I was diagnosed with hypertension when I was 25 years old and suffering from chronic migraines.
Research suggests if your family records reveal a history of hypertension, it can increase your risk by 60%.
Several blood relatives on my mother and father’s side of the family suffered from elevated blood pressure.
Prior to my diagnosis, a variety of doctors, including a neurologist performed several CT’s, and asked me to keep a daily journal of my blood pressure.
Treatment included several attempts to find the appropriate prescription, which resulted in a daily dose of Ziac, which continues to this day.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension basically means, while your heart is beating, too much force is being applied to the blood vessels within the heart, causing the heart to work harder to maintain pressure.
Because the heart’s vessels are very strong, this can go on for years, undetected; however, the heart could enlarge, hypertrophy, and eventually stop working.
The systolic, or top number in a blood pressure reading, is the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle.
The diastolic, or bottom number is the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart muscle is between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg (periodic symbol for mercury), which is the standard unit of measure for pressure in medicine.
Hypertension contributing factors
Nearly 30% of the United States population is hypertensive.
The following can contribute to the severity and prognosis of the disease:
- Salt intake
- Elevated cholesterol numbers
- Glucose intolerance
Two of every three Americans are considered to be overweight or obese.
TWO OUT OF EVERY THREE!!!!!
Being overweight increases the amount of fatty tissue in your body, which increases vascular resistance, which results in the heart working harder to pump blood throughout the body.
Let’s break these HBP factors down
Although salt helps our nerves and muscles to function correctly and is necessary for our bodies, eating too much salt can cause an imbalance which reduces our kidneys’ ability to remove water.
Fluid retention causes the blood vessels to become strained, which elevates blood pressure.
High cholesterol numbers indicate a build-up of artery plaque and calcium resulting in the heart working harder to pump blood through the clogged arteries.
Diabetes is the result of the body’s inability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which leads to elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.
High sugar levels in the body decrease the blood vessels’ ability to stretch and increase fluids, both cause the heart to work harder than it should, transporting blood.
When we are stressed, our bodies produce hormones that quicken our heart rate and constrict blood vessels, therefore, elevating our blood pressure.
Managing hypertension with food
HBP is known as the “silent killer,” because many do not know they even have it, so monitoring your blood pressure is key, especially if you already have any of the other contributing factors.
Unfortunately, my family medical history made me more susceptible to high blood pressure.
Fortunately, I only had to try a few prescription medications, to find the proper one for me.
I take my medicine religiously – at the same time daily. If I do not, I will notice within a couple of hours.
My dietary rules to keep my numbers in check
AVOID EXCESS SALT – I NEVER use table salt. When cooking, I only use kosher salt minimally.
CHECK NUTRITION LABEL SODIUM LEVELS – Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. Keep this in mind when you pick up a can of soup, which is notoriously high in sodium.
EAT FOODS HIGH IN POTASSIUM – Sodium and potassium have opposite effects on heart health: High salt intake increases blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, while high potassium intake can help relax blood vessels and excrete sodium and decrease blood pressure.
LIMIT SWEETS AND SUGAR FILLED TREATS – Never been a sweets fan and rarely eat sugar-filled desserts.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER – I rarely drink any soft drinks or sugary sodas. I try to drink at least 50-60 ounces of water daily.
MONITOR CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION – I have my one cup of coffee each morning (occasionally two) and an occasional latte, but I am very well aware and document my caffeine consumption.
LIMIT ALCOHOL – Doctors do not know the exact mechanism which causes or induces high blood pressure.
Research shows a correlation between alcohol and stressed heart function. I limit my alcohol intake to 2-3 drinks per week.
GET MOVING! – Get some exercise. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to heart problems. Walk 8 – 10K steps per day!
The Bottom Line
Hypertension is a very serious disease and should be monitored by a physician.
I visit my doctor every six months to verify my Ziac is working as it should.
If left unchecked or undiagnosed, it could result in a heart attack, stroke, or death.
Pan-Roasted Sea Bass
- 2 Skinless white fish fillets 6-8 ozs each, 1 1/2" thick I like sea bass
- 1/4 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 425ºF.
- Prepare your Ceasar salad and dressing. Place in the refrigerator.
- Prepare rice according to package instructions, while rice is cooking, prepare the fish.
- Pat dry the fish fillets with paper towels.
- Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper, on both sides.
- Sprinkle the sugar evenly on both fillets, but just one side.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick, oven-safe skillet, till almost smoking.
- Place the fillets in the skillet, SUGAR SIDE DOWN
- Gently press the fillets to assure good contact with the skillet. You want the sugar to carmelize on the fish.
- Cook till brown, about 2 minutes.
- Gently flip each fillet over.
- Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven.
- Roast the fish until each fillet registers an internal temperature of 135ºF. Takes about 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer fish to serving plates and squeeze lemon juice over each fillet.
- Serve with your prepared salad and rice.