Information on high blood pressure on the Internet is widely available, however it can be rather reader unfriendly and not really explain why hypertension occurs and is also unlikely to give information on natural methods to regain control over elevated blood pressure.
The number of people being diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) each year is on the increase. It is believed that about one in three people in the United States have elevated blood pressure levels and that of this third, a third of them are undiagnosed.
One of the main reasons for the increase of essential hypertension (hypertension with no medical cause) is being blamed on the lifestyle choices that are being made, including:
- Diets that are high in sodium/ salt, high in fat, and consisting of a lot of processed foods
- Sedentary lifestyles, and jobs that do not require physical exertion
- Poor lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive alcohol intake and taking recreational drugs
- Being overweight/ obese
It is believed that as more countries embrace the “westernized" way of living, the number of people with hypertension will increase to an amazing 1.56 billion by the year 2025.
High blood pressure has been coined the “silent killer" as in most cases there are no symptoms, or the symptoms are mild and are not associated with high blood pressure. It is only when the condition becomes severe that symptoms generally start to show, and at this stage the condition can become imminently life threatening.
It's a condition that people can have it for years, and the complications may not appear for a long time, but the longer a person has hypertension and the higher the blood pressure is, the greater the risk of complications like a stroke, kidney problems and heart attacks.
When blood pressure is measured there are two readings, the systolic and the diastolic. These indicate the blood pressure when the heart contracts (the highest blood pressure reading) and when it relaxes (the lowest blood pressure reading). Both these readings are important, and although usually they elevate together in most cases, if only one of them is abnormal there may be cause for concern.
A blood pressure reading is usually shown as one number above the other with the higher systolic figure being shown above the lower diastolic figure.
The readings are usually measured in mmHg, which means millimetres of Mercury (Hg is the chemical symbol for Mercury). This comes from the way that blood pressure can be measured using mercury filed tubes that rise and fall dependent upon a persons blood pressure.
Diagnosing hypertension is relatively easy, although unless the readings are a concern it is likely that more than one reading will be taken to get a baseline reading. This is to account for some of the many things that can impact on blood pressure levels, including coffee and tea, physical activity and anxiety, including the well known “white coat" anxiety.
If a person is found to be pre-hypertensive, or hypertensive, then a doctor will normally identify a treatment plan. This may involve a number of lifestyle changes and dietary changes, and dependent upon the severity of the condition, there may be the need for medication to lower blood pressure levels as soon as possible.
For long term reduction, a person will need to adopt certain lifestyle changes and remove or reduce some of the factors that have been proved to increase the chances of increasing blood pressure.
The importance of making these changes cannot be overstated, as they will significantly reduce the risk of recurrence of the condition.
Changes that should be made include:
- Changes to diet, reducing the levels of foods that contain salt or sodium
- Reduction in fat and processed foods from the diet
- Increasing the volume of fresh vegetables and fruit in the diet
- Follow a regular exercise regime
- Stop smoking, and reduce or stop alcohol consumption
- Go on a diet to lose weight.
This list may look daunting, but there are resources that can help you find the information on high blood pressure that you need. See below for more information.
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