How do you know if you have high blood pressure? It's really easy. All you have to do is to measure it.
And you don't have have to buy a machine or get poked with a needle like!
Most pharmacies have blood pressure monitor stations you can use free of charge. Take advantage of them.
Average the results over several days and discuss the results with your pharmacist or your family doctor. They can provide advice to you on effective options for lowering blood pressure.
Truly, it is possible to lower blood pressure significantly without the use of prescription medications.
Let's first take a quick look at some natural supplements you can take and lifestyle changes you can make...
Many people are asking if there are any effective natural supplements for treating high blood pressure. Below is a list of natural remedies, vitamins and minerals that have been suggested by experts practicing complimentary medicine.
The two charts below are just quick summaries. If you want the full description of each remedy along with the suggested dose to use, see our complete article Natural Supplements for High Blood Pressure.
|Natural Remedies||What Experts Say...|
|| (What's this?)
(Omega-3 fatty acids)
|Apple Cider Vinegar|
|It is a quick summary. If you want the full description of each remedy along with the recommended dose, see the article Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure.
|Natural Remedies||What experts say about them|
|Calcium & Magnesium|| (What's this?)
|It is a quick summary. If you want the full description of each remedy along with the recommended dose, see the article Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure.|
In order for blood to circulate around your body, your heart pumps blood and it puts a pressure on the blood against the walls of the blood vessels.
The blood pressure is a force that is regulated by your brain, heart, the major blood vessels and hormones.
Your blood pressure changes with your body's position, activity and even what you are thinking of at the time.
For example, during exercise, physical activities, stress, or when you are scared, your blood pressure can go up quite a bit. The real danger is when your blood pressure is constantly high even when you are at rest or sleeping.
Why is hypertension harmful and dangerous to your health?
High blood pressure puts a lot of stress on your heart, blood vessels and organs such as the brain and kidneys.
Over the years, hypertension greatly speeds up hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), increases the risk of stroke (bleeding in the brain), enlarges heart (leading to heart failure), causes kidney failure and vision loss.
In about 90% of the people suffering from high blood pressure, there is no causes that can be found. This is called essential, idiopathic or primary hypertension.
Somehow, the body thinks that this blood pressure is acceptable and normal.
For the remaining 10% of people, the causes can be related to kidney disease, heart disease, adrenal gland problems, prescription drug use, illicit drug use, smoking, stress, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol and a diet high in sodium or alcohol.
Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers such as 120/80. It is pronounced as "one hundred and twenty over eighty".
The first number represents the systolic blood pressure and is the pressure generated when the heart contracts.
The second number is the diastolic number, representing the blood pressure in the system when the heart is in the relaxed state, between heart beats.
The unit used to measure blood pressure is mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).
Notice that even when the heart is in the relaxed state, there is still blood pressure in the system (which is essential for keeping the blood flowing).
Experts believe that 140/90 is the "borderline" limits. Values higher than 140/90 may require treatment. Many other health factors such as family history, prior history of heart disease, diabetes, etc... will affect the doctor's decision in selecting the best treatment.
Your family doctor will discuss the readings with you after a thorough interview and a physical evaluation.
The majority of people with high blood pressure do not experience any symptoms. That's why hypertension is also called the "silent killer."
However, some people may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Note again that most people will not have any of these symptoms. Do not rely on these symptoms as an indicator of hypertension.
Get your blood pressure checked by your doctor regularly or do it yourself with our own home blood pressure monitor or the one found in many pharmacies.
Some of the risk factors for the development of hypertension include:
Age - Men over the age of 35 can develop this condition. Women tend to develop this after menopause.
Diet - A diet high in saturate fats and salts will increase blood pressure. The DASH diet is proven to help with hypertension.
Excessive Salt - Eating too much salty food causes hypertension. Cut back in your salt intake by following the DASH diet guidelines in this informative article.
Family History - There's nothing you can do about this one.
Illicit Drug Use - These drugs, like amphetamines and cocaine, increase blood pressure. (Of course, that's the least of your concern if you use these substance!)
Smoking - Nicotine found in tobacco elevates blood pressure.
Chronic Stress - Stress, both from life at home and at work, can have a significant health effects on both the mind and body.
Excessive Weight - Those who are obese are more likely to suffer from hypertension. This is in part due to the heart needing to work harder to pump blood to more parts of the body.
Lack of Physical Activity / Sedentary Lifestyle - A lifestyle that includes regular physical activity helps to lower blood pressure.
Medications - Birth control pills and decongestants found in cough and cold medications may increase blood pressure. Check with your pharmacist or doctor if you are not sure.
Race/Ethnicity - The Blacks are more likely to suffer from hypertension.
Existing Health Conditions - Diabetes, insomnia (leading to lack of sleep), kidney disease, high cholesterol and heart disease.
A small percent of people may experience eye pressure behind the eyes when they suffer from high blood pressure.
They may also experience blurred vision or visual disturbances.
However, never rely on the presence of these symptoms as an indicator that you suffer from hypertension. Most individuals will not experience them, even if they have very high blood pressure.
Absolutely. Diet matters.
Controlling and reducing hypertension by diet is the first step to take before considering the use of any herbal remedy.
Reducing the amount of salt in your diet is the first recommendation any health care professional would suggest. There is a very strong relationship between dietary salt intake and blood pressure.
The well-designed DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) trial proved this.
Get the DASH diet guidelines in this informative article complete with recommended servings from various food groups. This is must-know information for anyone with elevated blood pressure.
Eat more vegetables and fruits and reduce meat in your diet. This is shown to reduce blood pressure. This is believed to be due to the potassium contents found in vegetables.
As well, vegetables contain lots of fiber which will reduce high cholesterol as well. Also consider cutting back on caffeine use if you drink caffeinated soda, coffee or tea.
Blood pressure goes up modestly after drinking caffeinated beverages. However, not all studies show that caffeine increases blood pressure. Some study show that it made no difference at all.
Yes, it is possible.
Some people call this the "white lab coat" effect. For some people seeing the doctor can cause stress either consciously or unconsciously. Doctors know of this effect.
To avoid this problem, buy a home blood pressure monitor from your pharmacy and average your readings throughout the days or over several days. Take this record to your pharmacist or doctor for an evaluation and discussion.
On a personal note. My long-time family doctor is over an hour and a half away. I have to fight traffic, cross a bridge, look for metered parking downtown, wait up to an hour and a half for him, pray that my parking meter doesn't run out of time and then drive home again.
What do you think what that would do to my blood pressure?
Yes indeed, but this doesn't happen immediately.
The damaging effects of chronically elevated blood pressure usually take years or even decades to show up.
Since hypertension speeds up atherosclerosis, it can permanently reduce blood flow to the penis.
Blood flow to the penis (along with other factors) is essential for creating and maintaining an erection.
Suffering from long-term uncontrolled high blood pressure can eventually lead to permanent impotence by damaging the blood vessels. This damage is permanent and cannot be reversed.
Is it possible to lower high blood pressure without medication?
Even if you are taking prescription high blood pressure medications, you also need to make the necessary changes in your lifestyle and dietary habits as well.
The lifestyle changes discussed above are proven by decades of clinical research to significantly lower blood pressure.
If you do so, you may be able to lower and perhaps even get off taking prescription medications. But it is important to discuss this option with your family doctor.
Revised: September 7, 2017