What is blood pressure?
High blood pressure (hypertension) is considered one of the cardiac disorders most frequently in the world population. It represents one of the most important risk factors for the heart.
Blood pressure is the measure of the force with which blood can circulate through the arteries. If it is too high, it can involve suffering from strokes and heart disease, among other complications. It’s considered a “silent killer” because almost never produces symptoms.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and the corresponding values are shown in fractions: systolic pressure on diastolic pressure. For example: 120/80 mm Hg or “120 over 80”.
• The systolic pressure is the first number, and is the largest: 120 in the previous example. This is the pressure of the arteries when the heart pumps.
• The diastolic pressure is the lower number: 80 in the example. This is the pressure that exists between the beating of the heart.
Blood pressure can vary throughout the day, depending on your activity level. Blood pressure is usually lower when you sleep and tends to rise when you exercise.
When is it “high”?
The diagnosis of hypertension (high blood pressure) is official after a doctor has taken your blood pressure regularly during your checkups.
Your doctor will tell you how often you should measure it. Regularly, high blood pressure is diagnosed after recording two or more consecutive measurements with high values.
Blood pressure is classified as follows:
1. A high level of one of the two previous numbers (diastolic or systolic pressure) is enough to diagnose a high blood pressure.
2. The higher is the blood pressure measurement, the more likely there are complications, such as heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and kidney disease.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
High blood pressure usually doesn’t cause symptoms. When the symptoms show it’s because the pressure is already at a very high level and therefore the patient must pay more attention, since we have a culture where medical consultations for review are not usual, but we consult the doctor when the discomforts are already present.
Usually high blood pressure is accidentally diagnosed when the person’s life is at risk.
Discomforts of high blood pressure:
Sometimes people with very high blood pressure develop certain symptoms, which could be:
• Facial redness.
• Chest pain.
• Nausea and vomiting.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
On an average of 94% of the cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown. This type of high blood pressure is called “essential hypertension”.
When the cause is known, we usually divide it into the following factors:
• Secondary hypertension is caused by a disease, either kidney or adrenal gland problems.
• Pregnancy-related hypertension is high blood pressure developed during pregnancy.
Treatments for hypertension (high blood pressure)
The treatment is defined by your doctor since he must evaluate the risk factors that may arise in the routine of your daily life.
Treatment usually begins with several changes that can be made to prevent the pressure increase and thus reduce the risk of heart disease.
Even if you need to take medications, making some changes in your lifestyle can help you to reduce the amount of medications you should take.
Changes in lifestyle include:
• Maintain or achieve a healthy weight. Fight overweight.
• Follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Consumption of foods that contain high saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol is restricted.
• Limit the consumption of salt (sodium). Ingest less than 2.400 mg of salt per day.
• Begin physical activity with the prior approval of a physician.
• Limit alcohol consumption. Limit intake of daily alcoholic beverages.
• Give up smoking.
• Avoid stress. People who are under stress experience an increase in their blood pressure. Relax, meditate, breathe slowly and deeply.
Even if you make all this changes in your lifestyle, it may not be enough to control high blood pressure. In most cases, more than one drug are needed to control it.
We must remember that the goal of the treatment is to reduce blood pressure to normal levels with few drugs that are easy to take, so we should be aware about the fact that this disease is not cured, only controlled. If a drug is prescribed, it must be taken for the rest of your life.
Your doctor will indicate the medication and dose according to the level of illness and according to your lifestyle. It’s common that more than one drug is prescribed to control blood pressure.
It’s important not to stop the medication without first talking to the doctor as this puts your life in danger because it increases the risk of having a stroke or a heart attack.
Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure or Hypertension
We list some of the home remedies that are used as an alternative or supplement to help reduce blood pressure.
Many of them have been scientifically proven, it’s recommended to consult with the doctor to confirm if they can be an alternative for your condition.
1. Lemon juice and parsley
A smoothie or juice with lemon and parsley produces diuretic effects that help to eliminate fluid retention. In this way it’s possible to remove substances that can raise blood pressure through the urine. It’s recommended to drink a glass of lemon juice a day (squeeze the juice of a lemon in a glass with warm water) and add a little parsley.
Many experts recommend the consumption of garlic as a natural treatment for high blood pressure, and it also is effective to lower cholesterol.
The properties of garlic provide benefits in the dilation of the arteries while helping to prevent the formation of thrombi.
It can be consumed in tablets (tablets of garlic), we can incorporate it into our diet or we can take a clove of clean garlic and let it rest 6 or 8 hours in a glass of water. You can leave it prepared while you sleep and take it in the morning, for example.
Oats are very rich in soluble fiber, which according to various studies indicate that their consumption (oat cereals) can reduce the level of bad cholesterol by 5%. This type of cholesterol influences hypertension, so taking oat cereal (preferably at breakfast) can be very effective to fight high blood pressure.
4. Black chocolate
According to studies, dark chocolate has compounds (flavonoids) which provide benefits to good heart health and lower blood pressure.
Therefore, some specialists recommend taking a small dose, but it must be dark chocolate because the milk doesn’t provide the same effects.
5. Olive oil
Some research indicates that olive oil, among other properties, helps to regulate blood pressure. This healthy fat is made up of three thousand different components, where many of them are unknown. Among some of its outstanding properties we can find that it helps to prevent the cells oxidation, to regulate and control diabetes and to reduce bad cholesterol.
So you already know, you must incorporate olive oil into your diet (Mediterranean diet) and take care of your health.