Effective Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
By Godot Media
Chapter 1: What Is High Blood Pressure? Why Must You Control It?
The term blood pressure refers to the measuring of the force at which the human heart pumps blood to the various parts of the body.
When the heart beats, it pumps blood all around the body, which helps in the transportation of oxygen and energy. When the blood is circulated through the blood vessels it pushes against the walls of the vessels with a certain amount of pressure. The pressure at which it pushes against the walls is known as the blood pressure. The pressure needs to be maintained at an optimum level. If the pressure increases or decreases, it can lead to several complications.
For example, a high amount of blood pressure can cause stress to the arteries and the heart, ultimately leading to heart attacks and strokes.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured primarily in two ways.
The first type of pressure is referred to as systolic pressure. It is the pressure at which the heart pumps blood via the arteries throughout the body. The pressure is at its peak during this time.
The second type of pressure is known as the diastolic pressure. It is the pressure measured when the heart is at rest right before it pumps blood again. The pressure is at its lowest during this phase.
Blood pressure is measured in mmHg or millimeters of mercury. While measuring blood pressure, doctors measure both the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic reading is recorded first and the diastolic reading is recorded after that. For instance, if the systolic reading indicates 120 mmHg and the diastolic reading indicates 80mmHg, then your blood pressure report will be displayed as 120/80 or 120 over 80. Blood pressure is either low, normal, or high.
If your blood pressure reading indicates 140/90 or above, then you have what is commonly known as high blood pressure. Medically, it is referred to as hypertension. High blood pressure, if not treated or if ignored, can lead to serious complications in the future. It has been known to be a major risk factor for various ailments, especially cardiovascular disease.
The lower the blood pressure, the better your health. However, an extremely low blood pressure, which is 90/60 or below, might indicate an underlying health condition and must be checked by a medical expert. Though there are no symptoms as such for low blood pressure, an excessively low blood pressure can cause symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, and fainting. An ideal blood pressure reading must show 120/80. A marginal increase or decrease is acceptable.
The complications of high blood pressure
As explained earlier, high blood pressure occurs when the heart pumps blood at a much higher rate than normal. It can strain arteries. The high level of pressure opens up doors to several complications that range from heart attacks to kidney disease.
There are no significantly noticeable symptoms to indicate the presence of high blood pressure. In fact, it is often referred to as a “silent killer” for this very reason. Some patients have been known to suffer from prolonged cases of hypertension that have gone undetected for years. It can turn out to be extremely dangerous as the damage continues to occur without the patient even realizing. The proper way to detect high blood pressure is by getting it measured periodically. So a regular check-up with your doctor is highly advised.
The biggest issue with high blood pressure is that it causes the heart to function with increased effort. It can lead to the heart becoming weak over a period of time. The higher pressure of blood flowing through the arteries also causes complications of its own. For starters, it can damage the arterial walls resulting in issues such as blockages and splitting of the walls (aneurysm).
One of the main consequences of such damage is the development of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease refers to a wide range of heart related ailments such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. Coronary heart disease occurs when the primary arteries that supply blood to the heart are unable to do so due to the buildup of fatty deposits within these arteries. The fatty deposits clog thee arteries and interfere with the flow of blood. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut-off. In a heart attack, the blood supply to the heart is completely cut-off.
Conventional treatment for high blood pressure
Ideally, high blood pressure can be prevented with lifestyle changes. It typically includes the consumption of a healthier diet, avoiding smoking, cutting down on alcohol, and being more physically active. However, in the scenario that high blood pressure has been diagnosed, treatment generally includes a combination of both, lifestyle changes and medication.
Such a treatment is prescribed for younger individuals with a blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 and older individuals (above the age of 60) with a reading of more than 150/90. Lifestyle changes are strongly advised to treat blood pressure. For this, doctors encourage patients to lose weight if they are overweight, eat a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, non-saturated fats and indulge in regular physical activity.
Limiting alcohol intake is also suggested. For men, drinks are limited to two a day and for women, one a day. Another reason for suggesting such lifestyle changes are that they increase the effectiveness of the medications prescribed for high blood pressure.
Standard medications prescribed for the purpose of controlling high blood pressure include: beta blockers, renin inhibitors, alpha-agonists, alpha-blockers, Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, diuretics, and calcium channel blockers. Diuretics are usually prescribed as initial treatment for high blood pressure. However, some doctors might include other medications as well. For instance, ACE inhibitors are a common type of medication prescribed for diabetics with high blood pressure. If some drugs or medications do not show results, doctors switch to various other medications that might be more suitable. If the blood pressure reading indicates an increase of 20/10 points above normal, doctors tend to prescribe a combination of drugs.