Hypertension or high blood pressure is quite common but not something that can be ignored or taken casually. According to WHO, in 2015, 1 out of 4 men and 1 out of 5 women worldwide suffered from this medical condition. WHO also states that it is one of the top causes of premature death worldwide.High blood pressure may lead to heart disease, stroke, aneurysm etc.
You can’t cure high blood pressure! But you can definitely manage it. Prolonged regular intake of allopathic medication for hypertension may lead to side-effects. To avoid that, Ayurvedic treatment for high blood pressure can be sought! If you want to go for Ayurvedic treatment for hypertension, you can trust Naturoveda Health World. Years of expertise in ancient medical sciences like Ayurveda, Unani and Yoga enables us to deliver you the best natural remedies for high pressure.
What is Blood Pressure?
The heart pumps blood that circulates all over the body. Blood pressure is the pressure that the flowing blood exerts against the walls of the blood vessels against the resistance from the blood vessels themselves. The narrower the arteries the harder the heart needs to pump blood. More resistance means that the heart has to work harder to pump the blood. This makes hypertension a primary risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
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Some common factors that lead to hypertension are being overweight or obese, smoking, excessive alcohol intake and family history.
How is Blood Pressure Measured?
Blood pressure is measured by the sphygmomanometer. A blood pressure reading appears in the form of two numbers. The reading is given in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). The one on top is called systolic pressure which refers to the force in the arteries when the heart beats and the one below is called diastolic pressure and it refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between two beats. This is when the heart fills with blood which infuses with oxygen. A healthy adult will have a blood pressure of 120/80 or a little less.
What May be Considered as Too High?
Anything above the 130/80 mark is a reason for concern especially when two successive readings over a period of time show high blood pressure. A systolic reading of 140 or more is considered as Stage II hypertension and that of 180 or more needs immediate medical attention. A diastolic reading of 90 or more is considered Stage II hypertension and that of 120 or more needs immediate medical attention and is considered as hypertensive crisis.
In most cases, if you take a reading after some rigorous activity like delivering a speech or exercising, the blood pressure will probably be on the higher side. But this is quite natural and not a reason for worry. A reading for diagnosis should only be taken while the body and mind are calm and at rest.
Hypertension leads to an overworked heart. It is often termed as the “silent killer” as it is the precursor of heart disease and in most cases, does not show any symptom. Uncontrolled hypertension may also lead to damaged eyes, kidneys and brain.
Stages of Hypertension
Healthy–People with blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg and less.
Elevated – Patients with systolic reading of 120-129 mm Hg and the diastolic reading of 80 mm Hg or less. Medication is not required in this case. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can manage the problem.
Stage I Hypertension – Systolic reading of 130-139 mm Hg and diastolic reading of 80-89 mm Hg
Stage II Hypertension–Systolic reading of 140 mm Hg or higher and diastolic reading of 90 mm Hg or higher.
Hypertensive Crisis – Systolic reading of 180 mm Hg and higher and diastolic reading of 120 mm Hg or higher. This condition needs urgent and immediate medical attention and symptoms that accompany the condition are visual changes, shortness of breath, chest pain and headache.
What is Prehypertension?
Prehypertension is a medical condition that is often the precursor of hypertension. If your blood pressure is a little bit higher than 120/80, you might fall under this category. This condition may also increase the risk of heart, kidney or brain damage and if not controlled may lead to heart attack, kidney failure, stroke. It may be considered as a warning sign of high blood pressure in the future. Doctors are of the opinion that a 20-point jump in systolic pressure or a 10-point jump in diastolic pressure is enough to give rise to serious issues with the heart.
Who is at Risk of Prehypertension?
It is a myth today that only aged people are at a risk of developing high blood pressure. Due to the sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits of the times, anyone above the age of 18 is at a risk of prehypertension or even hypertension.
What is Malignant Hypertension?
It is a medical emergency in which very critically ill patients suffer from very high blood pressure. This condition requires treatment in the emergency room. Symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, vision issues, severe headache, weakness etc are seen.
What are Primary and Secondary Hypertension?
When a patient suffers from high blood pressure which is not due to any underlying disease, doctors call the condition essential or primary hypertension.
When a direct cause behind hypertension is identified in the patient, medically the condition is called secondary hypertension.
Pregnancy and High Blood Pressure – Preeclampsia
Though women suffering from hypertension can experience healthy pregnancies and delivery, they are likely to develop complications. One such condition is preeclampsia. This condition causes complications with the kidneys. Other issues might arise such as high level of protein in the urine, liver function issues, vision related problems and fluid in the lungs. Some other delivery related complications that may arise are pre-mature birth, low birth weight etc.
Some women may develop hypertension during pregnancy. Though the condition reverses itself after delivery, there still remains a chance that the mother may develop high blood pressure later on in life.
It is of utmost importance to give immediate medical attention to this condition. Hypertension treatment is not a complicated issue! You will be asked to take simple medication and undergo lifestyle changes. Even Ayurvedic treatment for hypertension is readily available. If you want to control high blood pressure the natural way, you can trust Naturoveda Health World.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension is often termed as the “silent killer”, meaning in most cases, patients do not experience any symptom and remaining undetected, it damages the heart, the blood vessels or kidneys. Most people experience no symptoms at all. In rare instances, patients may experience –
- Sleeping problems
- Morning headaches
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Buzzing in the ears
Symptoms in case of Hypertensive Crisis or Severe Hypertension –
- Visual changes
- Nose Bleeds
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Muscle tremors
When to See a Doctor
In most cases, symptoms of hypertension do not appear! That is why, if you have a family history of high blood pressure or you lead a sedentary life or if you are overweight or suffer from any other risk factor, it is better to get your blood pressure checked from time to time.
During general health check-ups with the doctor, a patient’s blood pressure is always checked. If you are 18 years or older and have risk factors for the disease, it is better to get your blood pressure checked every few months.
Causes of Hypertension
Several factors have been identified by doctors and researches that may lead to hypertension. Some common ones are –
- Older age
- Family history
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Too much alcohol consumption
- Too much salt in the diet
- Being overweight or obese
- Chronic kidney disease
- Adrenal and thyroid disorders
- Sleep apnoea
Who Can Get Hypertension?
- People older than 35 years of age
- People who have a family history of high blood pressure
- People who have an sedentary lifestyle
- Pregnant women
- Heavy drinkers
- People who are overweight or obese
- People who consume too much salt, processed and fatty foods
- People who suffer from sleep apnoea
Causes behind Essential or Primary Hypertension
It has been observed that most cases of hypertension can’t be linked with an underlying cause. In which case they get classified as cases of essential or primary hypertension. The incidence of this kind of hypertension is closely linked to diet and lifestyle along with family history. Some common factors or causes associated with primary hypertension are –
- Genes – Some people inherit hypertension from their parents. The medical condition runs in the family.
- Age – It has been observed that many patients get hypertension as they age. This may be linked to changes in the body. People who are older may develop issues with kidney function leading to imbalance of the body’s natural salts and fluids. Women also tend to suffer from high blood pressure after menopause.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices – Poor diet, too much of fat intake, lack of exercise etc can lead to overweight. This results to hypertension.
- Low intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium.
- Chronic alcohol consumption
- Mental health issues like stress
- Blood plasma volume
- Certain kinds of medication that alter hormone production
- Some types of medication like birth control pills, pain reliever medicines, cold remedies, decongestants etc.
- Prohibited/ Banned drugs like cocaine and amphetamines
Causes behind Secondary Hypertension
In this case, a direct cause can be identified that has led to hypertension. Secondary hypertension appears suddenly and usually becomes more severe than primary hypertension. Some common causes include –
- Chronic kidney disease is the commonest cause of secondary hypertension. In such condition the kidneys are unable to filter out fluid.
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Congenital heart defects or defects of the blood vessels
- Hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland
- Hyperparathyroidism which affects the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the body
- When the adrenal glands, situated on top of the kidneys, release large amounts of certain hormones
- Tumours of the endocrine or adrenal glands
- Sometimes pregnancy can lead to the rise in blood pressure
- Diabetes caused by kidney problems and nerve damage
- Pheochromocytoma – a rare type of cancer of the adrenal gland
- Cushing syndrome
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Going for timely hypertension treatment is of utmost importance. It can be easily control with the help of proper medications along with certain lifestyle changes. Treatment of high blood pressure is not a complex process. In fact, you may also go for the natural or Ayurvedic way to control high blood pressure. With natural treatment of Naturoveda Health World you can control your high blood pressure safely and effectively.
Certain Types of Medication that May Cause Hypertension
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs
These are used to reduce pain and inflammation in case of conditions like arthritis. NSAIDs make the body retain fluid which decreases kidney function.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills, especially those that raise the levels of oestrogen in the body, may lead to the rise in blood pressure.
Cough and Cold Medicines
Certain cough and cold medication contains NSAIDs that work towards relieving pain. Cough and cold medication may also contain decongestants.
Decongestants may increase the heart rate and may also increase blood pressure. A certain type of decongestant called pseudoephedrine is known to raise blood pressure. Decongestants may also interfere with the working of your regular blood pressure medication.
Medication for Migraine Headache
Some types of migraine medication tighten the blood vessels in the brain in order to relieve pain. These medicines also constrict blood vessels all over the body which in turn increases blood pressure.
Drugs for Weight Loss
Weight loss drugs and appetite suppressants put more stress on the heart and can lead to the rise in blood pressure.
Lifestyle Factors that Lead to Hypertension
Increased bodyweight means increased requirement of blood. This puts more strain on the heart and more pressure on the blood vessels.
Low or No Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle means a higher heart rate. This means that the heart pumps harder. Low physical activity also makes a person more prone to gaining weight. Exercise, on the other hand, releases hormones that relaxes the blood vessels.
Patients suffering from hypertension are often sensitive to excessive salt intake. Anything above a minimal intake of salt can increase their blood pressure. This is because sodium present in salt, narrows the blood vessels and makes the body retain fluid. A patient of hypertension not only needs to cut down on salt intake but also needs to add more potassium in their diets through the inclusion of foods like bananas, potatoes, yoghurt etc. This helps balance sodium levels and keep blood pressure in check.
Smoking or chewing tobacco leads to high blood pressure. Chemicals present in tobacco damage the blood vessels by making them narrow and leading to cholesterol plaque.
Excessive alcohol use can damage the muscles of the heart and increase blood pressure.
Chronic stress not only leads to hypertension over time but also makes the patient take to smoking or alcohol abuse, which in turn contributes to increasing blood pressure.
Renal Artery Stenosis and Hypertension
This is a common cause behind hypertension among elderly people. Older people suffer from a problem called atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries through the build-up of plaque made up of fat, cholesterol etc on the walls of the arteries. The same happens with the renal arteries that is those that carry blood from the heart to the kidneys. The condition may worsen over time and in effect the kidneys get a low supply of blood. This signals the body that the pressure of blood flow is low which prompts the release of hormones that increase pressure. Renal artery stenosis not only causes hypertension but also damages kidney, over time.
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Risk Factors of Hypertension
Age – Hypertension is common among people who have crossed the age of 45 years. This usually happens with plaque build-up inside the arteries.
Family History – Hypertension may run in families.
Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption – People who consume too much alcohol and/or smoke or chew tobacco will most likely develop health issues with high blood pressure. Chemicals in tobacco damage the lining of the artery walls over time. Tobacco use can also instantly increase your blood pressure temporarily. Even being subjected to second-hand smoke can increase the risk of hypertension.
Being Overweight – People who are overweight or obese usually suffer from hypertension. This is because more weight means more requirement of oxygen hence higher blood flow. Apart from that, overweight people usually take high-fat diets and have low daily physical activity.
Other Health Conditions – People who suffer from other health conditions like chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high level of cholesterol etc are more prone to suffer from high blood pressure.
Low Physical Activity – Low physical activity or lack of exercise leads to high heart rate. So people who lead sedentary lifestyles are likely to suffer from hypertension.
Gender -Some research shows that men have a higher tendency to develop hypertension compared to women.
Diet – People who are accustomed to high-fat, high-sodium diet usually suffer from high blood pressure. People who have low potassium content in diet may have high blood pressure.
Long Term Complications of Hypertension
The excessive pressure on the artery walls as a result of high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels as well as the vital organs. The longer the blood pressure remains uncontrolled, the greater the damage.
Damage on Arteries
Hypertension makes arteries tighter and less flexible (atherosclerosis). This leads to easy deposition of dietary fats inside the arteries that may lead to restricted blood flow and subsequent health crisis like –
- Heart attacks
- Aneurysm or weakening and bulging of blood vessels that may cause instant death
- Hypertensive retinopathies in the eye that may even cause blindness
Damage on Heart
Hypertension means that the heart needs to work harder. This also means that the heart muscles pump more frequently which makes them larger. An enlarged heart can lead to problems such as-
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Sudden cardiac death
Damage on Brain
To function properly, your brain needs a healthy supply of oxygen. Hypertension restricts that. This, over time, can lead to temporary blood flow blockages. Blockages in flood flow leads to –
- TIAs or transient ischemic attacks
- Death of brain cells causing strokes
Hypertension can also cause other brain related issues like –
- Loss of memory
- Inability to think, remember or learn
Hypertension can also cause –
- Kidney damage and ultimate kidney failure
- Sudden death from irregular heart beat
- Chest pain or angina
- Metabolic syndrome
- Thickened, narrow or torn blood vessels in the eye
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A doctor will ask you about your medical history and take your blood pressure reading, ideally on both arms. According to the values mentioned in a previous section on the stages of hypertension, the doctor will categorize the patient. Reliable electronic blood pressure monitoring devices are widely available. One can also monitor their blood pressure at home and approach a doctor if a constant a spike in the reading is observed.
In order to detect the underlying cause or check the extent of damage inflicted on your internal organs by high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend the following –
- Ambulatory monitoring
- Lab tests including urine test, lipid profile, and renal profile
Preventing & Managing Hypertension
If you have prehypertension or are at a risk of developing hypertension, certain lifestyle changes can limit the damage this medical condition might impose on your body. Also, if you have been diagnosed at an early stage of hypertension, adopt certain lifestyle changes to manage your condition.
Engage in exercise at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Adopt moderate intensity exercises or go for activities like aerobics, swimming, brisk walking, jogging, cycling etc
Yoga is a great way to keep both your body and mind fit. Most people take to alcohol, junk food, tobacco, drugs etc to manage stress. Say no to all such things. Instead, you can also indulge in warm baths, go for walks, engage in recreational activities or meditate to manage stress in your daily life.
Smoking and Drinking
Say no to tobacco in any form and drink alcohol moderately.
- Cut down on salt intake. Your salt intake should not exceed 5g per day. This includes the added salt in processed foods. It is better to stay away from processed foods such as salty biscuits, chips, instant noodles etc.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Eat more pulses, grains and fibre-rich food.
- Consume foods which have omega-3 fatty acids.
- Go for skinless poultry and fish.
- Opt for lean meat instead of red meat.
- Take low fat dairy products.
- Go for healthy non-tropical sources of fat like olive oil.
- Say no to trans-fats and animal fats.
- Say no to hydrogenated oils.
- Manage portion sizes.
- Cut down on sugar intake – goods from the bakery or processed foods like flavoured yoghurt, cereals, sodas etc are artificially sweetened and need to be avoided.
Monitor your blood pressure at home regularly. It is good to keep a daily log. Also managing your weight comes handy. In fact with the mentioned changes in diet and by incorporating regular exercise, managing body weight should not be very difficult.
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