The blood circulatory system is critical for the survival of the human body. This system carries blood to all regions of the body.
The heart pumps blood, which is then carried by blood vessels through the body.
Blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure blood flow puts on arteries and blood vessels. High blood pressure means the heart is pumping harder and under more stress to pump blood through the body. This is a common condition that affects a large number of patients.
Failure to maintain regulated blood pressure levels can cause serious adverse effects in the body. This can contribute to serious health complications.
It may also cause certain diseases to develop. A person is also at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack when they have uncontrolled hypertension.
We look at what high blood pressure is and symptoms a patient should look out for. We also consider some of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure naturally.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure refers to a medical condition where more pressure is applied to blood vessels to pump blood through the body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1 reports that an estimated 29% of adults in the US have hypertension. The risk of the disease seems to increase with age. Among people older than 60, an estimated 63.1% suffer from high blood pressure.
Hypertension is diagnosed under specific conditions. The pressure applied to the walls of arteries needs to be high enough to be of concern for a physician. In such a case, the pressure may lead to damage to the walls of blood vessels. In turn, this can cause a person to develop certain complications.
Blood pressure is measured by two factors. The first is the amount of blood that is pumped by the heart. Additionally, the resistance of blood circulation in the blood vessels will also be taken into consideration. Narrow arteries cause increased resistance. A heart that pumps more blood also raises the risk of high blood pressure.
The condition slowly causes damage to blood vessels. This is why hypertension is considered a severe problem. Many people do not realize they have high blood pressure until complications start to develop. When blood pressure is not controlled, a patient is at risk of many possible health problems.
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
The primary concern with high blood pressure is the lack of symptoms in most patients. Many people will only find out that they have hypertension once the condition starts to interfere with their physical well-being.
There are sometimes symptoms that develop. A person may not necessarily link the symptoms to high blood pressure immediately. This is why knowledge about the symptoms associated with hypertension is so necessary.
It can help a person determine when they might be experiencing an elevation in blood pressure levels. This allows the person to get their blood pressure levels taken. Early diagnosis will often help to reduce the risk of certain complications.
In most cases, symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
The symptoms associated with hypertension are not specific. Several conditions can cause these symptoms.
Thus, frequent testing of blood pressure levels should be a priority for every person. This is especially the case in people who are at high risk for high blood pressure. Age is one risk factor for high blood pressure.
A high-sodium diet, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle are just some of the other risk factors that people should be aware of.
What Are The Complications Of High Blood Pressure?
Failure to control blood pressure can lead to complications. As mentioned previously, high blood pressure causes damage to the walls of arteries. In the long-run, this can lead to several complications in the body.
Hypertension is considered a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In turn, heart disease is known as the biggest killer in many regions of the world.
Apart from heart disease, there are other complications that patients need to be aware of too. Understanding the complexities helps a person know why they should implement steps to control their blood pressure levels. It also gives a person a better idea of what the condition can do to their physiological well-being.
Some complications that people need to be concerned about include:
- There is a significant increase in the risk of a heart attack.
- A person is also more likely to suffer a stroke when they have high blood pressure problems.
- Blood vessels in the eye can tear and become thickened. Sometimes, these blood vessels become narrower than normal. In turn, this can cause complications with a person’s vision.
- A patient is at risk of an aneurysm when they have high blood pressure. This happens due to the weakening of blood vessels. Arteries become weak due to the increased pressure placed on their walls.
- Arteries in the kidney scan also become narrow and weak. This can affect blood flow to the kidneys. In turn, the kidneys may fail to filter blood effectively. This can cause a person to suffer serious complications.
- Heart failure has also been linked to hypertension. This is a condition where the blood is not able to pump blood throughout the entire body. The disease often starts with the thickening of the pumping chamber in the heart. This is called left ventricular hypertrophy. Eventually, the heart’s muscle becomes weak.
- There is evidence that a connection exists between cognitive impairment and high blood pressure. A person with hypertension may find that their memory function is adversely affected. Some people also find that their ability to understand and think easily is adversely affected.
- Dementia also holds a link to high blood pressure. There is an increased risk of dementia and associated condition in patients with hypertension.
How Can You Naturally Lower Blood Pressure?
It is vital to have a good understanding of natural remedies and methods. This can help a person avoid the potential complications linked to the drugs used to treat hypertension. It also gives a person the ability to reduce the risks that have been linked to high blood pressure.
Below, we take a look at ten effective ways for a person to reduce blood pressure levels without the side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
Exercise has both direct and indirect effects on blood pressure regulation. Studies explain that exercise is really a critical component in the management of hypertension2. People with existing high blood pressure problems can take advantage of these benefits. Exercise also serves as a preventative tool.
Exercise also helps with the risk factors linked to hypertension. Adequate exercise helps a person maintain a healthy body weight. It also reduces the risk of obesity. Furthermore, stress can be reduced with frequent physical activities that become part of a person’s daily lifestyle.
According to the American Heart Association guidelines, adults should be getting Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both preferably spread throughout the week.
Physical activity should be implemented on at least three or four days per week. Improvements in hypertension can be observed within 12 weeks of an exercise program.
2) Lose Weight
Excess weight in the body causes several health problems. Obesity is considered a global health epidemic. Many research papers now refer to obesity as a disease. People who are obese have been found to be at a higher risk for many chronic diseases.
Studies also confirm a link between obesity and hypertension3. A person with too much excess weight in their body has a higher risk of experience an elevation in their blood pressure levels.
A reduction in body weight may be an effective strategy for reducing blood pressure levels. This is a critical part of naturally treating hypertension.
One study4 also confirms that weight loss effectively assists with the control of hypertension. The study was conducted on a group of patients who all had a BMI of 30 or higher. All participants in the study were older than 18. Even modest weight loss yields an effective reduction in blood pressure.
3) Reduce Stress
Stress is something that most people face in their daily lives. Stress comes from various sources. These include the professional and personal life of the person. When stress becomes chronic, it may cause specific health problems in a person.
One scientific paper5 explains that people with chronic stress are at a significantly higher risk of developing hypertension. Specific sources of stress mentioned in the study include occupational stress, low socioeconomic status, and stress related to the social environment.
It is important to reduce stress when it may be a contributing factor to high blood pressure. Exercise helps with reducing stress. High quality and adequate sleep are also important. Several relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises may also help a person reduce their stress levels.
4) Limit Sodium Intake
Sodium is a component of salt. It is found in quite a large number of foods that people eat today. The problem is, sodium is a major cause of hypertension throughout the world. Food that is high in sodium raises blood pressure.
When a person eats a diet that is generally high in sodium, they may start to experience a more chronic elevation in their blood pressure. This can contribute to hypertension.
One study6 looked at the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The researchers behind the study confirmed that reducing sodium intake is highly effective at lowering blood pressure levels. Additional benefits were also noted in the study. The risk of cardiovascular events was reduced in participants who followed a low-sodium diet instead.
One of the most important products to avoid would be processed foods. Reducing salt intake and knowing what foods to eat, is important. By considering foods that lower blood pressure, it is possible to reduce the damage hypertension deals to blood vessels.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) in particular has been scientifically proven to help reduce blood pressure. This is a low-salt diet that features plenty of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts.
A recent study demonstrated that higher adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet was related to reducing the risk of having a stroke compared to lower adherence.
5) Increase Potassium
Potassium is an electrolyte. It plays several roles in the human body. One of these includes the regulation of blood pressure. A lack of potassium in the blood circulatory system might be a contributing factor to hypertension. For this reason, an increase in potassium intake could help to counter such an adverse effect.
Potassium primarily assists in balancing out any harmful salts that may be present in the person’s body7. Since sodium is a critical component in these salts, by improving the balance of salts, there may be less sodium in the bloodstream.
Bananas are most commonly mentioned when looking to increase potassium. Many other foods can help too. Other potassium-rich foods that people should consider include spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peas, mushrooms, dates, raisins, prunes, grapefruit, and honeydew. This is also easy to achieve on plant-based diets.
6) Drink Less Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption is hazardous for the health of the human body. People who drink too much alcohol are at risk of several complications. One of these includes high blood pressure.
When a lot of alcohol is consumed, it may cause a racing heartbeat. The alcohol also causes a spike in blood pressure levels. People who consume a lot of alcohol frequently may find that this habit contributes to hypertension.
Studies find that both moderate and excessive intake of alcohol is associated with an increased risk of hypertension8.
A total of 7,655 people participated in this study. There was a significant increase in the prevalence of hypertension among men who frequently consumed alcohol. The prevalence further increased among men who reported excessive alcohol consumption.
7) Cut Back On Sugar
Most people do not realize that sugar can also affect blood pressure levels. There are different ways in which this connection exists.
Excessive sugar consumption adds empty calories to the body. This essentially leads to the development of obesity. Excess weight gain means a person is at a higher risk for hypertension.
Newer studies also suggest that there may be a more direct connection too. One study showed the effects of sugar on the cardiovascular system.
The study focused on adverse effects that were not a complication of the weight gain caused by excessive sugar consumption9. With this in mind, it means cutting back on sugar is especially important for people with existing high blood pressure.
8) Quit Smoking
Smoking is an extremely unhealthy habit, yet millions of people light up more than just one cigarette each day. Smoking causes a lot of damage to the human body. The damage is caused by the chemicals added to cigarettes. The blood circulatory is among the many systems that are damaged in the process.
Studies have linked smoking to a significant increase in the risk of hypertension10. The prevalence of high blood pressure is much higher among smokers when the data is compared to non-smokers.
People who quit smoking are likely to experience a reduction in their blood pressure levels. There may also be a lower risk of other conditions when this habit is stopped. This includes a lower risk of adverse cardiovascular events.
9) Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a great way to get the day started. It also helps a person keep awake when working late at night. There are certain benefits linked to drinking coffee too. The problem is, many people consume far too much caffeine on a daily basis. This can cause the person to be at a higher risk for high blood pressure too.
One study11 considered five previous clinical trials that were performed. The idea was to get a better view of the effects of caffeine on blood pressure levels.
The researchers conclude that caffeine causes an increase in blood pressure levels. The effects of caffeine on blood pressure seem to occur rather quickly after consumption too.
10) Consider Herbs And Natural Supplements
Certain herbal supplements may also be useful when it comes to gaining more control over blood pressure. It is important to be careful when using these supplements. Not all of them have been equally studied in clinical trials and other scientific environments.
Still, there are a couple of options that have been shown as effective in treating hypertension naturally.
Some of the best herbal supplements that may be helpful in the management of high blood pressure include:
Elevated blood pressure levels lead to a condition known as hypertension. The condition often does not cause a patient to experience early symptoms. Damage is still dealt with blood vessels even when no symptoms are present.
There are several treatment options for patients with high blood pressure. Antihypertensive medications have been associated with side-effects that can be unpleasant.
Men can experience erectile problems when they use these drugs. Natural treatments are also available. We discussed ten options for people asking how to lower blood pressure naturally. These options do not cause the side-effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs that treat high blood pressure.