About one-third of the U.S population suffers from high blood pressure or hypertension and one out of three of the people who don’t are one step below having it.
Although it is quite common, this condition is preventable and can be controlled but you need to know what to look for and which warning signs to take seriously.
High blood pressure is not a disease but it can lead to other dangerous health problems like heart attacks, strokes, chronic heart failure and kidney disease.
Around 20% of the population (or 1 in 5) that has high blood pressure is not aware of it mainly because hypertension doesn’t show any specific symptoms even when the blood pressure readings are dangerously high. That is terrifying.
However, doctors say that exercising regularly and turning to a healthy diet can effectively treat hypertension and in some cases, prevent it.
A standard medical treatment for this condition is a prescription of beta blockers, ACE inhibitor drugs, diuretics and recommendations for reduced amount of salt in the diet. While these might provide a temporary relief, they do not attack the root of the issue and the recommendation to reduce the amount of salt in your diet is considered to be highly controversial and questionable.
Simply put, hypertension is when the blood flows in the arteries and blood vessels at a pressure higher than normal.
Blood pressure can be measured and it is read in two numbers, representing two distinct pressures. The first number is the systolic pressure, or the pressure the blood flow when the heart beats. The second one is called the diastolic pressure, the pressure the blood flows through the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
Ranges of blood pressure:
- Normal: Less than 120/80
- Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160+/100+
Frequently, patients don’t experience any symptoms when the blood pressure increases, but some warning signs can include chest pain, confusion, headache, vision blurs, nosebleed, fatigue, ear noise or buzzing and irregular heartbeat.
It is critical to monitor and control your blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that at the age of 50, people with normal blood pressure can have a higher life expectancy with as much as 5 years than those with high blood pressure.
As an additional fact, in 2013 over 360,000 people in the U.S have died due to hypertension as a major or contributing cause. That is roughly 1000 deaths a day, which makes hypertension a severe health issue that requires some serious treatment.
Some of the health conditions that hypertension can lead to include:
- First heart attack: 1 of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure.
- First stroke: 8 of every 10 people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.
- Chronic heart failure: 7 of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have hypertension.
- Metabolic syndrome: The metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and abdominal obesity, can be invoked by hypertension.
- Eye problems: Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes due to hypertension, can lead to vision loss.
- Aneurysm: High blood pressure can bulge or weaken blood vessels, which lead to an aneurysm.In case it ruptures, it can be life-threatening.
- Memory issues: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can impede the ability to think, learn and remember. Trouble with memory and understanding is a common problem for people suffering from high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure vs. Low Blood Pressure
The risk of high and low blood pressures increases with age. Here are the blood pressure ranges:
- Low blood pressure or hypotension: Lower than 90/60
- Normal: Lower than 120/80
- Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
High Blood Pressure
As we mentioned above, there are no specific symptoms but warning signs. Here are some of the most common warning signs of elevated blood pressure:
- irregular heartbeat
- ear noise or buzzing
- vision changes
- chest pains
And here are some more alarming facts and numbers about hypertension:
- Around 70 million American adults (29%) suffer from hypertension.
- Only about half (52 percent) have the condition under control.
- 1 out of 3 adults in the U.S. has prehypertension – blood pressure levels that are higher than normal, but yet not in the range of hypertension.
- Hypertension costs the U.S around $46 billion annually. This includes the health care, medications and missed days of work.
Low Blood Pressure
Here are some of the most notable low blood pressure facts:
- Experiencing no symptoms or warning signs means the situation is not very serious.
- Around 10-20% of people over age 65 suffer from postural hypotension.
- Low blood pressure is to be concerned with if you experience sudden blood pressure drops, as then the brain is deprived of a proper supply of blood. This can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Sudden blood pressure drops are most commonly experienced when a person suddenly changes position from lying or sitting to standing. This is known as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Another type of hypotension can occur when a person stands for a prolonged periods of time. This is known as neutrally mediated hypotension.
- Blood flow to the heart and the brain declines with age, leading to an accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels.
If you don’t experience any of these symptoms or warning signs, it probably means that the situation is not to be concerned with. Most doctors consider the situation dangerous only when there is an occurrence of some of the most noticeable symptoms like:
- lack of concentration
- rapid, shallow breathing
- blurred vision
- dehydration and unusual thirst
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- cold, clammy, pale skin
- fainting (called syncope)
Low blood pressure can occur with:
- Severe infection (septic shock)
- Endocrine problems
- Prolonged bed rest
- Neurally mediated hypotension
- Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) — Symptoms here include itching, hives, breathing problems, a sudden fall in blood pressure and a swollen throat. This can sometimes have fatal consequences at people who are highly sensitive to certain drugs, like penicillin, some foods like peanuts or a wasp/bee stings
- Certain medications, like diuretics and other drugs that are prescribed as a treatment for hypertension, medications for Parkinson’s disease; antidepressants; heart medications like beta blockers; erectile dysfunction drugs in combination with nitroglycerin; alcohol and narcotics.
- Decreases in blood volume
- Nutritional deficiencies — Folic acid and B12 deficiency may lead to anemia and anemia symptoms, which in turn can lead to hypotension.
- Heart problems
High Blood Pressure Diet
Considering that almost 2/3 of the U.S populations suffers from hypertension or prehypertension, it is safe to say that it presents a very common and very serious health condition. One way of fighting hypertension or even preventing it is a healthy diet.
Here are some of the foods that you should avoid if you are experiencing some hypertension warning signs:
- Sugar — High sugar consumption equals high blood pressure. Studies have shown that sugar can be even more dangerous than salt when it comes to hypertension.
- Alcohol — If you are going to drink, drink in moderation. That means only one drink per day for women of all ages and men above 65. Men under 65 can have up to two drinks a day. If you are drinking more than this, you are narrowing your arteries and increasing the blood pressure.
- Trans fats and omega-6 fats — Theytrigger inflammation and increase blood pressure, can be most commonly found in packaged foods and meats.
- High-sodium foods — Avoid high-sodium processed and canned foods.
- Caffeine — Too much caffeine may increase blood pressure.It is recommended that you reduce the daily consumption of coffee and drinks that are rich in caffeine, in order to prevent caffeine overdose and hypertension.
Foods that help with high blood pressure:
- Omega-3 rich foods –wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, chia seeds and flaxseeds reduce inflammation.
- High-fiber foods — make a diet based on unprocessed foods rich in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, seeds and beans.
- Mediterranean diet —rich in seafood, fruits, vegetables, and healthy omega-3 fat oils, this diet is very helpful when fighting hypertension.
- Tea —as it significantly improves the function of the arteries and thins the blood. Several cups during the day will lower the blood pressure and prevent strokes.
- Dark chocolate — a dark chocolate that includes at least 200 milligrams of cocoa phenols, will provide a significant help with lowering the blood pressure.
- High-potassium foods —a diet high in potassium can play a crucial part for controlling the blood pressure as it alleviates the negative effects of sodium on the body. Melons, bananas, coconut water, and avocados are a few of the foods that are rich in potassium.
- Apple cider vinegar — naturally reduces blood pressure and alkalizes the body.
Supplements for high blood pressure:
- Magnesium– reduces blood pressure and relaxes the blood vessels. Start with a 500 milligrams dose, before bedtime.
- Coenzyme Q10–(or CoQ10) is an antioxidant which is crucial in case you take or have taken, blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering drugs. The recommended dosage is 200-300mg daily, in order to naturally reduce blood pressure.
- Fish Oil– Studies have shown that fish oil consumption, which is rich in EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 fatty acids, reduces the inflammation of the body. In order to naturally lower blood pressure, take 1,000-milligram fish oil daily.
- Garlic– It is a natural vasodilator, and if you can’t take enough in your diet, it is available as a supplement in a liquid form or a pill. It raises the amounts of nitric oxide in the blood and widens the blood vessels. A 2016 study showed that aged garlic lowers peripheral and central blood pressure in people with uncontrolled hypertension. It also helps with inflammation, arterial stiffness and other cardiovascular issues.
- Cocoa– The consumption of cocoa increases the amounts of flavonols, which lower the blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and the brain.
Natural ways to treat hypertension:
- Physical Activity and Exercise– Regular physical activity can help you lose excess weight and reduce the blood pressure. For optimal results, it is recommended to spend at least 20 minutes every day exercising, while adolescents and children should regularly go for and hour of physical activity daily.
- Essential Oils–Essential oils act as antioxidants and reduce emotional stress and dilate arteries and thus, lower the blood pressure. The best choices for blood pressure reducing essential oils include lavender, neroli, ylang-ylang, frankincense, clary sage and sweet marjoram. You can use the oils in a diffuser or add a few drops to your lotion and massage your body with the mixture.
- Reduce Stress– Another reason you need to reduce stress is its ability to raise the blood pressure. Don’t turn to alcohol or eating more to reduce stress, you need to practice some more natural relaxation methods like meditation, deep breathing, walks in nature, healing prayer and the like.
Risk Factors and root causes of hypertension
- Age — Hypertension risk increases with age. Men are likely to develop high blood pressure around the age of 45 while women most often develop it after 65.
- Family history — Hypertension tends to run in the family.
- Excessive weight — The higher the body weight, the more blood is required in order to provide nutrients and oxygen to the whole body. The pressure on the artery walls increases the volume of blood circulated through the blood vessels, thus increasing the blood pressure.
- Race —African-Americans generally develophypertension earlier than Caucasians. Also, they experience some serious complications like kidney failure, stroke, and heart attacks more often.
- Tobaccouse — The chemicals included in tobacco damage the lining of your artery walls, which leads to narrowing of the arteries and thus to hypertension. Hypertension can also be caused by secondhand smoke.
- Not being physically active — Physically inactive individuals are more prone to higher heart rates. Higher the heart rates mean more force is placed on the arteries and the heart needs to work harder with every contraction. Also, the lack of physical activity increases the risk of high obesity.
- Excessive alcoholuse— Heavy drinking damages the heart health. If you are drinking more than 2 drinks per day as a male or more than 1 drink as a female, you are heavily contributing to the development of hypertension.
- Potassium deficiency — Potassium balances the sodium levels in the cells, without which the sodium can buildup in the bloodstream.
- Stress — Stress can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure.
- Pregnancy — Sometimes, pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure.
- Certain chronic conditions — Certain chronic conditions including sleep apnea, diabetes and kidney disease can cause hypertension.
- Sodium-rich diet — Excessive amounts of sodium or salt in the diet leads to fluid retention which raises blood pressure.
While hypertension is prevalent in the adult population, children are also likely to experience high blood pressure. Hypertension at children is mostly linked with serious heart and kidney conditions but can also be a result of a poor lifestyle, physical inactivity or unhealthy diet.
Some final thoughts and conclusion
- Hypertension affects around 70 million adults in the United States. Moreover, 1 out of 3 adults who do not have itare in the state of prehypertension.
- 1 out of 5 adults in America who suffers from hypertension, as it can show no symptoms, are not even aware of having it.
- The risk of stroke, heart attack, chronic heart failure, metabolic syndrome, memory issues and aneurysm, and eye problems is seriously increased when you are suffering from hypertension.
- Systolic blood pressure is when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic blood pressure is when the heart rests between beats.
- Frequently, hypertension doesn’t sow any symptoms but some frequent warning signs are vision blurs, nosebleeds, chest pains, headaches, confusion, ear noise or buzzing, tiredness, or irregular heartbeat.
- Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, trans fats and omega-6 fats, high-sodium foods in order to reduce the risk of hypertension. On the other hand, consume high-potassium foods, omega-3 foods, high-fiber foods, dark chocolate, tea, and apple cider vinegar or do a Mediterranean diet in order to prevent hypertension. If your lifestyle prevents you from maintaining a proper diet, use supplements that can help you a lot in the treatment of hypertension.
Read The Full Original Article Here: Early Warning Signs Your Blood Pressure is Dangerously High (1 in 5 don’t know they have it!)
Other included sources linked in Family Life Goal’s article: draxe.com — Original Article SourceTop of Form