Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is typically diagnosed as present in those at or above 140/90mmHg. Blood pressure readings include two measurements—diastolic and systolic. Systolic (top measurement) is the measurement when the heart muscle is contracted and diastolic (bottom measurement) is the measurement of the heart at rest—between beats. A normal blood pressure range is 100-140mmHg systolic and 60-90mmHg diastolic.
Hypertension is tough on the heart muscle and can lead to heart and coronary artery disease. Hypertension can be a contributing factor in strokes, aneurisms, peripheral artery disease and in chronic kidney disease.
Hypertension is known as a silent killer, because seldom are there overt symptoms. Some may experience dizzy spells and/or dull headaches. Often these symptoms are dismissed as stress headaches or being sleep deprived. The only way to know for sure is with regular blood pressure readings.
- Age – the risk of hypertension increases as we age.
- Family History – tends to run in families.
- Being Overweight or Obese
- No Exercise – usually associated with higher heart rates.
- Use of Tobacco products – secondhand smoke can also raise your blood pressure.
- Too Much Salt (sodium) in Your Diet – retention of fluids increases blood pressure.
- Not Enough Potassium – helps to balance sodium in your cells.
- Insufficient Vitamin D – may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure.
- Too Much Alcohol – more than two drinks per day can raise your blood pressure.
- Stress – this can be combined with overindulging in food, alcohol and tobacco.
- Sleep Apnea
Making lifestyle and dietary changes can dramatically lower your blood pressure—especially if consistent. There are several beneficial foods and nutrients that can also help:
- Water – half your body weight and drink that amount of water in ounces.
- Example: a 150 lb. person should try to drink 75 ounces of water per day.
- Cod Liver Oil – is a potent anti-inflammatory that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease hypertension by driving the body to produce anti-inflammatory mediators.
- Avoid Inflammatory Foods – including those made from refined flours, poor oils (e.g. soybean, corn, sunflower or safflower), corn products and grain-fed meat and eggs.
- Cooked Celery (not raw) – is known as a safe and effective treatment for hypertension.
- Epsom Salt – is high in magnesium. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath allows the body to absorb magnesium through the skin.
See Your Natural Doctor
A good first step to improving your health is to partner with your natural doctor. You won’t know if you have hypertension without being tested. Developing a plan to address high blood pressure can begin with small changes and follow-up testing.