High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common medical condition in which the force of blood against the walls of arteries is consistently too high.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two numbers: systolic pressure (the pressure when the heart beats) over diastolic pressure (the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats).
A normal blood pressure reading is considered to be below 120/80 mmHg.
However, if the blood pressure consistently reads at or above 130/80 mmHg, it is considered to be high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a serious condition because it can lead to damage of the blood vessels, which can cause a range of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
It is often called the “silent killer” because it does not usually cause noticeable symptoms, but it can have a significant impact on a person’s health over time.
Some Causes of high blood pressure
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of high blood pressure, including:
Age: Blood pressure tends to increase with age, as the arteries become stiffer and less elastic.
Genetics: High blood pressure can run in families, indicating a genetic component to the condition.
Lifestyle factors: Unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as a diet high in salt and saturated fat, lack of physical activity, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, can all contribute to high blood pressure.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea, can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
Medications: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), birth control pills, and some cold and allergy medications, can raise blood pressure.
Stress: Chronic stress can increase the risk of high blood pressure by causing the body to release hormones that constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure.
It’s important to note that in many cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown, but a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors may be at play.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it does not usually cause noticeable symptoms. Many people can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it.
However, in some cases, high blood pressure can cause the following symptoms:
Headaches: While headaches are a common symptom of high blood pressure, they are not always present.
Shortness of breath: High blood pressure can cause difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity.
Nosebleeds: Nosebleeds can occur as a result of high blood pressure, but they are not a reliable indicator of the condition.
Dizziness: Dizziness or lightheadedness can occur in severe cases of high blood pressure.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional. The best way to determine if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked regularly by a healthcare professional.
Natural treatments of high blood pressure
There are several natural treatments that can help to lower high blood pressure.
It’s important to note that these treatments should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment and advice from a healthcare professional.
Here are some natural treatments that may help:
Eating a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products can help to lower blood pressure. Reducing salt intake is also important, as high salt intake can contribute to high blood pressure.
Regular exercise: Regular physical activity can help to lower blood pressure by improving cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week.
Stress management: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure, so finding ways to manage stress, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, can be helpful.
Getting enough sleep: Lack of sleep can contribute to high blood pressure, so aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Supplements: Some supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), may help to lower blood pressure. However, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any supplements.
How to treat blood pressure with herbs
While there are some herbs that have been traditionally used to treat high blood pressure, it’s important to note that herbs should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment and advice from a healthcare professional.
Here are some herbs that may have blood pressure-lowering effects:
Garlic: Garlic has been traditionally used to lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that garlic supplements may help to reduce blood pressure, although the evidence is mixed.
Hibiscus: Hibiscus is a traditional herbal remedy that may help to lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that hibiscus tea may help to lower blood pressure, although more research is needed.
Hawthorn: Hawthorn is a traditional herbal remedy that may help to lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.
Ginger: Ginger may help to lower blood pressure by improving circulation and relaxing blood vessels. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.
It’s important to note that herbs can interact with medications and may not be safe for everyone, especially for those with underlying medical conditions. Consult a healthcare professional before trying any herbs or supplements to treat high blood pressure.