Self Help With Hypertension
Some effects of hypertension
Modern life can be very stressful. Combined with poor lifestyle habits, hypertension can be a killer.
Many people do not bother to have their blood pressure checked regularly and this can lead to very serious health problems if neglected.
Kidney malfunction, leading to renal failure.
Retinopathy which can lead to blindness.
Diabetes (the two often go hand in hand).
Dementia. There is a particular form of dementia which can be caused by raised BP over many years. It is called 'Vascular Dementia' and is caused by lots of silent strokes over time which in turn are caused by hypertension. Vascular dementia doesn't only affect the very elderly. People in their 50's and 60's are at risk too. Don't let it happen to you!
No-one in their right mind would wish these upon themselves, so if you haven't had your blood pressure checked within the last year and you are over forty years of age or have high familial risk factors, then visit your doctor tomorrow!
Here are some tips to help reduce your BP the natural way
Before I begin I would like to say that I am not a doctor or even a nurse. I am just a regular woman in her fifties who has struggled with raised BP for the past few years.
As I have a natural interest in herbal remedies and nutrition I have been trying to reduce my BP naturally.
Always consult your physician before embarking on a self help regime to reduce your BP.
1. Lose some pounds. If you are seriously over weight you will be putting a strain on your heart which will in turn raise your BP.
2. Take daily exercise. Try to walk a couple of miles, preferably uphill, everyday. Don't just jump in the car to go to the local shop! Research has shown that brisk walking is the best form of exercise to improve vascular health.
3. Do you drink alcohol? If so, take a close look at your intake. No kidding yourself, though! Be honest! Are you over imbibing? If so then it is advisable to cut down your intake of alcohol. Some people are actually sensitive to alcohol and shouldn't really be drinking at all as it can raise the BP. Spirits are a definite no-no as they have such a high % of alcohol. Drink low % wines and only a small glass or two a day. Research has shown red wine to be beneficial, but in small doses. Don't use the research as an excuse to drink a bottle a day!
4. Reduce the amount of caffeine you are drinking a day. Moderate intake is fine, but some people are caffeine sensitive and are better off drinking decaffeinated tea or coffee.
5. Are you a chocoholic? Then maybe you aren't doing yourself any favours! Chocolate contains stimulants which can overexcite the sympathetic nervous system, causing a raise in BP. Very dark chocolate (80% cocoa) has been shown to help reduce BP, but as with red wine, don't use that as an excuse to overindulge - 3 or 4 squares a day is sufficient.
6. Sugar generally is a toxin, and some research suggests it may play a role in raising BP. It is bad for you anyway, so why eat all those sugary snacks?
7.Eat 2 bananas a day. Bananas are extremely rich in potassium which is known to reduce blood pressure.
8. Cut down/out salt. If you must use salt in your cooking, try using natural sea salt, as it is very rich in other minerals apart from sodium. Sodium is the real killer. With regard to tip #7, it is often the sodium/potassium balance which is askew. Small amounts of sodium are ok provided you raise your intake of potassium.
9. Eat more fruit and vegetables to improve overall health thus reducing BP.
10. Drink beetroot juice - research indicates it may be of some benefit in reducing BP.
11. Include garlic and onions in your daily food allowance. Crushed garlic is more beneficial than chopped.
12. Be sure to get enough sleep. If you are not sleeping well consult with your doctor as you may have sleep apoea which can cause high blood pressure. (see my hub on sleep).
13. Reduce your anger levels. If you suffer from excessive anger this can raise stress hormones and in turn raise your BP. Get anger management therapy if it is a serious problem.
14. Take up meditation. Those who practise meditation generally have lower blood pressure than non meditators.
15. Don't sit about worrying about your blood pressure as this can feed into itself pushing it up even further. Take your mind off it by reading a book, taking up an absorbing hobby, getting out of the house and exercising. Singing is an excellent form of stress relief. Join a local choir! And DON'T keep measuring your blood pressure every five minutes, as that feeds in to worry.
16. Laugh more. Look at the funny side of things, and don't take life so seriously. They say laughter is the best medicine and it is so true!
17. Try taking large doses of vitamin C as this supports the vascular sysem.
18. Ginkgo Biloba has been shown to be effective in all manner of conditions, hypertension being one of them.
19. Hawthorn extracts have been used for centuries to support cardiac health and high blood pressure. Do not take if you are on medication for hypertension as it may reduce your blood pressure too much. It is useful to try as part of a general self help regime and is best taken as a tincture or tea. I have found it to be very good. In clinical trials it was found to be MORE effective than regular medications! However, check this out with your doctor. I am lucky in that my doctor was very supportive of my taking hawthorn.
20. Drink more water to keep healthy kidneys. Healthy kidney function plays a vital role in maintaining correct blood pressure.