Natural Treatment for High Blood Pressure
An astounding number of people have hypertension. According to the latest U.S. statistics, 30 million Americans have hypertension. That number does not reflect the sheer numbers of people who have not yet been diagnosed or those in the rest of our world. Those without a good health plan may have hypertension for years before they ever know about it. Those facts are scary enough, without considering the numbers do not include the rest of the world.
Whether you are at risk for developing hypertension or are already dealing with the problem, natural treatments can help you avoid or treat it without having to use medications or deal with the possibilities of worsening disease.
How High Blood Pressure is Diagnosed
Normal blood pressure - Systolic (top number) should be less than 120 and dystolic (bottom number) should be less than 80.
Prehypertension - Systolic: 120 -139 / Dystolic: 80-89
Stage 1 hypertension - Systolic:140-159 / Dystolic: 90-99
Stage 2 hypertension - Systolic:160 or higher / Dystolic: 100 or higher
Because blood pressure fluctuates according to recent stressors and environmental factors, it is normally diagnosed after repeated testings of 140/90 or higher.
Have you been diagnosed?
Once you have been diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor may prescribe medication, but not every doctor takes that as a first line of defense. Some will encourage you to try to lower it naturally and the majority will recommend that home remedies be included in your treatment program, even if medication is prescribed.
Do the DASH
The first line of defense and treatment is the DASH plan, or the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. It is a healthy dietary plan that can also help a person take off weight. Even more, this diet increases your overall health.
The Everyday Diet for Everyday High Blood Pressure
The DASH Diet
- low in saturated fat
- low in cholesterol
- high in dietary fiber
- reduced amounts of meats and sugars
-increased amounts of vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy
- reduced salt intake (usually no more than 2.4 grams of sodium per day)
The Extra Benefit
The beauty of a natural treatment is that it also lowers your risk of other diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.
The Natural Treatment is the same as Prevention
The natural cure for hypertension is to follow the same steps involved with preventing the problem. Even if you have not been diagnosed with hypertension, you may be at risk for it. Once you know the risk, it is important to take precautions.
Factors that Increase Your Risk
- Age – An increase in blood pressure is now considered a normal part of aging. However, there is a difference between a “normal high” and a “too high” number.
- Obesity – Being overweight puts stress on the arteries and is a leading cause of the problem. Even if you do not need to lose weight, you need to follow a healthy diet and fitness plan to keep from gaining.
- Smoking - Smoking is a big contributor. If you are hypertensive, you really need to stop smoking NOW.
- Drinking – Excessive drinking has the same effect on the arteries as being overweight and smoking.
- Stress – Long term stress takes a toll on the cardiovascular system and increases your risks.
- Genetics – Hypertension often runs in the family line, regardless of race. However, this disease eems to have a bias against those of African descent. Just being African puts you at a higher risk. Nobody can change their DNA, but knowing your risk is a good reason to follow a preventative program
The Scary Risks Involved with Not Treating the Disease
- An increased risk for stroke
- An increased risk for peripheral artery disease
- An increased risk of heart attack
- Weightlifting is not recommended because the extra pressure on the arteries, vein, and heart increases a person’s risk of death.
- Those who have been diagnosed as hypertensive often have peripheral arterial disease. PAD, as it commonly known, affects the veins and arteries. If you do not have peripheral arterial disease and are fighting your high blood pressure, you are at risk for it, as well. Putting too much pressure on your limbs can make the problem worse. Therefore, it is wise to avoid activities such as jumping, running, or anything that requires you to put a great amount of pressure on your legs. If you like to jump, a small trampoline could be just the thing!
- Always ask your doctor about activity before you embark on a workout program.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Regardless of whether or not you need to lose weight, just 20 minutes of exercise that elevates your heart rate can help to lower your blood pressure when done every day. Exercises may include walking, jogging, biking, dancing ... just about anything that gets your body moving and your heart pumping.
Garlic - eating two or three cloves of garlic a day or taking garlic supplements can help decrease your numbers.
Fish Oil – The Omega 3s in fish oil contribute to overall cardiovascular health and have been shown to lower blood pressure.
Potassium – if you are taking a diuretic, you may need to increase your potassium intake. You can add potassium to your diet by eating tomatoes, bananas and drinking low-fat milk. Coconut water is a low-calorie, non-fat way of getting your potassium.
Spicy food – Spicy food has actually been shown to reduce blood pressure. One remedy is to drink a cup of water with 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in it every day. If you can stomach it, it is worth a try!
The most obvious of treatments...
- Don’t smoke
- Drink only in moderation. While drinking a glass of red wine every day has been shown to be beneficial for the heart, if you have a problem with alcohol, you must avoid it altogether. A substance abuse program may truly be a life-saver.
* Monitor Your Numbers
Purchase a blood pressure kit and keep track of those numbers throughout the day. When it is higher than it should be, take a few minutes to relax.
* Reduce Stress Levels
Stress has a profound effect on the heart and vascular system. While stress can affect anyone, the need to reduce stress is particularly important for those who deal with hypertension or any heart problems.
Meditation and relaxation obvious options. If you are unsure of how to meditate, there are books and other media that can help you. Relaxation techniques can have a profound effect. You may wish to consider taking up Yoga or Tai Chi.
Get your sleep! Sleep rests the entire body and allows it to reenergize. A lack of sleep raises stress levels and greatly affects your health. You can find out more about the effects of shorting your body and brain on the rest it needs and steps you can take to help you get that rest at Everyday Health.
- Hypertension - MayoClinic.com
This comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment and prevention.
© 2010 Karla Whitmore