Hypertension is one of the major health problems affecting many people around the world. Over recent years the incidence of this condition has increased significantly. But the good thing is that this problem can be managed. However, knowledge of crucial facts about this health concern is vital if you want to achieve the best results out of your fight with hypertension. Here we share with you some brief but insightful highlights of disease. Most importantly we look at the available modes of treatment and highlight the role that dietary supplements can play in your fight against hypertension.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is a different name for high blood pressure. What does this mean? The heart pumps blood to other parts of the body. This blood is transported by the blood vessels the same way water is transported by water pipes from the pump to the intended destination. The blood exerts some normal pressure on the vessels. However, due to some reasons, as highlighted below, this pressure can exceed normal levels. When this happens one is said to have hypertension or high blood pressure.
How is blood pressure measured? Understanding this is vital if you want to know the meaning of the readings you get once your blood pressure is measured. Simply, the readings you get are always in pairs as a fraction. Without going to the medical technicalities of these readings let’s just assert that your blood pressure is normal when the readings show a pressure of 120 over 80. But if the reading is higher than 130 over 80 your blood pressure is high, in short, you have hypertension. This means the walls of your arteries are constantly under too much pressure or force.
The Reasons Behind Hypertension
Causes of high blood pressure can be divided into two categories:
- Primary/ Essential high blood pressure, in this category the actual cause of the hypertension is unknown.
- Secondary high blood pressure is when a different health problem is the cause of high blood pressure. Some of the risk factors causing hypertension include the following
- Ethnic background
- Family background/genetic reasons
- Physical inactivity/ Lack of exercise
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Poor diet
- Salt-rich diet (it’s associated with fatty and processed foods)
- High cholesterol diet
- Sleep Apnea
What are some of the telltale signs that you have hypertension? A majority of people with hypertension experience no symptoms. That’s why it’s often called the “silent killer”. However once the blood pressure shoots to about 180 over 120 millimeters of mercury, it becomes a serious hypertensive crisis. At this level, your blood pressure becomes a medical emergency. Some of the symptoms at this point include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Nose bleeds
- Heart palpitations
These symptoms call for immediate attention from a doctor.
Do Anxiety Disorders Cause Hypertension?
Granted, people with anxiety disorders often have excessive, intense, and persistent fear and worry about everyday situations. There many types of anxiety disorders. These include generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety, and social anxiety. Anxiety disorder symptoms include:
- A sense of panic or impending danger
- Feeling nervous, tense, or restless
- An increased heart rate
- Feeling tired or weak
- Rapid breathing
- Trouble sleeping
Medical evidence suggests that anxiety doesn’t necessarily cause long-term hypertension. However, episodes of anxiety can lead to dramatic, temporary spikes in your BP. In case the spikes become a daily occurrence they can lead to chronic high blood pressure and can damage your heart, kidneys, and other organs. Treating anxiety disorders is a key ingredient in the fight against HBP.
The Effects of Hypertension on Different Parts of Your Body
Hypertension has far-reaching implications on all the major systems in your body as highlighted in below.
Effect on the Circulatory System
High blood pressure damages the walls of your arteries causing the walls of your arteries to tear. Bad cholesterol which flows in the blood starts to attach itself on the torn parts of your arteries. This buildup of bad cholesterol narrows the affected arteries and lets less blood to flow through the arteries. This, in turn, means the target organ or tissue where the blood is flowing to receives less blood than it should, with what results? You experience, irregular heartbeats, chest pain, or at worst get a heart attack.
Restricted arteries mean the heart has to work harder to pump blood to other parts of the body. This can lead to enlargement of the left ventricle and puts you at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
Heart failure is another possible effect of HBP. How? When the heart becomes so damaged or weak that it finally gives up on pumping blood throughout your body the result is heart failure.
When HBP causes a bulge to form in the damaged artery the condition is referred to as an aneurysm. This bulge can get bigger and bigger and is largely undetectable until it causes pain on another area or it ultimately bursts. A rupture of this bulge can be fatal depending on which of your major arteries is involved.
Reduced supply of blood to the brain causes dementia or thinking and memory problems. Besides, when the blockage of the arteries occurs in the brain it’s called a stroke. Here, the affected brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
As earlier mentioned, damaged and blocked arteries can be in any part of your body. If it happens in your lungs it’s called pulmonary embolism. On the same note, when blood pressure affects the arteries in your lungs and heart it called pulmonary hypertension. This is a serious condition and merits immediate medical attention. On the same note, an aneurysm, mentioned earlier, can also occur in your lungs with equally devastating outcomes.
When hypertension causes blockages to the arteries leading to the reproductive organs, sexual dysfunction can occur. This applies to both men and women.
Hypertension can lead to bone loss or osteoporosis. How? HBP increases the amount of calcium eliminated by your body through urine. This means your body gets less calcium than it needs to sustain a healthy bone mass.
Your kidney is responsible for removing waste from your blood, regulating blood pressure and volume, and filtering waste out through urine. For this to happen effectively your kidneys must healthy blood vessels.
Hypertension can wreak havoc on the larger blood vessels serving your kidneys with blood as well as the tinier vessels inside the kidneys. This damage can finally prevent your kidneys from working as they should.
This is a kidney disease that can lead to kidney failure which can only be treated through dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Supplements to Fight Hypertension
Remember, we noted poor diet – especially a low potassium diet and a salt-rich diet are some of the risk factors that can cause hypertension. With this in mind, you might be wondering whether you can use natural supplements to help fight hypertension. The good news is yes you can use some natural supplements along with medication to improve your blood pressure. In fact, with your doctor’s advice, you can use these supplements to finally avoid taking HBP medications altogether. What are some of these natural supplements that you can use to achieve this objective?
Natural supplements rich in the following elements and substances can help you in your fight against High Blood Pressure:
This element helps negate the effects that sodium has on blood pressure. Authority sources in the field of medicine such as the American Heart Association support the view that potassium supplements can help patients lower their pressure.
CoQ10 or Ubiquinone is an antioxidant that enables your cells to produce energy. Clinical trials prove that this supplement is effective in lowering hypertension.
You can lower your blood pressure using fiber supplements. Reasonably high fiber intake could prevent or lower hypertension. One can also add more fiber to his or her diet by increasing the intake of fresh fruits and green, leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin D
Lower levels of Vitamin D have been associated with HBP. You can use Vitamin D supplements to enrich your intake of this vitamin. You can also spend some reasonable time outside in the sun to absorb this vitamin through your skin.
- Folic acid
This natural supplement can be beneficial especially to pregnant mothers. Clinical studies indicate this supplement can reduce the risk of HBP during pregnancy. The supplement is equally useful to men with high blood pressure.
Garlic can enhance the way the body circulates. Studies confirm that garlic lowered blood pressure in clinical trials.
Omega-3s from fish oil or flaxseed supplements
These fatty acids found in fish, seafood, and flaxseed help the body improve the cardiovascular tone. Studies strongly support the view that these fatty acids can be your effective partners in the fight against hypertension. These are not the only natural supplements that can help you fight hypertension. Others include:
- French maritime back extract
- Magnesium among others
Hypertension is a global health problem afflicting millions around the world. In terms of causes, this disease can be categorized into two classes: primary HBP and secondary HBP. The first is when the cause cannot be established while the second is when the disease is the result of another health condition.
Natural supplements as well as staying active by doing regular exercises can be an effective way to help you in the fight against hypertension. With the advice of your doctor, you can use these supplements either with medication or to finally stop using the medication in your fight against high blood pressure.
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