Reduce Your Blood Pressure Naturally for a Longer Healthier Life
When was the last time you checked your blood pressure? Do you know if yours is high? If it is, would you like to know how to reduce your blood pressure naturally?
This week sees World Hypertension Day, aimed at improving awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure.
The message of this year’s campaign is clear – ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control it, and Live Longer’. The theme was chosen because less than half of all adults worldwide with high blood pressure are aware of their condition. High blood pressure often doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms, yet it raises your risk of premature death, earning it the nickname of the silent killer.
Read on to discover the importance of controlling your blood pressure.
The Dangers of High Blood Pressure
In the UK, high blood pressure affects more than a quarter of the adult population and in England, it’s the third biggest risk factor for premature death and disability after smoking and a poor diet. At least half of all strokes and heart attacks are associated with high blood pressure.
Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by your blood onto your blood vessel walls. Any extra pressure in your blood vessels puts a strain on them as well as your heart, leaving you at risk of heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure can also cause vision problems, kidney disease and vascular dementia, a lack of blood supply to the brain.
Is Your BP High?
Blood pressure measurements consist of two numbers. The higher number relates to systolic blood pressure, the pressure on your blood vessels when your heart beats, pumping blood around your body. The smaller number is your diastolic blood pressure, the residual pressure of blood in the vessels when your heart is at rest between beats.
A healthy blood pressure should be around 120/80, although it usually increases with age as arteries become less flexible. You’re considered to have high blood pressure when your readings are higher than 140/90 for a consistent period.
High Blood Pressure: Why Me?
There’s no single cause of high blood pressure and it’s usually down to a combination of factors. High blood pressure is a lifestyle disease, so these factors can often be controlled, meaning you have more influence over your blood pressure than you might think.
Anything narrowing the diameter of your blood vessels will reduce the space available for your blood and so pressure in your blood vessels will rise. Common culprits are fatty deposits on the inside of artery walls known as atherosclerotic plaques. On the other hand, if the rings of muscles encircling your artery walls can’t relax properly, this too reduces their diameter and pushes blood pressure up.
Stress has a major effect on blood pressure because stress hormones cause blood vessels to constrict. Nowadays stressors pile up one after another on an ongoing basis, meaning stress hormones are often constantly high.
Electrolyte imbalances, particularly too much sodium and not enough potassium, cause your body to retain water, pushing up blood pressure. However, salt isn’t the only culprit as eating sugar raises blood pressure too, down to a chain of reactions leading to damage to blood vessel linings.
Caffeine can push up blood pressure in some people, while imbalances in nutrients like magnesium and omega 3 fats play a role too.
Other common risk factors for high blood pressure include alcohol, smoking and obesity, particularly an accumulation of belly fat.
High blood pressure can have a genetic component, although whether these genes are switched on will depend on lifestyle factors. Some ethnic groups tend to suffer more frequently with high blood pressure.
Measuring Your BP
The theme of this year’s awareness day emphasises knowing your blood pressure, because if you don’t measure it you won’t know whether there’s anything wrong. It’s common for blood pressure to be elevated in a healthcare setting because of stress. This has been nicknamed ‘white coat syndrome’.
Fortunately, taking your blood pressure at home is simple and easy using a portable blood pressure monitor. Your systolic reading will increase when your heart is working harder or faster than usual, so blood pressure measurements should be taken when you’re at rest and relaxed. Take two or three readings to obtain an accurate result.
Natural Help to Manage Your Blood Pressure
Medications to control high blood pressure don’t address the underlying causes, which may also be affecting other aspects of your health.
Lifestyle and dietary strategies like stress management, exercise and correcting nutritional deficiencies are very effective at controlling high blood pressure. You are unique, so the reasons why your blood pressure is elevated will be different from the next person.
I will uncover the imbalances causing your high blood pressure by using functional testing. Together we’ll work towards reducing the warning sign that is high blood pressure, improving your cardiovascular health and helping you live a longer and healthier life. Contact me today to naturally reduce your blood pressure.