High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the pressure of your blood against your blood vessel walls poses a risk to your health. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and put you at a greater risk for stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure is a condition that often carries no symptoms and can go undetected for years. More than 1 in 5 adultsTrusted Source worldwide live with raised blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure is the pressure against your artery walls during a contraction of your heart (a heartbeat). A systolic blood pressure measurement of 120 or above is considered elevated. Above 130 is considered high.
Diastolic is the pressure on your arteries in between heartbeats. A diastolic blood pressure measurement above 80 is considered high.
Results of high blood pressure include:
- Arterial damage
- Heart failure
- Blocked or ruptured blood vessels
- Reduced kidney function
- Vision loss
- Loss of cognitive function: concentration, memory and ability to learn
- Metabolic syndrome: a cluster of metabolic disorders such as high cholesterol and insulin, atherosclerosis and increased waist size
Causes of high blood pressure include:
- A high-salt diet
- Emotional stress
- Birth control pills
- Heavy-metal poisoning
Hawthorn : is an official drug in the Pharmacopoeias of Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, and Switzerland. As a measure of its incredible popularity, it is an ingredient of 213 commercial European herbal formulas, mostly for the cardiovascular system. In Europe, thousands of doctors prescribe hawthorn to prevent cardiovascular disease or to help alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate problems. It is considered so safe that it is sometimes prescribed concurrently with heart medications such as digitalis. Hawthorn is also considered a mildly calming herb to the nervous system—an appropriate bonus considering that stress and nervousness often accompany cardiovascular problems.
Olive leaf Extract: today, researchers are confirming that olive leaf benefits health in many ways, including its usefulness as an effective high blood pressure supplement and its ability to combat the other crucial heart disease risk factor: high cholesterol. A total of 232 subjects took either 500 mg olive leaf extract as a supplement for high blood pressure or the standard Captopril dose (12.5 to 25 mg -depending on initial response) twice daily for eight weeks. After eight weeks of treatment, both groups experienced similar, significant reductions in blood pressure. In both groups, average systolic blood pressures decreased from 148-149 mmHg to 135-138 mmHg and average diastolic blood pressures decreased from 93 mmHg to 87-88 mmHg.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) : another herb for the nervous system, motherwort has profound effects on high blood pressure when specifically related to anxiety, tension or psychological stress, and especially when associated with an irregular heart rhythm. It is often used in the management of hypertension associated with an overactive thyroid gland, due to its calming action on the heart. Another interesting use of motherwort that I have recently started experimenting with is in the management of ‘white coat hypertension’ – an acute syndrome where elevated stress levels cause a temporary spike in blood pressure. Traditionally, the herb is a bitter digestive tonic and antispasmodic for the female reproductive system, helping with painful periods and premenstrual tension. It is certainly a trusty little ally for many an occasion.
Garlic: has a wide range of well-documented effects, including helping to lower blood pressure. Studies showing a positive effect of garlic and garlic preparations are those that deliver a sufficient dosage of allicin. In double-blind studies with garlic preparations providing a daily dose of at least 10 mg allicin, blood pressure readings dropped with typical reductions of 11 mm Hg for the systolic and 5.0 in the diastolic within a 1 to 3-month period. To get enough allicin, eat 1 to 4 cloves of fresh garlic a day. If you want to avoid garlic breath in public, add minced fresh garlic to your salad dressing in the evening at dinner.
Hibiscus: a 2013 review by the University of Arizona discovered that hibiscus tea is used in 10 or more countries as normal treatment for hypertension without any reported adverse events or side effects — except in extremely high doses. The study led these researchers to state that “extracts of [hibiscus] are promising as a treatment of hypertension.” A study in Nigeria discovered hibiscus tea to be more effective than hydrochlorothiazide, a common blood-pressure lowering medication, at decreasing blood pressure. The most significant finding was that hibiscus tea, unlike its study counterpart, hydrochlorothiazide, did not cause electrolyte imbalance.
Coenzyme Q10: it turns out that heart-muscle cells (cardiac myocytes) have an exceedingly high ability to generate ATP, thereby allowing plenty of energy to be produced to meet their metabolic demand because they never cease moving, constantly contracting to force blood from the heart into the arteries. The omnipresent coenzyme Q10 is thought to enhance the myocytes’ metabolic needs. In addition, coenzyme Q10 operates as a powerful antioxidant and consequently is crucial in inactivating free radicals that may cause cardiovascular damage. Along with such compounds as glutathione, vitamin C, vitamin E, and lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10contributes to the antioxidant network that the body relies on to limit damage from free radicals. Coenzyme Q10 also improves membrane fluidity, a factor that decreases blood viscosity and thus may play an important role in decreasing hypertension.
L-Arginine: some of the ways that L-arginine improves cardiovascular health include preventing high blood pressure, improving blood flow in people with clogged arteries (coronary artery disease), lowering high cholesterol, helping relieve congestive heart failure, improving stamina and reducing symptoms associated with cut-off blood flow from the heart to the limbs (called claudication). It’s also commonly used for treating chest pains (angina pectoris) because of the effects of nitric oxide preventing blood clots (thrombosis) that cut off blood supply. Two to three grams a day of L-arginine supplementation has been shown to resolve nitrate intolerance in most people with angina, according to some studies. And finally, arginine is capable of safely improving exercise performance in people with low stamina, circulation problems and a history of heart disease.
Magnesium: your heart is one of the organs that need magnesium the most. By promoting the production of ATP and supporting proper muscle function, this mineral allows the heart to efficiently pump blood throughout the entire body. It also acts as an electrolyte, which means that it’s partially responsible for the electrical activity that regulates the timing of your heartbeat. Considering the impact of magnesium on heart health, it’s not surprising that some of the common heart diseases are associated with a deficiency in this mineral. Hypertension, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cardiac arrhythmia are just some of the problems that you may encounter if you have insufficient amounts of magnesium in your body. To prevent life-threatening heart diseases, make sure that you keep your heart healthy by optimizing your magnesium levels. Studies have shown that there is an inverse association between magnesium intake and CVD. This simply means that when you increase your body’s magnesium levels, your risk for developing CVD may become lower. Another study also suggests that magnesium may help regulate blood pressure and prevent stroke since it relaxes the blood vessels.
Potassium: has an essential role in human physiology and is an element necessary for life. Its levels are largely maintained by the kidneys. There are data that suggest that not eating enough potassium in our diet could lead to an increase in blood pressure, and even increase the risk of kidney disease and stroke. There are also data from a meta-analysis which showed that a 1.6-gram increase in potassium intake per day could lower risk of stroke by as much as 21 percent. And if you worsen the situation by consuming a high amount of sodium as well, the effect on your blood pressure is even more exaggerated. It therefore seems that when it comes to our blood pressure, potassium is clearly the good guy.