About Hypertension: Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
120/80 mm Hg is the normal BP level for adults.
Of these, the upper digit indicates systolic pressure, which is the amount of pressure your arteries experience when the heart pumps blood.
And the lower digit indicates the diastolic pressure, which is the blood pressure readings between two heart beats.
However, this value may fluctuate due to certain health factors like anxiety, pregnancy, heavy workout, sports etc.
But when your average blood pressure measures above 120/80 mm Hg, you are said to have hypertension or htn.
High blood pressure levels can also have further scales, namely:
Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139/80-89 mm Hg is the usual range. Changes in diet and lifestyle can help. Only mild medicines are needed to bring it down to the good blood pressure range.
Stage 2 hypertension: Systolic is 140 mm Hg or diastolic is 90 mm Hg. Can be controlled with long-term medications.
Hypertensive crisis: Reading reaches 180/120 mm Hg. Requires immediate medical attention to lower blood pressure. Can prove fatal.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension doesn’t develop in a day or month. In most cases, a long time can elapse before healthy blood pressure rises up enough to produce symptoms. You may experience only a few of the signs at one time. So, it is best to consult your physician if you notice any of the following high BP symptoms:
Dizziness: May begin as flushes of heat around the head, cheeks or limbs. It is not a direct result of high BP. Disorientation, blur vision or lightheadedness could indicate BP-induced stroke.
Pain and Headache: You may experience a pounding feeling in the chest or head, which persists for several minutes. Often triggered by overworking or heavy duty physical activity.
Fatigue: Gushing blood creates a tension on body muscles, reducing their ability to perform physical exercises. Triggers like overexposure to sun, mental strain etc. may further lead to nosebleeds.
Shortness of Breath: Usually followed by a constricting pain in the chest. Occurs after performing physical activity. Indicative of decreased heart health.
Nausea and Vomiting: Critical signs of high blood pressure. Require immediate medical attention.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is essentially a lifestyle disorder that develops due to poor dietary or living practices. But certain factors like family history, hormonal disturbances, metabolic disorders etc. can increase the risk. In general, these are the most common reasons for high blood pressure:
Poor physical health: Lack of appropriate nutrients and electrolytes in your diet can take a toll on your heart’s blood pumping rate.
Obesity: High cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood can narrow the arteries. High fats also slow down the metabolic rate. Both of these situations increase blood pressure.
Ageing: Over time, the blood vessels and heart muscles can lose their flexibility, making you susceptible to develop high BP.
Genes: Most common cause of high diastolic blood pressure. Your chances of developing this disorder double up if any of your parents has suffered from it.
Endocrine or adrenal disorders: Tumours, cancer or cellular damage in the gland(s) can disrupt the hormonal balance, thereby stimulating faster heart beats.
Kidney or Heart Disease: They can cause secondary hypertension. It may develop within a short span of time, with no permanent cure.
Substance Abuse: Nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and recreational drugs stimulate the Central Nervous System (CNS). They disturb the natural beating rhythm of the heart.
Treatment of High Blood Pressure
Currently, there is no sure shot cure for hypertension, but you can eliminate its triggering factors to prevent sudden shoot ups.
Controlled diet: Consuming less salts, high natural fibre and adequate food vitamins can reverse the arterial damage. They also help to balance blood fat levels.
Lifestyle changes: 30 minutes of light physical exercise like walking, Yoga etc. can help to normalize the heart functions. They’re highly recommended to both primary and secondary hypertension patients.
Chemical medications: You may need to consume them for a long time. They relax the arteries, reduce heart pumping speed or regulate electrolyte balance to maintain BP levels.
Indirect treatment: If your hypertension is linked with other chronic disorders, treatment of the latter can control it efficiently.
Ayurvedic remedies: Safest and dependency-free means to curb high BP. They use natural herbs to maintain the blood circulation rate. Can effectively prevent hypertension-related complications.
What Diet Plan You Have to Follow to Avoid the Risk of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
Veggies and fruits: Increase intake of Potassium, fibre and Magnesium rich items, like bananas, beets, leafy greens, carrots, green beans, peas, mangoes, citrus fruits, berries and tomatoes.
Whole grains: Prefer oatmeal, barley and millet to refined sugars. Start with your breakfast bread and go all the way to dinner desserts.
Low-fat dairy: Mayonnaise and butter can wreck your high blood pressure diet in a spoonful. Replace them with cheese, light milk or yoghurt.
Nuts and seeds: They are essential ingredients of the diet to lower blood pressure. Apricots, dates and raisins can curb hunger pangs, clear arteries and supplement your mineral needs.
Healthy fats: Bite into avocados, dark chocolate, fatty fish and coconut whenever you can. They help to normalize the blood circulation process.
What are the Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure?
Basil: Contains eugenol that relaxes the arterial walls to allow efficient blood circulation. Sip it up as tea or a decoction to keep a check on your BP levels as you work and sleep!
Ajwain: Take this condiment with some water, honey or salt to prepare your own home remedies to lower blood pressure after meals.
Garlic: Eat up the cloves directly or cook them in your food - either ways they can cut down blood fats, regulate blood pressure and strengthen heart muscles.
Cinnamon: One of the tastiest natural ways to lower blood pressure is to make a Cinnamon-honey tea. It shows positive effects on heart and kidney health too!
Ginger: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory agents, Ginger can help you to control cholesterol and BP levels together. You can take it as spice, supplement or soothing drink!
Cardamom: Has strong antioxidants and diuretics that prevent fluctuations in blood pressure. It’s a great digestive stimulant as well. Don’t shy away from putting it in your recipes and teas!
Effects of Hypertension in our body
Untreated hypertension can take numerous nasty faces in the future. With constant wear and tear, the body tissues lose their natural elasticity. This may surface as poor metabolism, brain disorders, or even, heart failure. Other severe side effects of high blood pressure include:
Poor cognitive ability: Long term damage can increase death rate of brain cells, increasing risks of dementia, aneurysm, sleep apnea and mood disorders.
Artery damage:Hardening of arteries is one of the most common effects of high blood pressure. It can lead to bursting of arterial walls and haemorrhage.
Reproductive issues: High BP patients may experience low libido. Men may develop erectile dysfunction, while women may observe excess vaginal dryness.
Low bone density: Body starts shedding Calcium deposits from bones and joints to control BP levels. Eventually, it can take the form of osteoporosis, arthritis or brittle bones.
How to prevent high blood pressure?
Unfriend sugar and salt: Most impactful enemies to normal blood pressure for adults. You can replace them with healthier alternatives like honey, rock salt etc.
Maintain healthy weight: Follow the DASH diet, run up the stairs or become choosy about your carbs - pick any trick that works to keep in shape. After all, losing fat also helps to decrease blood pressure.
Shun Alcohol and smoking: Don’t just think about it - simply quit it! If not for their toxins, nicotine is best avoided to keep up the metabolic rate. It can easily wash away your workouts!
Be strict about sleep: Following a regular sleep-wake cycle is essential to rest and rejuvenate your body tissues. It also helps with channelizing hormone flow.
Practice emotional wellness: Plan your day by the hour to prevent undue stress or anxiety. Keep out time for following your hobbies.
Meditation: This is one of ways to lower blood pressure that you can practice anytime, anywhere. Try it out for 10 minutes when you feel anxious, angry, irritable or simply lazy!
Top 5 Natural Ingredients that can help to reduce the risk of Hypertension
Ashwagandha: It reaches the top of every list of herbs for high blood pressure thanks to its potent antioxidants. It can ease stress, reinstate bone strength and stimulate gut activity.
Arjuna: Take this herb for emergency treatment for high blood pressure at home. Arjuna protects the soft tissues and normalizes the heart functions. Drink it up daily with your herbal tea!
Triphala: You can consume these tablets/powder in the morning to get a BP-shield for the entire day. It also clears the arterial blockages and assists in weight loss.
Amla: One of the tartest blood pressure medicines in Ayurveda. Improves both heart and kidney health.
Brahmi: Potent herb for high blood pressure treatment at home. Works for both high systolic and diastolic pressure. Improves overall sense of well-being by improving brain, heart and gut function.
How can I lower my blood pressure immediately?
Lemon water: Mix some drops of lemon in a glass of water and sip it slowly. Its Vitamin C helps to reduce tension on arteries.
Dark chocolate: Take a brick or two and dissolve it slowly in your mouth. Do not chew directly. Make sure to pick a brand with 70% cocoa content.
Banana smoothie: The high potassium content of Banana makes it a healthy fruit for hypertensive people. Add some low-fat milk to it for increasing the end benefits.
Lie down or sleep: Ease your body by laying on a soft surface. Prefer to wear loose clothing that does not interfere with breathing.
Stop, Sit, Breathe: Stress and anxiety are instant triggers for blood pressure. Take some minutes to ease your brain and calm down the nerves.
What can I eat to lower my blood pressure immediately?
Citrus fruits: Eat the fruit directly or simply drink some juice. They have a strong rejuvenating effect on the entire blood circulation system.
Pumpkin seeds: Contains magnesium, potassium, and arginine - each of which reduce BP levels. Just a handful is enough to ease your worries!
Berries: Their anthocyanins relax the artery walls to increase their diameter. This in turn drops the blood pressure gradually.
Carrot or celery: Contain strong anti-inflammatory agents that ease blood flow. Top them up with some tomato to make your instant BP-controlling salad!
Greek yoghurt: Rich in rare minerals like Potassium and Calcium that slow down the blood pressure rate. It is also a tastier alternative to unhealthy snacks.
What should I do if my blood pressure is 160 over 100?
Blood pressure readings can fluctuate depending upon the time of observation, your medical condition and diet.
But if more than 3 BP readings taken at different times fall close to 160/100 mm HG, it could be a sign of Stage 2 hypertension.
Consult your physician at the earliest to find your treatment options.
Will drinking lots of water lower blood pressure?
Water is the simplest drink to reduce blood pressure.
It helps to balance the electrolyte concentration in the blood, thereby allowing for better circulation.
Mineral rich water flushes out toxins from internal organs as well.
This may protect the kidneys, heart and brain from further damage.
But some studies have indicated that gulping down large amounts of water in one seating can produce counterproductive effects.
It is best to drink water in small amounts throughout the day.
What foods are bad for high blood pressure?
Animal proteins: Seasoned chicken, red meat or other such items contain high amounts of sodium and trans-fat.
Fast food: Pizzas, burgers, fries etc. are dimensionally opposite to healthy eating. A single meal is enough to wreck your BP for the entire day!
Pickles: Don’t go on the tastes of this one! The preservatives and salt added to pickles can shoot-up your BP within minutes. They may gradually push up your average BP readings.
Sweet foods: Anything containing refined sugars is a NO-go! Because they not only put you at the brink of obesity, but also disturb gut function and weaken artery walls.
Does depression cause high blood pressure?
Depression is a chronic psychological disorder that leads to hormonal and metabolic disturbances.
As a result, it can affect the blood flow rate, increasing it as high as 150/90 mm Hg.
Depression has also been linked with higher chances of stroke, organ failure and anxiety.
In most cases, depression and hypertension are diagnosed simultaneously.
What are the best exercises for lowering high blood pressure?
10-min walk: Stroll over the roof of your house, garden or office corridor - pick any spot of your choosing. Take these walks three times per day for better results.
Cycling: Bring out that old bicycle and take it out for a morning sightseeing. 30 minutes of cycling is proven to cut down BP spikes by 50%!
Hiking: It might seem like a physically demanding task, but hiking on a green mountain can give your lungs, brain and heart a necessary relaxation. It also brings down BP readings by 10 points!
Treadmill: If you’re too shy to step out of home, take out 30 minutes to walk on your treadmill in the morning. Keep it near the window for a better view!
Swimming: It is a full body exercise that tones the muscles and improves the efficiency of the heart to pump blood. It majorly impacts the systolic pressure.
Is high blood pressure reversible?
No. Hypertension is a non-curable disorder that requires life-long management.
But proper treatment can curb its side effects like kidney dysfunction, poor memory, fatigue etc.
A balanced diet and active lifestyle can go a long way to prevent gradual increase in BP readings.
Elderly hypertensive patients are best advised to consume herbal supplements like Ginger, Aloe Vera, Gotu Kola etc.
They can actively prevent the complications caused by high BP and strengthen the soft tissues.
Can people with high blood pressure donate blood?
Definitely! Blood pressure does not affect your donor eligibility.
You can go ahead with the procedure if your blood pressure reading is less than 180/100 mm Hg at the time of collection.
However, you may have to reconsider if you're suffering with BP-related complications like poor kidney health.
Is Hypertension considered a heart disease?
No. High blood pressure is not a cardiovascular disorder.
But untreated hypertension can meddle with the heart functions, making it weaker with time.
As the arterial walls get thicker in size, the blood flow volume reduces drastically.
This may predispose you to ischemic heart disease, where the heart chambers do not receive enough blood to pump in every beat.
Over time, it may surface as a sudden stroke, heart failure or cardiac arrest.
Can smoking cause high blood pressure?
Cigarettes contain a natural stimulant called tobacco.
It can shoot up your blood pressure levels instantly by exciting the nervous system.
Also, its toxins seep deep into the tissues and damage the blood vessel walls.
With prolonged use, smoking can thicken and harden the arteries, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood.
All these conditions manifest as high blood pressure.
What is the normal blood pressure for pregnant women?
Pregnancy is a physically demanding condition.
It is natural to observe fluctuations in your BP readings during this time.
Ideally, a pregnant woman’s BP falls in the range of 120-135/80-90 mm Hg.
A reading above 140/90 mm Hg is considered an alarming sign.
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