Archive for August, 2007

So What Vegetables Help to Lower Blood Pressure?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on August 30th, 2007

There is a common belief that changing our diets if we are diagnosed with high blood pressure can help.  Some people have suggested that having a diet that includes more vegetables can help.  But is this true and if so, what vegetables help to lower blood pressure?

The number of people being diagnosed with high blood pressure is on the rise each year.  This increase is being blamed on the many unhealthy lifestyle options that are available to those in industrialized nations, and the concern is that as other countries become more “westernized” they too will suffer with the same growth in high blood pressure.

It is believed that by the year 2025 there will be approximately 1.56 billion people who have high blood pressure.  Many of them will not know they have the condition, as there are no symptoms unless the condition is acute (this is why it is often referred to as the silent killer).

The diagnosis of high blood pressure is actually very simple for a doctor.  It takes only a couple of minutes to conduct a blood pressure check in the surgery, or there are home blood pressure monitors that are available that can be used.

Once the doctor has reached a diagnosis of hypertension or pre hypertension, then dependent upon the severity of the symptoms, they will suggest a combination of medication, dietary and lifestyle changes.

Some of the lifestyle changes that are often recommend include:

- Stop smoking – it can injure blood vessels and increase the speed at which arteries harden.
- Reduce or stop drinking alcohol – People who drink excessive alcohol have an increased risk of high blood pressure, and the risk increases with the more alcohol that is consumed.
- Stop drinking coffee – Coffee has a mild impact on blood pressure, raising it slightly.  However, if a person suffers with high blood pressure then anything that raises blood pressure further should be avoided.
- Lose weight – if a person is overweight, then losing weight helps to lower blood pressure
- Exercise – whether a person is overweight or not can reduce blood pressure levels.

As well as the above, a diet specifically tailored to lower blood pressure has shown to be enormously beneficial, especially in those people who are overweight.  It normally consists of a diet that restricts sodium and high fat foods, relying more on fresh fruits, vegetables and high starch/ carbohydrate foods (although not sugary foods).

Also, foods that contain potassium have shown to be beneficial, as potassium helps regulate blood pressure. A study carried out on 17,000 adults showed that appropriate levels of potassium from vegetables and fruit can help lower blood pressure.  Foods, which are rich in potassium, include potatoes, avocados and bananas.

Also it is important that you eat as little processed food as possible as these often contain high amounts of hidden sodium which can exacerbate a person’s high blood pressure rather than lowering it. 

Also, a small study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that nitrates which are contained in many vegetables lower blood pressure.  Vegetables that are rich in nitrates include spinach and lettuce.

Other vegetables considered as helpful as part of a diet to lower blood pressure include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, artichokes as well as zucchini (courgette), lima beans and legumes such as chickpeas and lentils. These particular vegetables contain high levels of potassium and magnesium.  Both of which are essential to the human body and which help to lower blood pressure.

So when looking at what vegetables help to lower high blood pressure there should perhaps be a bias to those that contain high levels of potassium or magnesium or both. Talk to your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

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 what vegetables help to lower high blood pressure.

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Discover All About CoQ10 in Treatment of Hypertension

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on August 23rd, 2007

A number of studies have pointed to the fact that the addition of a simple supplement to the diet may go some way to alleviating high blood pressure.  So, is there a place for CoQ10 in treatment of hypertension?

Hypertension is one of the leading causes of disability or death in many “industrialized” nations, including the US, UK and Western Europe.  The complications from untreated hypertension can include a stroke, heart attack or kidneys failure. Currently around $10 billion each year in the US is being spent on the detection and treatment of hypertension.

The cost of medical treatment and the increasing interest in being responsible for our own health, and in some part the distrust we have for prescription medication and their potential side effects, has led a lot of people to look for more natural alternatives.

CoQ10 is a substance that naturally resides in our cells, found in the mitochondria, which is the part of the cell that is responsible for producing the energy the cell requires to function.  CoQ10 is involved in the creation of ATP, which is an important molecule and serves as the cells major energy source, and controls a number of functions like muscle contractions and protein production.

Normally the human body contains around 500-1500mg of Coq10 but as we grow older this amount slowly begins to decrease.  C0Q10 is also an antioxidant, which sweeps up free radicals in the body, which can damage cells and tamper with DNA, and also cause cell death.
 
CoQ10 was discovered over 40 years ago, and since that time a number of studies have been carried out to identify how it can be beneficial to our health.

During more recent research it was found that those people who have either suffered heart failure, are obese or have some kind of gum disease can often have insufficient Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in their bodies. 

Plus a CoQ10 deficiency has been implicated as being a potential cause for people with hypertension, those who have heart attacks or strokes or people suffering with muscular dystrophy – although further research is required to confirm this.

One of the more compelling studies is a 12 week, placebo controlled trial, which concluded that after the 12 weeks had elapsed those that took 60mg of CoQ10 twice per day had a mean reduction in systolic blood pressure.

In another study, which involved 78 people with type 2 diabetes, the findings concluded that CoQ10 significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and that coQ10 was well tolerated and did not interfere with the medication being taken for hyperglycaemia.

There seems to be compelling evidence that CoQ10, in treatment of hypertension, can be beneficial.  However, there needs to be more research to better understand if this is because there is a deficiency in CoQ10 which is causing the elevated blood pressure, or it helps reduce blood pressure even in those that are not deficient. Talk to you doctor before starting any supplement regime.

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 including more diuretic for high blood pressure options.

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Why Diuretic for High Blood Pressure Treatment Works

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on August 16th, 2007

Treatment with a diuretic for high blood pressure relief works by increasing the amount of water and sodium excreted by the kidneys.

There are various different types of diuretics available and each one works differently, with each diuretic interacting with the kidneys to increase the rate of urine discharge.

Diuretics have become one of the more common medications prescribed for treating high blood pressure.  They are often used in conjunction with other blood pressure medication to amply the effect and bring the blood pressure back to normal levels.

They are also prescribing to patients who have suffered heart failure, or suffer from edema (swelling of the legs due to water retention). 

Diuretics work by encouraging the kidneys to expel water from the blood.  This means that less pressure is being placed on the artery walls, which results in the blood pressure levels reducing.

There are three main types of diuretics and they are generally used in different circumstances, and each one has its own strengths and side effects.

There are also some natural diuretics that are often used by nutritionists, homeopaths and dieticians that have been shown to help people with mild hypertension. Dandelion root, Dried corn silk and parsley are three options often recommended. However, it is important to seek the advice of your doctor to ensure that any natural or alternative treatments being taken do not interfere with medication you may have been prescribed.

Irrespective of the diuretic used, it is important that the medication does not mask the important step of finding out the root cause of your high blood pressure.

There can be a number of reasons for high blood pressure, including a persons lifestyle, their diet, habits (like smoking), and any medication they may be taking.

There are also certain illnesses that can cause hypertension, especially kidney disease, endocrine disease and heart disease.

Also, there has been shown to be a genetic link to blood pressure.  The family history of a sufferer is often investigated to see if any close relatives have suffered from high blood pressure previously.

Identifying the cause of the blood pressure will allow for sensible changes to be introduced to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

Although taking a diuretic for high blood pressure relief, along with other medicine that you may be prescribed can bring high blood pressure under control, dealing with the root cause of the problem should be your top priority.

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 including more diuretic for high blood pressure options.

 

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The Top 6 High Blood Pressure Herb Preparation Options

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on August 2nd, 2007

As people become more aware of the dangers of a “westernised” lifestyle they are educating themselves about natural herbal methods to complement traditional treatment plans for high blood pressure. So, is there a high blood pressure herb preparation that can be used in the fight to reduce high blood pressure?

The use of herbs or supplements to lower blood pressure should only be embarked upon after discussing your choices with your doctor or specialist. Even though herbs are natural products, they can still interact with other treatments and can sometimes impact adversely on medical conditions a person may have.

Here are some herbs that have been found to be useful and help reduce high blood pressure. Discuss the use of these further with your doctor:

Danshen

Danshen is a herb, similar to sage. Extracts from its root have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and for thousands of years have been used to help with heart disease, circulatory problems and high blood pressure.

In studies carried out recently on animals it was found that the active ingredient in Danshen helped to reduce their high blood pressure levels by widening their blood vessels.

Crataegus Oxycantha (Hawthorn)

The Hawthorn is a small shrub.  This member of the Rose family was often hung over the door of medieval houses to ward off evil spirits.

Even thought the effects of Hawthorn extract have not been specifically studied in people with hypertension, there is considerable evidence that supports this plant extract can bring benefits to those with cardiovascular problems. 

In a study involving patients with type 2 diabetes, those that took hawthorn extract for 16 weeks had a reduction in their blood pressure levels, when compared to those who took the a placebo during the same period.

These studies also indicated that Hawthorn did not interact with the other medication that was being taken by test subjects, and so can likely be taken safely with other blood pressure medication.

Viscum Album (European Mistletoe)

The European Mistletoe has been used for millennia, as it is believed to have healing properties.  As far back as the ancient druids who called it “All Heal” people have been using it to treat many ailments.

It has many names including Bird Lime, Devil’s Fuge, Golden Bough and Mistal, and should not be confused with the American Mistletoe with is generally considered toxic.

Studies that have suggested that mistletoe can improve the immune function and can be an effective preparation to fight against certain cancers.  It is widely used in Europe for this reason, however these studies have not been proven in clinical trials.

The chemicals that are present in Eurpoean Mistletoe can effect the heart and low doses can help lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Rauwolfia

The root of the Rauwolfia serpentina has been used for hundreds of years in India to treat many ailment and conditions.

In 1952 the active ingredient of Rauwolfia, an alkaloid called reserpine, was extracted and has been used since by doctors to help treat hypertension.

It should be noted that this may only taken in very small doses but because of its potency it is still extremely effective.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

This is an extremely effective herb for treating high blood pressure. It contains a chemical known as valerenic acid which acts as an inhibitor on the enzymes that break down gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), and therefore helps control a person’s blood pressure levels.  It is believed that this particular herb also works to control a person’s blood pressure levels because of its sedative properties.

However if the decision is made to adopt any of the above high blood pressure herb preparations, either in isolation or as part of a combined preparations, then it should be done only under the supervision of your doctor.  This way impacts on existing medications or side effects can be identified and treated rapidly.

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 out about other high blood pressure herb options.

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