sodium intake.

When persistently elevated blood pressure arises as a result of another underlying health problem it is called secondary hypertension. A person may also have secondary hypertension because the blood vessels are chronically constricted or have lost of elasticity from a buildup of fatty plaque on the inside walls of the vessels, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are common precursors of hypertension. In addition high blood pressure is often associated with coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, kidney disorder, obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and adrenal tumors.

Signs and symptoms

  • Most people with high blood pressure do not have symptoms and are unaware that they have the condition.
  • Those with severe high blood pressure or a rapid rise in pressure may experience headaches or blurred or impaired vision.
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea

Medical Approach and Treatment

If blood pressure is not achieved through lifestyle modification or readings are extremely high, medication is prescribed. A mild diuretic such as hydrochlorothiazide or beta blocker such as atenolol is usually the first choice. Another common class of drugs called ACE inhibitors is also used. The third common group is calcium channel blockers such as ditaizem. The choice of the drug depends on the co-existing illness and symptoms.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) are medicines that lower blood pressure by blocking the production of hormone (angiotensin II) that narrows blood vessels, allowing the blood vessels to widen and blood flow more easily, thus lowering blood pressure. ACE inhibitors have few side effects, the most common is a harmless dry cough. ACE inhibitors are not suitable for pregnant women as they may damage the growing baby.

Calcium channel work by blocking the flow of calcium in the muscles of the heart and blood vessels, cause the blood vessels to relax and open up. This lowers the blood pressure. They are useful for older people and people with asthma or angina, or peripheral vascular disease. Side effects vary among calcium channel blockers but can include flushing, swelling of the ankles, gastrointestinal upset and palpitations.

Diuretics work by helping the kidneys to pass accumulated salt and water. This decreases the amount of fluid in the body and so lowers blood pressure. Diuretics also cause blood vessels to dilate (expand), which lessens the pressure on them. Side effects include dizziness, weakness, excessive urination and more rarely rash and gastrointestinal symptoms. People who have diabetes, liver disease or gout may need to be closely monitored by their doctor while take diuretics as the medicines may aggravate these conditions.

Beta-blockers work by blocking the action of adrenaline and noradrenaline in the heart. Adrenaline speeds up the heart and makes it pump harder, thus increasing blood pressure. Beta blockers slow the heartbeat and reduce the force of its contractions so less blood is pumped through the vessels, thus lowering blood pressure. They may sometimes cause narrowing of the airways, such as in asthma, and cold hands and feet. Not suitable for people with asthma or special heart conditions, because they act on the nervous system they may cause lowered mood or lethargy in some people. Unlike many other high blood pressure medicines, some beta-blockers are safe for use in pregnancy.

Nutrition Approach and Treatment

Diet

Follow a strict salt-free diet. This is essential for lowering blood pressure; eliminate all salt from diet, including soda, sodium, Na, and MSG. Processed and commercially prepared foods contains additives and preservatives so they should all be avoided.

Eat a high-fiber diet and take supplemental fiber. Oat bran is a good source of fibre.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, such as apples, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, eggplant, garlic, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, melons, peas, prunes, raisins, squash, and sweet potatoes.

Include fresh live juices in the diet like beet, carrot, celery, currant, cranberry, citrus fruit, parsley, spinach, and watermelon.

Avoid all animal fats. Bacon, beef, bouillons, chicken liver, corner beef, dairy products, gravies, pork, sausage or processed meat are prohibited. The only acceptable animals food are broiled white fish and skinless turkey or chicken, and these should be consumed in moderation only. Get protein from vegetable sources, grains, legumes.

Avoid foods such as aged cheese, aged meats, anchovies, avocadoes, chocolate, fava beans, pickled herring, sherry, sour cream, wine, and yogurt.

Avoid all alcohol, caffeine, tobacco.

Lifestyle

Keep you weight down. If you are overweight take steps to lose excess pounds.

Fast for three to five days a month. Periodic cleansing fasts help to detoxify the body.

Get regular or moderate exercise. Take care not to overexert yourself, especially in hot or humid weather.

Nutrients

Calcium and Magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, plus potassium to counteract the depletion of the mineral.

Coenzyme Q10 improves heart function

Coenzyme A works effectively with Coenzyme Q10 to support the immune system’s detoxification of many dangerous substances.

Essential fatty acids such is important for circulation and lowering blood pressure.

Garlic is effective in lowering blood pressure.

Selenium deficiency is linked to heart disease.

Amino acids such as L-Arginine is shown to play an increasingly important role in heart heath by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. L-Camitine transports long fatty acid chains.

Vitamin E improves heart function. It also acts as a blood thinning agent , use with precaution when taking with blood thinners.

Vitamin C improves adrenal function; reduces blood-clotting tendencies.

Vitamin B complex is important for circulatory.

Herbs

Use cayenne (capsicum), chamomile, fennel, hawthorn berries, parsley, and rosemary for high blood pressure.

Hops and valerian rood are good for calming the nerves.

Mistletoe can reduce symptoms of high blood pressure.

Drink 3 cups of suma tea daily. Gotu kola tea can be used. Both help relieve blood pressure.

Avoid licorice as this herb can elevate blood pressure.

Garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure about 5 to 8 points on average. Two cloves daily should be sufficient.

Flaxseed oil has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, probably due to the effects of the omega-3 fatty acids it contains.

Kinesiology

Deep channel clear, organ balance, can opener; on the heart and pericardium as high blood pressure is related to those two organs.

Blood pressure balance will try to balance hydration as water is crucial to blood pressure levels. The kidneys try to maintain fluid balance in the body.  When the body is dehydrated, the amount of fluid falls and the kidneys produce a hormone that constricts the blood vessels and increases blood pressure. Maintaining hydration balance will lower blood pressure.

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