High Blood Pressure or hypertension has long been pinned as “the silent killer,” because so many people have it, but don’t know it.
Like many chronic health issues, some suffer from high blood pressure just from genetics.
My mother was diagnosis with HBP while pregnant with me, she was 30 years old.
I was diagnosis after suffering debilitating headaches, several each month; most rooted behind my right ear, at the base of my skull.
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While visiting a neurologist for my headaches, we discovered my blood pressure was 201/102 – it was a wonder I was functioning at all.
After testing three different medications, we discovered excellent results with what I take currently – which, I have been taking for over 20 years.
However, since turning the big 50 – I have started feeling lethargic, unusually fatigue and having trouble sleeping – more than normal for a menopausal woman.
My doctor suggested monitoring my blood pressure for two weeks, at home. Of course, it is high. My medication has since been strengthened and we are monitoring the results.
Why is high blood pressure so dangerous?
There are rarely any symptoms of HBP; if left untreated the heart gradually becomes enlarged and less efficient.
Slowly, the blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and other parts of the body become damaged.
As blood pressure goes up, artery walls become thicker and stronger; arteries become narrower, threatening to slow, or even stop blood flow.
This increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
If you have a family history of HBP, you are at even more risk.
Every home should have an electronic blood pressure monitor. There are many on the market.
Keep a simple chart; noting the reading from your left arm and your right arm.
Also take down the time of the day.
Ideally, you want to be sitting down for about 10 minutes prior to taking the reading.
Alert your doctor if the readings are abnormally high for several days in a row.
Blood pressure readings:
Measuring blood pressure as the heart beats gives systolic (beating) and diastolic (rest) values.
An average healthy blood pressure reading is below 120/80.
A person has hypertension if their reading is higher than this over a sustained period.
It can be countered through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Dietary Changes for Hypertension
The best ways to reduce blood pressure are to reduce your salt intake and maintain a healthy weight.
Sodium is the dangerous component in salt and switching to a low-sodium salt can help.
The DASH diet initiative (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) focuses on eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, as well as reducing salt, saturated fats and alcohol.
Although it was not designed for weight loss, it can be adapted by reducing portion sizes.
The DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity.
The Dash Diet has been ranked as the best diet in the world eight consecutive years, for preventing and treating high blood pressure, as well as lower cholesterol.
Foods good for High Blood Pressure
BEETS – nitrates in beets help relax blood vessels.
Be careful, not all nitrates are equal.
BANANAS – eating 2 each day can reduce blood pressure by 10%
SALMON – Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil are excellent.
Best if baked, grilled, broiled.
SWEET POTATOES – rich in potassium and magnesium.
BAKED CHICKEN – lean protein
WHITE BEANS – high in potassium
GARLIC – contains allicin which relaxes and dilates blood vessels
KALE – high in magnesium, potassium and vitamin C
SKIM MILK – loaded in calcium, potassium and magnesium.
FOODS TO AVOID WITH HYPERTENSION
SALT is the enemy of those diagnosis with hypertension.
Despite our bodies containing about 250 grams of salt, naturally, too much salt can cause our bodies to hold onto water…which causes the heart to work harder.
Even if you are high blood pressure medicine, too much salt can still cause a problem.
Next time you are at the grocery store, check out how much salt is in some of these products…
- Ramen Noodles = 780 mg salt
- Canned Soup = 890 mg salt
- Packaged Rice = 680 mg salt
Most of the foods high in salt are bad for our health anyhow, much less for those who suffer from hypertension.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and a limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.
Have you been diagnosis with High Blood Pressure?