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Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 17th, 2008


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Unravelling The DHEA Hypertension Connection

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 13th, 2008


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How Do I Know if I Have a Normal Blood Pressure Reading

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 10th, 2008

There are a number of different ways that a person can check if they have a normal blood pressure reading.  They can either visit their doctor or medical advisor, or a health visitor can take a reading for them using a sphygmomanometer or they can do it themselves using one of the many home blood pressure monitoring kits that have come on the market in recent years.

The traditional sphygmomanometer you find in your doctors and the home monitoring kits available today all work on the same principle.

They will often include a cuff, which you place around your arm (usually half way between the shoulder and the elbow) and some form of pump in order to put air into the cuff to exert pressure on the arteries so the blood pressure reading can then be taken.

Traditionally the monitor you see in your doctor’s surgery has a glass or plastic tube with numbers on either side and contained within this tube is mercury, which rises as the cuff is inflated.

When taking a reading the doctor will use the numbers on the left-hand side of the tube to provide the systolic pressure and the numbers on the right hand side of the tube to provide a diastolic reading.

The systolic reading refers to the arterial pressure when the heart contracts and pumps blood, the diastolic reading refers to the arterial pressure when the heart is at rest between contractions.

Home monitoring kits come with digital read outs, and sometimes print outs that can make understanding the reading easier for some.

Blood pressure is normally given in ranges, and can vary from country to country.  Below are the ranges for the US:

Normal blood pressure is when a reading is less than 120/85mmHg

PreHypertension is when a person has a systolic reading of between 120 – 139 OR a diastolic reading of between 80-89mmHg

And people are considered as hypertensive if they have a systolic blood pressure reading of greater that 140 OR a diastolic reading of greater than 90.

Both the systolic and diastolic numbers are important, and if either fall into the range for prehypertension and hypertension then there is cause for concern.

Compared to 20 or 30 years ago, more and more people are being diagnosed with high blood pressure.  The main causes seem to relate to the kind of lives we lead, which have become much more sedentary (less physical activity being undertaken) as well as worsening dietary habits.

As we are now all leading very stress filled lives we rely on convenience foods that can be high in sodium and fat and are often highly processed.  All of these are factors that increase the risk of turning a normal blood pressure reading in to one that is elevated.

Plus, if you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to manage and maintain a normal high blood pressure reading.

 

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Are You on Your Way to Malignant Hypertension?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 6th, 2008

Malignant hypertension is when a person has very high blood pressure, and it is usually accompanied by a swelling of the optic nerve called papilledema, and can also lead to major organ damage.  In most cases the person’s blood pressure readings will be over 240 and 120 for their systolic and diastolic readings respectively.  

It is more common among people of African origin, but it can also affect those people who smoke heavily. Also, there is about 1% risk that if you have high blood pressure you may go on to develop malignant hypertension.

Unfortunately malignant hypertension does not restrict itself to a specific age group or gender; young children, young adults and pregnant women could all be susceptible to this problem as well.

As this particular condition is difficult to control (meaning bringing the blood pressure back down to a level that is considered to be normal) it can cause damage to other vital organs in the body as well, including the heart, brain, eyes, kidneys or a person’s blood vessels.  In most cases the damage caused to the major organs and the arteries can be irreparable.

Many people who suffer with this form of hypertension will very often exhibit certain symptoms such as headaches and vomiting.  Whilst for others they may find that they do not produce as much urine as normal.

Other symptoms include abnormal feelings in their limbs (arms and legs) as well as other areas of the body.  Plus there are the chances that a person will have problems with their vision becoming blurred or fuzzy.

A number of people may show some psychological and mental symptoms, including suffering with anxiety, and have difficulty becoming settled (restless), whilst others will be the complete opposite and feel sluggish and find it difficult to concentrate.

Another symptom of malignant hypertension includes chest pains and difficulty breathing (in some cases a cough may also be present) and potentially a general weakness in the body.

If caught early and immediate medical attention is administered to lower the elevated blood pressure, then damage can be minimized.  However, if the condition is allowed to continue, and the person effected does not seek immediate medical attention vital organs are likely to become damaged which can lead to severe complications or even death.

It cannot be stressed enough that if a person has not had their blood pressure checked recently, or they are showing the symptoms of hypertension then they should seek medical advice immediately.

The treatment of malignant high blood pressure needs to be carried out carefully.  The doctor will be aware that it is important to bring the elevated blood pressure under control as soon as possible.  But if the blood pressure is reduced too rapidly, then this can also cause complications for the person.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter> and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to manage and maintain a normal high blood pressure reading.

 


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High Blood Pressure Control What can you do to gain control over hypertension?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 3rd, 2008

So, what does someone need to do in order to gain the high blood pressure control they seek?  In this article we will take a look at the various steps a person should take in order to get the right balance in their lives so they are able to lower their blood pressure and keep it low.

The first thing a person should do, and probably the simplest is to regularly have blood pressure readings taken to ensure that they are showing a improvement over time with their efforts.  Blood pressure checks can be carried out by either visiting their doctor or health professional, or they can do it at home with a home blood pressure monitoring kit. 

These particular kits do exactly the same job as the blood pressure monitor you see at your doctors, but it means that measurements can be taken on a more regular basis and at the same time of the day to avoid natural daily fluctuations that can skew the readings. Although it is worth taking your machine into the doctors to ensure that the two readings are similar to give you a baseline to work from.

If a person is overweight and has been diagnosed with high blood pressure they should start to follow a diet and exercise plan that sheds the excess pounds. One of the major causes of high blood pressure is because people are overweight or obese. This places additional stress on the heart as it needs to work harder in order to get the blood around the body to all those essential organs and areas of the body that need the nutrients, minerals, vitamins and oxygen that it is carrying.

Generally after you have been diagnosed with having high blood pressure your doctor may provide you with a diet that can help reduce blood pressure levels, which is low in salt/ sodium, low in fat and processed foods and high in fruit and vegetables. 

Regular physical activity is also advised, as it will help reduce the weight, suppress appetite and lower blood pressure.  Even a few minutes per day can make a difference to blood pressure levels. It is important to carry out activities that elevate the heart rate, as cardiovascular exercises have the most beneficial impact on blood pressure levels.  Although, if it has been a while since a person has exercised, or they are overweight, then they should get a physical examination before starting an exercise regime.

Recommended exercises include brisk walks, swimming and bike riding.  Start out slowly and then gradually build up when your body feels comfortable.

A doctor may prescribe hypertension medication for the condition.  These are generally used to quickly bring high blood pressure to within more normal levels, however, without lifestyle changes the levels may soon rise again.

Ensure that any medication prescribed is taken as instructed.  The biggest cause of malignant hypertension (a very severe form of hypertension) is caused by misuse, or not following prescriptions correctly.

For many people, making lifestyle changes and removing the habits that increase the risk of elevated blood pressure levels, and choosing “healthier” habits, and dietary choices they will soon start to achieve the high blood pressure control they seek.

Plus, if you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to maintain blood pressure control.

 

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How to Lower Blood Pressure

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on December 27th, 2007

If you are trying to discover how to lower blood pressure, and are interested in the natural ways that people can successfully regulate blood pressure, then this article should help clarify some of the steps that can make a difference.

However, before we go into the methods that can be employed to lower blood pressure, it is important to clarify an important point.  If a person has been diagnosed with high blood pressure and been prescribed medication, then it is vital to follow though with the prescription, or at least speak to a doctor to before you go ahead and make any changes.

It is estimated that about 50% of people who are prescribed hypertension medication do not follow the prescription as instructed, either coming off the medication or being confused about what to take.

This may be because high blood pressure normally shows either mild or no symptoms, unless it is severe, which also goes to explain why it is believed that about a third of the people with hypertension go undiagnosed as they are not aware that they have the condition.

The highest recorded number of malignant hypertension cases come from those that do not follow medication as prescribed, either due to a rebound effect or through the continued escalation of the condition.  Malignant hypertension is when the blood pressure is very high, and there is a very high risk of damage being caused to the body.

Work in partnership with your doctor if prescribed medications.  They should understand, or be able to establish the risk of any complications that may arise.

Relieving high blood pressure, when done naturally can be for some the best approach, particularly if they have adverse reactions to hypertension medication drugs.  It is also an approach that can be integrated into a persons lifestyle and therefore have an ongoing preventative action to reduce the risk of future hypertension.

The increase in cases of hypertension, particularly over the last twenty years has been linked to the increased consumption of diets that are high in sodium/ salt, high in processed foods, and high in fat.  There is also a link to the increasing number of people carrying out sedentary jobs and increased stress and anxiety that seems to becoming more prevalent.  Also, lifestyle habits like smoking and excessive drinking and taking recreational drugs have had an additional impact on the ever-increasing numbers.

Having a diet that has a high salt/ sodium content will encourage the body to retain water, and so increase the amount of blood the heart has to pump.  This adds strain to the heart, but also increases blood pressure.

Many processed foods are high in sodium/ salt as its used as a flavouring and also a preservative. Labels should always be checked for content.

Instead of adding salt to foods for flavour, try adding garlic and cayenne pepper.  Garlic in particular has been identified as a natural food that can help reduce high blood pressure.

Increase the amount of fiber in the diet by increasing the volume of fruits and vegetables eaten. Fruits and vegetables should replace the higher fat foods and as they are rich in potassium and magnesium (minerals that may help reduce high blood pressure) they are good additions to any diet.

When cooking, steam rather than boil or roast, as this will ensure that the levels of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as the fiber that your body needs will remain high.

Aim for 5 to 8 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.  The best way of ensuring that you are getting the right amount for each serving is by placing you hand into a fist and each serving should be about the same size as your fist.

There are many other natural ways to reduce blood pressure, including the use of specific herbs, exercise, changes to lifestyle and additional changes to diet that can make a marked improvement to blood pressure levels.

When researching how to lower blood pressure effectively, it is worth making sure the information you get is applicable to your personal situation. However, it is useful to note many of the natural approaches adopted by people with high blood pressure can be introduced alongside any medication a person may have been prescribed and will only amplify the beneficial effects. Talk to your doctor about any changes you plan on making.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find more information on how to lower high blood pressure naturally.

 

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What Are the 4 Main High Blood Pressure Symptons?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on December 20th, 2007

We wish our readers a very happy Christmas and holiday season, and a peaceful – and healthy – 2008. 

It is estimated that a third of those with high blood pressure have never been diagnosed and are unaware of that they have the condition. This is because high blood pressure symptons can be mild, or non-existent, which is one of the reasons that it has been called the “silent killer” 

Unfortunately very few symptoms are likely to manifest themselves until the condition is in its more advance stages of development.  Therefore it is important that those who are especially at risk of developing high blood pressure whether from another medical condition, or through a history of people in the family suffering from it, should ensure that they have their blood pressure checked regularly.

Other groups of people who have an increased risk of high blood pressure include people who are either overweight or considered obese, those that are over the age of 40 and those that suffer with diabetes.

However, if there is no history in your family of a person either suffering from high blood pressure or you do not have any other medical condition that may cause this problem there are other symptoms you should be aware of.  These are as follows:-

1. Headaches and migraines
2. Dizziness and confusion
3. Problems with your vision (generally it becomes blurred).
4. Nosebleeds - If you have never suffered with them before or they have become regular then this should start to raise alarm bells in you.

If you suffer from either one or a combination of these symptoms then it is time that you seek the advice of your doctor or health professional.  Generally within a few minutes of being with your doctor they will be able to confirm whether you are suffering from high blood pressure or not.

Diagnosing high blood pressure is very easy, as it only required a blood pressure monitoring machine. Yet the side effects of high blood pressure listed above can easily be dismissed by the sufferer as unimportant and lead the to the problem becoming worse or causing further damage to a person’s health.

However, about 1% of all patients who have high blood pressure will discover that it rises very quickly.  In this case they are usually suffering from what is called “malignant hypertension” and this can a life-threatening problem and should be treated with the utmost urgency. Thankfully it is quite rare.

Those people who suffer regularly with high blood pressure which can not be controlled or have a history of heart problems, especially heart failure are at a higher risk of suffering malignant hypertension. Anyone who suffers with this and finds that they become drowsy or confused, that they have headaches, they feel sick or nauseous and they are losing their vision then they should make arrangements to see their doctor immediately.

It is important that in this day and age, when high blood pressure is almost at epidemic proportions, people are made more aware of high blood pressure symptons so they may get the right diagnosis as soon as possible and not leave it until it is too late. 

Plus, if you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to recognize and treat high blood pressure symptoms.

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Are High Blood Pressure and Anxiety Disorders Linked?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on December 6th, 2007

There seems to be a common belief that high blood pressure is related to emotional factors such as stress and anxiety that a person feels.  However, this is often not the cause of elevated blood pressure in most people.  Whilst there does seem to be a link between high blood pressure and anxiety there are many other factors that can impact on a persons blood pressure levels.

There are considered to be two categories of hypertension (high blood pressure), they are essential or primary, and secondary high blood pressure.  Secondary, as the name suggests is hypertension that is caused by a recognizable medical condition like kidney disease.

Essential (or primary) hypertension is usually only diagnosed once investigation has determined there is no medical condition present that could trigger the elevated blood pressure levels.

There are considered to be a number of risk factors associated with hypertension, and they include some factors that cannot be changed including:

How old a person is
A person’s race, African Americans have greater risk of elevated blood pressure than Caucasians.
If there is a family history of hypertension

There are also other risks that have been identified, including:

Being overweight or obese
Being Diabetic
Eating a diet high in salt or a saturated fat
Inactivity and / or poor fitness levels
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism
High levels of stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can trigger our fight or flight response.  This is the response that allowed our ancestors to run from danger or heighten their reactions to fight wild animals.

Not much has changed, and when faced with stressful situation or one that makes us anxious we secrete epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol.  And it is these hormones that increase blood pressure by increasing the speed the heart beats and constricting the blood vessels

So, it is believed that anxiety can raise the blood pressure levels in short spikes, but that they will then return to normal.  However, there can be problems with people who have anxiety disorders or depression, as if these spikes happen to often (due to an over reactive nervous system potentially) then damage can occur in the same way as hypertension that is caused by other risk factors.

So, the risk of damaged blood vessels, kidney and heart problems increase over time if the person continues to be faced with conditions, which elevate their blood pressure.

Also, people who suffer with depression or a General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) may turn to certain crutches to help them cope with a stressful situation. Including eating excessively, or choosing the wrong foods, smoking, or drinking too much alcohol, which can of course increase the risk of higher blood pressure and heart problems.

Many people have witnessed the effect of anxiety or stress, when ‘White Coat’ Hypertension effects them.  Elevated blood pressure can occur when a patient is visiting their doctor and their blood pressure when read is consistently higher than when they have taken a reading in a non-stressful environment.   In fact in studies carried out it has been suggested that as many as 10-20% of all patients will experience ‘White Coat’ Hypertension. 

So, it seems clear that a connection can be made between a person suffering from high blood pressure and anxiety.  However, anxiety is usually not the main factor causing the elevated high blood pressure, it just contributes to it.

Take a look at this post - Handling High Blood Pressure and Anxiety -  for suggestions on ways to overcome anxiety.

Plus, if you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to manage potential hypertension complications like the link between high blood pressure and anxiety.

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How To Get An Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 29th, 2007

It is very quick and easy for a doctor to check your blood pressure by using a sphygmomanometer, which consists of a gauge, a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff.  Generally your doctor will take a reading whilst you are either sat or laid down so that you are as relaxed as possible.  However in order for them to get an accurate reading you should consider the following prior to your visit to the doctors.

1.  If you smoke you should stop smoking around 30 minutes before you are due to have your blood pressure checked. 

2.  You should also stop drinking coffee 30 minutes before it is checked as well.

3.  If at all possible wear a top with short sleeves, as the doctor needs to place the cuff around the top part of the arm.

4.  Also ensure that your bladder is empty before the doctor takes a reading as this can alter the results.

5.  Before going into the doctor’s surgery ensure you arrive in good time to sit quietly in the waiting area for 5 minutes to relax, especially if you had to walk or there was physical exertion on the way to the surgery.

6.  Finally, once the reading has been taken you should ask either doctor or nurse to tell you what the reading is in numbers and what it means.

Many people will go for years without realizing that they are suffering from high blood pressure, as they have shown no signs or symptoms.

It is only if the condition begins to develop further that recognizable symptoms can be seen, although, these signs and symptoms can often be confused with other medical conditions.

Once the condition becomes more developed people may suddenly find that they begin to suffer with the following problems more regularly.

1.  Headaches

2.  Dizziness (Dizzy spells)

3.  Nosebleeds

But these particular high blood pressure signs do not actually appear until the condition has reached the advance stage when it can actually become life threatening.

If untreated, high blood pressure can lead to very serious diseases like heart disease, kidney failure and strokes, and these conditions will have their own secondary symptoms.

It is especially important that if you have diabetes or constantly suffer from either anxiety or stress you regularly get your blood pressure monitored.  Also it is important that if you begin to notice any of the high blood pressure signs mentioned above to make an appointment to see your doctor who will be able diagnose the problems and identify an appropriate treatment plan for you.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to ensure you stay within the correct blood pressure range.

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Which Blood Pressure Equipment To Have At Home?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 15th, 2007

The mercury sphygmomanometer is the most common piece of blood pressure equipment you are likely to see.  Certainly when you walk in to your doctor’s surgery it is usually a feature, and a standard piece of equipment which is taken out at what seems like every opportunity…

The concern that most doctors have about high blood pressure in their patients is understandable.  The numbers of cases of people with high blood pressure is on the rise, with the blame being put squarely on our westernized lifestyles of low activity, a diet rich in sodium, high in fat and processed foods, and busy stressful schedules. 

Although the incidence of high blood pressure diagnosed on the increase, there are many people who are not diagnosed, as there are few symptoms to show that a person has high blood pressure unless it becomes chronic.  This is why it is called the “silent killer”

So, this is why a doctor will take blood pressure of a patient, it seems at any given opportunity, as this is currently the best way of telling if someone has high blood pressure.

If high blood pressure is spotted there are some effective steps that need to be taken to lower blood pressure as soon as possible, as it is the elevated blood pressure that can cause damage to arteries and major organs.

The mercury sphygmomanometer is slowly being replaced by automated equipment, but it is still used by many physicians because it is durable, easy to read and in most cases will not need any readjustment even if it has been used for years.  It relies on gravity to ensure that it provides the user with a consistent and accurate reading at all times.

They have a long tubular gauge, which is often made from either glass or plastic, which contains mercury.  Generally, this type of equipment is not recommended for home use, as it can be bulky and if the mercury leaks it can be a hazard. However there are some versions which have been especially designed for home use, which are both lightweight and relatively safe. 

Most models use a D cuff and a separate stethoscope to help in the reading process.  However the models that are used at home generally come with a D cuff that has a stethoscope attached to it so that it is convenient for a person to use themselves and so they will be able to take their own blood pressure reading. 

There are some disadvantages to using a home mercury sphygmomanometer.  The first being is that they can be bulky to carry, there is padding to ensure that it can survive a few gentle knocks, but this can make it harder to transport. Also, when travelling abroad there may be the need to declare that toxic substances are being transported.

You will also need it to be a position that you can read it easily (eye level is best) to ensure that the reading you take is accurate.

Plus, unfortunately, because of its design the mercury may not work as well for those people who have either a visual or hearing impediment.  It is also not the right kind of equipment to be used by people who can not carry out the hand movement required to squeeze the bulb to inflate the D cuff.  In this case an automatic machine that has a built in pump would be a better option.

If you are intent on having some form of blood pressure equipment at home, then consider an automated machine.  They have shown to require less manual manipulation and can include functions to make reading blood pressure easier like automatic inflation and a digital read out.

For more details on automated blood pressure monitors go here:
Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors

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