In our bodies, our blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in
vessels called arteries. When we measure the tension our blood exerts on the walls
of our arteries, it is called blood pressure. Our blood pressure is highest when
the heart beats and is pumping blood (systolic), and lowest when it rests (diastolic).
Written as 120/80 and said 120 over 80, our systolic pressure is the number on top,
while our diastolic pressure is the number on the bottom. If our systolic pressure
is higher than 140 mmHg, or if our diastolic pressure is greater than 90 mmHg, we
are identified as having high blood pressure or hypertension.
High blood pressure is a chronic state of elevated blood pressure in the arteries
and is often called the "silent killer." Affecting approximately 75 million
Americans, nearly one third of these individuals are not aware of it. People who
suffer from high blood pressure do not display symptoms. In fact, if not checked,
our blood pressure can be high for years without any adverse effect.
There are two different types of hypertension – essential and secondary. No one
knows the exact cause of primary hypertension; however, it tends to respond well
to lifestyle changes such as losing weight, dietary changes and stress reduction.
On the other hand, secondary hypertension has organic causes. Typically it is secondary
to an abnormality of another organ or system in the body, such as kidney disease
When our blood pressure is high for an extended period of time, our heart is forced
to work harder and our arteries take a beating. Our chances of a heart attack, stroke
or kidney problems rise greatly. These complications due to chronic hypertension
are often referred to as end-organ damage, because they are a direct result of long
term, elevated blood pressure.
Thankfully, there are a number of natural remedies and alternative health methods
that can be employed to help reduce high blood pressure.
Recommendations for wellness
- Begin a diet and exercise program. Being overweight increases your risk of developing
high blood pressure. By losing as little as 10 pounds, your blood pressure can be
greatly reduced. It has also been shown that even moderate exercise can lower your
risk of heart disease even further.
- Find ways to reduce the stress and tension in your life. Learn some relaxation
techniques, meditate or do biofeedback.
- Monitor your blood pressure at home daily to keep track of how you are doing.
- Avoid products that contain stimulants such as caffeine, ephedra, kola nut, pseudoephedrine,
or tobacco that can elevate blood pressure.
- Eat a diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Reduce or eliminate
your intake of trans-fatty acids and hydrogenated oils found in margarine, processed,
refined and deep-fried foods.
- Cut down on salt and sodium. It has been shown that salt consumption can elevate
- Garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels
as it promotes blood circulation.
- Turmeric, an East Indian herb often used for cooking, is known in Ayurvedic medicine
for its ability to lower cholesterol levels, improve blood flow and strengthen the
blood vessel walls.
- Ginkgo Biloba can be used to reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and dilate
the blood vessels.
- Hawthorn berry is known for its ability to open the coronary arteries, strengthening
the heart muscles and reduce artery hardening.
- Ginger root can be used to improve circulation and relax the muscles surrounding
the blood vessels.
- Supplementation with calcium and magnesium has been show to help reduce blood
- Chamomile, hops and valerian root can be used to help calm the nerves.
- The essential oils found in lavender and lemon balm can be used to relieve tension
and lower blood pressure.