What are the normal levels of blood pressure? What factors affect blood pressure the most? How to deal with high blood pressure? What can you do to lower it?
These and other questions will be covered in this post, as well as, some revival recipes that help to lower blood pressure and protect your heart from damage.
We are also planning to address such conditions as high cholesterol, arthritis, coronary heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, depression, dementia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you are interested to learn about other conditions, please contact us with your suggestion, and we will include it in our list.
What is hypertension?
Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the arteries, the major blood vessels in the body. As the heart beats, it forces blood through the arteries to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the rest of the body. The strength of the blood pushing against the artery walls is blood pressure, which is measured in units called millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
Hypertension is when blood pressure gets high. The heart and arteries have to work harder than normal to pump blood through the body. The extra work thickens the muscles of the heart and arteries and hardens or damages artery walls. As a result, the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and other organs is reduced.
Damage to the heart caused by the extra work and a lack of oxygen causes heart disease. In addition, damage to the arteries increases the risk of blood clots that block the flow of blood to the heart, causing a heart attack or to the brain, causing a stroke.
There are many medical conditions, habits, and risk factors that can cause high blood pressure. Also, hypertension is a complex condition with a variety of factors, both genetic and environmental, contributing to its development. However, in about 95 percent of cases, the cause of hypertension is unknown.
High blood pressure is a common condition in the United States. Almost half (48%) of the population has hypertension (a more severe case of high blood pressure), and there is a lifetime risk of 90% for developing hypertension. This means that even if you are middle-aged and haven’t been diagnosed with high blood pressure, there’s still a nine out of ten chance that you will be.
Here’s an eye-opening fact: according to a Northwestern University study, deaths in the US from high blood pressure increased by 0.5% each year between 2000 and 2018. In 2019, hypertension was the primary or contributing cause of death in over 516,955 people.
You can take a quiz to determine if you are at high risk for high blood pressure.
Hypertension is diagnosed if, when it is measured on two different days, the systolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥140 mmHg and/or the diastolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥90 mmHg.
Key facts from WHO (World Health Organization)
- Hypertension, elevated blood pressure, is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
- An estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries.
- An estimated 46% of adults with hypertension are unaware that they have the condition.
- Less than half of adults (42%) with hypertension are diagnosed and treated.
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults (21%) with hypertension have it under control.
- Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide.
- One of the global targets for non-communicable diseases is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 33% between 2010 and 2030.
Why is Hypertension dangerous?
Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. The long-term damage high blood pressure has on your arteries, however, occurs regardless of whether you have symptoms or not.
In most cases, damage done from high blood pressure occurs over time. Left undetected or uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and other health problems.
Worst of all, brain damage from high blood pressure starts early. Once blood pressure rises above normal, subtle but harmful brain changes can occur rather quickly—perhaps within a year or two. And those changes may be hard to reverse, even if blood pressure is nudged back into the normal range with treatment.
What are the symptoms of Hypertension?
Hypertension is commonly referred to as the ‘silent killer.’ The reason is that there are often no signs or symptoms associated with high blood pressure. Unless your blood pressure is dangerously high, you will not have any symptoms. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to check it.
The American Heart Association recommends home monitoring for all people with high blood pressure to check it regularly.
By following these steps , you can get an accurate blood pressure reading at home. Then learn what the numbers in your blood pressure reading mean by referring to the table above. Useful tips can help you to use a home blood pressure monitor properly.
You can buy on Amazon blood pressure measurement devices that have been validated for clinical accuracy as determined through an independent review process (shown below).
When symptoms do occur, they can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.
If you don’t have any symptoms, wait five minutes and then test your blood pressure again.
Journal of Hypertension
What is the life expectancy with high blood pressure?
How long can you live with high blood pressure? It depends. When undetected for an extended period and untreated, the condition can become increasingly dangerous — possibly even fatal.
On the other hand, the life expectancy of someone with controlled high blood pressure can often be well into retirement age.
How to deal with high blood pressure?
Keep a blood pressure journal.
One blood pressure measurement is like a snapshot. It only tells what your blood pressure is at that moment. A record of readings taken over time provides a “time-lapse” picture of your blood pressure that can help you partner with your physician to ensure that your treatments to lower high blood pressure are working.
Know the factors that cause blood pressure spikes
While your blood pressure levels naturally rise and fall throughout the day, there are some factors that may cause sudden blood pressure spikes.
If you measure your blood pressure and see elevated numbers, don’t panic. There are a lot of causes for sudden spikes in blood pressure. This includes thyroid issues, scleroderma, collagen vascular disorder, overactive adrenal glands, and some others.
Just calm down, start taking deep breaths, or practice other stress-relieving techniques. Analyze the situation and eliminate possible triggers — extinguish your cigarette, stop drinking coffee, quit exercising, etc. If your doctor prescribed you blood pressure meds, take them.
Measure your blood pressure again in about five minutes. If it doesn’t go down and you continue experiencing symptoms, consider calling your doctor.
Learn to cope with stress
Stress and hypertension have often been linked, but researchers are still looking into a direct relationship between the two. Still, the best advice is to relax.
When you are stressed, your body sends stress hormones — adrenaline and cortisol — into the bloodstream. These hormones create a temporary spike in blood pressure, causing your heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow. When the stressful situation is over, blood pressure may go back to its normal level. However, chronic stress may cause your body to stay in this highly-charged state longer, leading to serious health problems.
Moreover, the ways you cope with stress can directly affect your blood pressure. For instance, overeating, smoking, and drinking alcohol in response to stressful situations are direct causes of sustained high blood pressure. At the same time, healthier coping mechanisms like exercising, practicing yoga, and meditating can all help lower blood pressure.
Get sufficient sleep
Blood pressure goes down when you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you could experience a blood pressure increase. People who get less than six hours of sleep per day feel a steeper rise in blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure and get troubles with sleep, you can find natural and over-the-counter sleep aids, as well as a list of prescription medications in this guide.
Regular exercise strengthens your heart, helping it pump blood better and decreasing the pressure on your arteries.
A healthy exercise routine should contain a combination of aerobic, strength training, and stretching exercises. If you have high blood pressure, focus on gentle to moderate aerobic exercises to help build up your heart health.
It is important to avoid physical activity that raises your heart rate very quickly, such as weight lifting, sprinting, or squash.
Remember that high blood pressure isn’t always obvious. Make it a habit to measure your blood pressure once or twice a month.
Manage your diet
You may already know that salt causes high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure and those at high risk for developing hypertension, including adults over 50 and black men and women, should have no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily (less than 3/4 tsp.) of salt.
But, salt isn’t just what you add to your food from the saltshaker. High-fat foods are the enemy of your blood pressure and weight loss progress. Foods rich in saturated and trans fats further exacerbate your high blood pressure. They also increase your risk of stroke or coronary artery disease because they raise your cholesterol levels. Keeping tabs on your fat intake will help you lower your blood pressure, lose weight, and improve your diet. It is recommended to reduce your saturated fat consumption to 6% of your daily calorie intake and your total fat to 27% of your daily calorie.
Whether or not you follow a particular diet, certain foods and ingredients may raise your blood pressure or help keep it high. Limiting particular foods may help manage your blood pressure.
Limiting alcohol to less than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men can help lower blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
But drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
Take your medications
In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.
What can you do to lower your blood pressure?
If you have a very high blood pressure reading at home, you may look for ways to lower your blood pressure fast. Unfortunately, there’s no reliable, safe, and fast way to lower your blood pressure outside of a healthcare setting.
But there is good news. Lifestyle changes that incorporate exercise, diet, and stress-reducing techniques can naturally lower blood pressure over time.
Along with all methods described above in relation to managing your blood pressure but at a higher degree, like increased activity and exercising more, sleeping better, lowering stress, etc., the most important factor is your diet.
Lower your weight
You can decrease your blood pressure by 1 mm Hg by losing around two pounds. You also need to control your waistline. Excess visceral fat (the fat around your organs) can increase your blood pressure.
Most people can achieve weight loss by making healthy lifestyle choices long enough to impact their health significantly. Making these changes can be challenging, and you can easily be derailed from your end goal, which is why the following pointers should help you make the appropriate changes one step at a time.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute developed a comprehensive Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure.
Make preference in food
Following a heart-healthy diet is suggested for all people with high blood pressure, including those on blood-pressure-lowering medications. Research has shown that including certain foods in your diet, especially those high in specific nutrients like potassium and magnesium, reduces your blood pressure levels.
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a healthy-eating plan designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. It’s not a diet but a way of eating.
Studies have shown that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks. The diet can also lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels in the blood. High blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol levels are two major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Before using new recipes or making any drastic changes to your lifestyle, we recommend you talk to your doctor.
Actually, you can partner with your healthcare provider to develop your personal plan to get your blood pressure under control. Make your next appointment today. And when you go in, share your struggles and successes. They are there to help you be successful.
to lower your blood pressure
Beets contain high levels of nitrates. The digestive system ultimately converts these nitrates into nitric oxide, a molecule that acts on blood vessels. Nitric oxide relaxes and dilates blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, and reducing strain on the heart.
The recipe is quite simple.
Make fresh beet juice, mix it with honey in a ratio of 1: 1, and take 2-3 tbsp 3 times a day.
Eating steamed or boiled beets for a snack or adding them to your salad are other ways to manage blood pressure.
Potassium is essential to maintain our blood pressure as it regulates the flow of cellular fluids and also the tension in our blood vessels. Horseradish is rich in potassium. Incorporating it into your diet will reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and heart conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. The potassium present in horseradish helps to take care of your heart by lowering blood pressure and regulating the flow of fluids and nutrients.
To make a decoction, boil 200 g of grated horseradish in 3 liters of water for 15 minutes. Leave it overnight until morning. Strain and keep it in the refrigerator. Drink 100 ml 30 minutes before meals 3 times a day until it is gone. A month later, repeat it again.
Hawthorn is used to protect against heart disease and help to control high blood pressure. Both animal and human studies suggest hawthorn increases coronary artery blood flow, improves circulation, and lowers blood pressure.
Hawthorn contains many substances that may benefit the heart. These antioxidant flavonoids, including oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs), may help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect blood vessels from damage.
Wash 0.5 kg of ripe fruits of hawthorn, crush them with a wooden pusher, pour 100 ml of water, heat to 40 degrees, and compress with a juicer. Drink the resulting juice in 1 tbsp. spoon 3 times a day before meals.
Future of Hypertension
The 2019 article in the Hypertension journal highlighted the main issues and future perspectives in preventing and treating hypertension.
It highlights five main areas that required transformation, as shown in the image.
“Hypertension is one of the most significant public health challenges and the biggest contributor to the global burden of disease. Improving health outcomes worldwide will require concerted global action to address the burden of hypertension. Its future will depend on the successful convergence of digital data and biotechnological and biomedical sciences coupled with their implementation in healthcare delivery with new models of delivery and the effective strategy for population health.”
- Digital transformation
- New BP monitoring technologies with high accuracy measuring devices and automated home blood pressure monitoring
- Data science transformation and artificial intelligence
- Patient-facing technologies that are based on AI could facilitate increased access to care, better treatment adherence, and even virtual health coaching.
- Biotech and biomedical transformation
- RNA Interference is based on the silencing of PCSK9 gene expression. PCSK9, an enzyme expressed and secreted into the bloodstream predominantly by the liver, plays an important role in cholesterol metabolism and also seems to modulate hypertension
- Gene Editing—somatic gene editing of PCSK9.
- Regenerative Medicine treatments for hypertension complications, including stem cell therapy, cellular reprogramming, and tissue engineering.
- Healthcare delivery transformation
- The implementation science: better access to diagnosis, improvement in treatment quality and outcomes, standardization of treatment protocols, and dissemination of best practices across a range of healthcare settings.
- Population science transformation
- A cross-sector effort and partnerships between health providers, communities, policymakers, businesses, and more
What is next?
New information on methods and therapies to treat and prevent hypertention, as well as new recipes, will be added periodically. Be sure to check back!
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