Archive for May, 2007

Eating Celery for High Blood Pressure

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on May 31st, 2007

There are a number of traditional supplements and foods that impact on the blood pressure in the body.  This article considers eating celery for high blood pressure reduction, and how someone looking to reduce their blood pressure can use this food.

Followers of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) will already know that celery has been used for many years as a method for lowering high blood pressure.

There has also been some recent research carried out that supports this claim.  A study was conducted on animals and it was found that an intake equal to the equivalent of 4 sticks of celery for humans would lower their blood pressure by about 12%.

Now, as with any study, this was carried out in controlled environment, and each person’s reaction to eating celery will be different and results will depend upon their lifestyle and the rest of their diet.

The active ingredient in celery that has this blood pressure reducing effect is called 3-n-butylphthalide, and celery is a rich natural source of this compound.  The phthalide is known to relax the muscles in the arteries that have the job of regulating blood pressure.  This allows the vessels to dilate.

Phthalide is also known to lower the levels of the stress hormones, which are proven to increase blood pressure and cause the blood vessels to constrict.

Celery is also a natural diuretic and when taken in conjunction with a person using high blood pressure medication it can actually improve the effectiveness of the medication.  This can have the added benefit of them being able to reduce the levels of medication they have to take, or go for a medication that is less strong and potentially has less risky side effects. 

In fact, for many centuries now people have not only being eating sticks of celery itself but also taking the oil made from it to reduce high blood pressure levels.

Although oriental medicine practitioners who are treating patients with hypertension or high blood pressure may recommend up to half a pound of celery each day. It is highly suggested that you only eat no more than 4 stalks of celery each day. 

Until that is, the benefits of celery have been further investigated and researched. The warning comes because celery contains sodium, a compound that raises blood pressure, in addition to other chemicals that could potentially be toxic in high doses.

Studies carried out at the University of Chicago into using celery for high blood pressure have shown some astounding results.  They carried out tests on animals and some were fed on celery extracts whilst the others were not.  They were generally fed the equivalent of 2 stalks of celery each day and in those fed the celery it was found that their blood pressure levels went down around 12% - 14% in total, compared to no change in those animals that where given no celery extract.

So, eating celery for high blood pressure is not a definitively proven solution to hypertension, but as part of a sensible, healthy diet and lifestyle it makes sense to further explore how it can help you – But only after consulting your treating physician first.

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 out about other alternative medicine high blood pressure resources.

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Handling High Blood Pressure and Anxiety

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on May 24th, 2007

There is a link between high blood pressure and anxiety.  When we feel anxious one of our body’s natural responses is to raise blood pressure.  While this temporary spike in blood pressure is normal and usually not dangerous, anxiety can become a problem if it affects our lifestyle choices or is persistent. 

For instance, when people are anxious they tend to resort to unhealthy habits such as overeating, indulging in alcohol, and smoking, all of which can dramatically increase a person’s high blood pressure risk. 

In addition, recurrent and frequent temporary episodes of high blood pressure and anxiety can eventually lead to the same damaging results to the blood vessels, kidneys and heart, typically caused by prolonged hypertension.

Therefore, since there are many other high blood pressure risk factors, there is no reason why you should add anxiety to the list.  The following are 5 tips you can put into practice to help relieve your high blood pressure and anxiety.

1. Focus your attention on one project at a time – Instead of trying to multitask, focus all your attention on completing one task at a time.  When your mind is fully absorbed on one task, you put all your mental and emotional efforts into the job at hand, which stops your mind from wondering and becoming overwhelmed with other thoughts, priorities and demands. The more overwhelmed a person feels, the less productive they are, and the more their anxiety grows. 

2. Learn to say “No” – If you go out of your way to try and please everyone, you’ll stretch yourself too thin and be living in a constant state of high blood pressure and anxiety.  Over-committing yourself stretches you beyond your physical and emotional limits, causing you to become fatigued, stressed, overworked and rundown – all factors that lead to anxiety.  You need to learn to say “No” to others who are asking more of your time than you can handle or are willing to give. 

3. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake – Both alcohol and caffeine can worsen anxiety.  Therefore, when you are feeling anxious, refrain from ingesting caffeinated products including chocolate, coffee, tea, and soda.  In regards to high blood pressure and anxiety and alcohol, one may think that since consuming alcohol reduces feelings of anxiety, this would be an ideal method.  The truth is, while alcohol may suppress feelings of anxiety, it increases the risk of high blood pressure and depression.  Thus, it is imperative to your health that you never use alcohol as a remedy for relieving anxiety as this can become a bad and deadly habit.

4. Breathe Deep – Deep breathing exercises are an excellent way to focus the mind and calm anxiety episodes.  Here is one type of deep breathing exercise you can try:
 Take a deep breath by inhaling through your nose and slowly count to four while you inhale.
 Hold your breath for a count of three
 Exhale slowly through your mouth and count down from four while you exhale.
 Repeat four times

5. Engage in regular exercise - Exercise is an excellent stress reliever.  It helps to clear your mind and improve your mental outlook on life.  Exercise helps improve your sleep and increases your physical stamina.  When you exercise, your body releases endorphins; chemicals that make your body feel good.  Studies have found that people who engage in long term exercise programs (I.E. 30 minutes of daily exercise) increase their ability to cope with stress. 

Moreover, don’t forget that exercise also helps maintain healthy weight levels, as being overweight increases a person’s risk of hypertension.  However, you should first speak to your doctor before engaging in any exercise regimen.

Should you have difficulty controlling your anxiety on your own, you may want to speak with your doctor about seeking help from a qualified therapist, because the bottom line is you need to get your high blood pressure and anxiety under control.

If you haven’t already, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage your high
blood pressure symptoms
. You can also find more ways to control high blood pressure and anxiety here.

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Considering Taking Saw Palmetto for High Blood Pressure?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on May 17th, 2007

Even though certain herbs such as St. John’s Wort may not be ideal for treating hypertension, some herbs such as saw palmetto for high blood pressure may be an option for those interested in using a more natural remedy to treat their condition. 

What is saw palmetto and how can it lower blood pressure?  Saw palmetto (botanical name: Serenoa Repens) is a small ever-green palm plant that is found in America.  The berries of the plant contain the active ingredients used for herbal medicine.  Although it is recommended and primarily used for its effectiveness in treating an enlarged prostrate in men caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), saw palmetto for high blood pressure treatment isn’t completely uncommon. 

Reasons why this herb is used to treat high blood pressure, in some cases, is because it is a diuretic herb that contains active anti-androgen properties that help reduce water retention and control high blood pressure.  Diuretic herbs have a direct effect on the body’s cells and tissues.  They increase blood flow to the kidneys, which in turn increase urination, allowing excess salt and toxins to be flushed out of the kidneys, which helps to lower overall blood pressure. 

Keep in mind, however, like water pills (prescribed diuretic medications), saw palmetto and other blood pressure reducing diuretic herbs, such as ginger, are generally used to treat mild cases of high blood pressure, and are used in combination with dietary changes, exercise, and possibly with other high blood pressure medications to control hypertension.

Although you will need to adopt other lifestyle changes to help reduce your blood pressure when taking saw palmetto for high blood pressure, you should know that some studies have found this herb to interact with certain antihypertensive drugs, such as terazosin, which are used to treat high blood pressure.  

In addition, due to its potential hormonal active ingredients, saw palmetto may also alter the effects of hormone replacement therapy and hormonal birth control.  Therefore, while saw palmetto may not interfere with all drugs, you should speak with your doctor to ensure this is a safe and effective treatment option for you.

Saw palmetto is taken orally and is available in tablet, capsule, tea and natural berry form.  You can find this herb at your local health store.  Both men and women may take this herb, although, due to the fact that it has the potential to affect hormones, pregnant women should not take this drug.  Saw palmetto should only be taken as directed by the package, or as recommended by a qualified herbalist or health care provider.

You should also be aware that while saw palmetto for high blood pressure is a possible treatment, in very rare cases some side effects of increased blood pressure have been reported by patients taking this herb. Other rare side effects include headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, decreased libido, impotence and urinary retention.  Therefore, always make sure you speak to your health care provider before using any herb or other form of treatment for your high blood pressure.

If you haven’t already, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage your high blood pressure symptoms. You can also find more information on saw palmetto for high blood pressure and other natural treatments here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Hypertension Caused by St Johns Wort?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on May 10th, 2007

It is important to be able to recognize the signs of high blood pressure, but it is also important to know what can cause blood pressure to increase, so you can avoid these factors if you a prone to hypertension.  For instance, not only can certain foods and medications impact your blood pressure, but so can some natural herbal remedies.  In fact, hypertension caused by St Johns Wort, a herb commonly used to treat mild depression, can be dangerous for those who suffer from or are prone to high blood pressure.

St Johns Wort is a bright, yellow flower.  Its petals are used as an herbal remedy that can be administered as a topical ointment for healing burns, but it is primarily used as an oral dietary supplement to treat mild depression. 

Studies have found that one of St Johns Wort’s active ingredients, hypericin, affects neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in a similar way as antidepressant medications.  The reason why the active ingredient is so effective is because it mirrors monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, which is the ingredient found in major antidepressant drugs.

How is hypertension caused by St Johns Wort?
St Johns Wort can cause an increase in blood pressure because the hypericin ingredient that is similar to a MAO inhibitor, produces a powerful and dangerous reaction when mixed with the amino acid tyramine. 

Reactions that can occur when tyramine is taken in excess with this herb include a fast rise in blood pressure, severe headaches, and irregular heartbeat.  However, it should be also stated that although these reactions can occur, there have not been frequent reports of such occurrences.

Nevertheless, until more is understood about the interaction, a person taking St Johns Wort should dramatically limit or avoid foods or beverages high in tyramine including:
 Aged, dried, smoked, pickled or processed fish or meats (I.E. bologna, salami, pepperoni, herring, etc.)
 Chicken liver
 Aged cheese
 Soy sauce
 Yeast/protein extracts
 Legumes
 Over-ripe fruit
 Figs or raisins
 Alcoholic beverages including ale, beer, red wines, sherry and liqueurs.

It is also suggested that individuals taking St Johns Wort also limit their intake of caffeine.

Moreover, aside from being aware of hypertension caused by St Johns Wort due to the tyramine interaction, you should also know that like all herbs, there is a risk that St Johns Wort may interact with other medications, including those used for controlling high blood pressure. 

In addition, some users of the herb have also reported St Johns Wort caused a spike in their blood pressure when other prescribed anti-depressant and over-the-counter medications were taken with it.

Although, studies have found there is only a small reaction when other medications are taken with St Johns Wort, until further research can conclude the side effects or risks involved it is highly recommended that those using St Johns Wort to treat mild depression not take any other form of medication and also have their blood pressure checked regularly.

Finally, since hypertension caused by St Johns Wort is a possibility, individuals with high blood pressure, who have previously had high blood pressure, or who are prone to the condition, should avoid taking this herb.  Speak to your doctor about other alternative remedies that do not increase the risk of high blood pressure if you suffer from mild depression.

If you haven’t already, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage your high blood pressure symptoms. You can also find more information on hypertension caused by St Johns Wort here.

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High Blood Pressure Signs You Should Be Aware Of

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on May 3rd, 2007

There are high blood pressure signs you should be aware of, regardless if you are taking birth control pills or not.  However, for most high blood pressure sufferers, recognizing signs can be easier said than done.  The reason is because high blood pressure generally has no symptoms due to the fact that the basic warning signs associated with it are extremely vague.

Nevertheless, the following are the basic warning high blood pressure signs you should be aware of:
Headaches
Dizziness
Nosebleeds
Flushed face
Fatigue.

As you can see, from the above list of symptoms, it is easy for someone to ignore or mistaken these symptoms as another problem.  This is why high blood pressure is commonly known as “the silent killer”, because for those who don’t receive regular blood pressure checkups, it usually isn’t until one experiences the more extreme symptoms that he/she seeks medical attention.

The following extreme high blood pressure signs occur if high blood pressure (blood pressure is equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg.)  has been persistent, severe and left untreated for a long time.  The symptoms are usually the result of damage that has been done to the brain, eyes, kidney and heart.  They include:
Severe unexplained headache
Fatigue
Restlessness
Nausea
Vomiting
Shortness of breath
Blurred vision
Chest pain or shortness of breath after slight exertion

More extreme signs include:
Eye damage and loss of vision
Organ failure – kidneys and/or heart fail
Heart attack
Stroke or a transient ischemic attack (better known as a mini stroke)
Aneurysm
Peripheral arterial disease
Brian swelling – this is rare but can cause drowsiness and coma.
Note: if you are experiencing any of the above extreme signs visit your hospital emergency department immediately.

How can high blood pressure be treated?
First of all, regardless if you have high blood pressure signs or not, always have your blood pressure checked annually, and inform you doctor if you have a family history of hypertension, kidney failure, heart attack or stroke, as this increases your risk.   

That being said, high blood pressure can be managed thorough lifestyle changes, but depending on the severity of the condition, some individuals may benefit from a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatment.

Lifestyle changes -
Food - Limit and eliminate food products that encourage high blood pressure including, table salt, cooking salt, salty and processed foods, foods high in saturated fat, sugary foods and drinks, caffeine and alcohol.
Quit smoking – Nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels to constrict, and increases blood pressure.
Exercise – Physical activity actually works to reduce blood pressure while inactivity increases blood pressure.  Exercise is a great way to keep your body healthy and strong, and is a fantastic way to lose and maintain a good weight.
Lose weight – If you are exceptionally overweight or obese you are putting excess pressure on your heart.  You must reduce your weight by incorporating regular exercise and healthy eating habits in your lifestyle.  Avoid crash diets as these can only make your condition worse.

Medication –
If your doctor feels you require medication to help control your high blood pressure signs, you may be prescribed medication to help relieve the stress that is being placed on your heart, organs and blood vessels including: diuretics (water pills), beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), angiotensin–converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, Alpha–blockers, etc.

Remember although medications can help, lifestyle changes are essential for controlling high blood pressure.

It is vital that you realize high blood pressure can go undetected for years and cause no symptoms while still damaging the blood vessels, heart and other organs.  Therefore, if you suspect you have high blood pressure signs, are unsure if you do, or even if you don’t, always visit your health care provider annually to have your blood pressure checked.  Monitoring your blood pressure, and taking action to control it when it’s high, is the only way you can protect yourself from the silent killer.

If you haven’t already, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage your high blood pressure symptoms. You can also find more ways of recognizing the high blood pressure signs  here.
 

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