People with uncontrolled high blood pressure
(hypertension) are at a greater risk for heart attack and stroke.
50 million Americans have high blood pressure.
This condition left untreated can lead to serious health threats -- heart
attack, stroke, kidney failure. Yes, you
can lower your blood pressure nicely by restricting your sodium (salt) intake.
Sodium causes your body to absorb more water, and extra water in your arteries
means more water pressure, plain and simple. And yes, most Americans eat twice
the salt they need. So, we strongly endorse salt restriction as one way to drop
your blood pressure quickly (along with cutting your weight, and your tobacco
and alcohol use). Another way to reduce blood pressure is to increase
cardiovascular exercise - that is, exercise that increases the pulse and
respiratory rate for 25 to 30 minutes or more 3 to 4 times per week -- or even
Heavy use of nonaspirin pain relievers
does increase risk for high blood pressure. In one groundbreaking study, women
who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen; 22 times
a month or more were 86% more likely to have high blood pressure than those who
did not take NSAIDs. Those taking acetaminophen were twice as likely to be
hypertensive. Aspirin did not increase the risk. If you are at risk for high
blood pressure or already have the condition, ask your doctor which pain
reliever is appropriate for you.
A daily regimen of aspirin seems to
decrease the risk of heart related ailments. Nighttime is the best time to take
a daily aspirin to protect your heart. In a recent study, people with mild
hypertension who waited until bedtime to take an aspirin tablet lowered their
systolic blood pressure by an average of 7 points after 3 months. Those who did
not take aspirin or who took aspirin in the morning showed no change in blood
There are some
other natural treatments:
||Drinking as little as 12 ounces a day of apple juice
reduced oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol by 20%, compared to 9% in
people who ate two whole apples a day. LDL cholesterol oxidation
triggers the formation of plaque on coronary artery walls.
||Many hypertensives have a lower daily calcium intake than
individuals with a healthy blood pressure. Studies are ongoing.
Sources: Nuts, salmon, sardines, low fat dairy products, watercress,
kale, broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens, and mustard greens. 1,200
mg daily would be good -- take with about 400 IU of Vitamin D to help
|Capsicum, also known as cayenne, contains capsaicin –
the compound that produces the "hot" in hot peppers. Cayenne
peppers have been used for centuries as a folk medicine for stimulating
circulation, aiding digestion and relieving pain (topically).
Contemporary uses have placed cayenne extracts as thermogenic aids to
help increase metabolism. Reduces
the risk of atherosclerosis, which can lead to hypertension.
|Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
||This is a nutrient that shows promise for hypertensives and that naturally
occurs in our bodies. One study investigated 26 hypertensives who took
50mg of CoQ10 twice a day for 10 weeks. At the end of the study,
systolic blood pressure had dropped from an average of 165 to 147, and
diastolic blood pressure dropped from 98 to 86. It is widely recommended
to repair heart damage and to boost the function of the heart, as well
as in preventative use to safeguard against heart attacks and valve damage.
(Omega 3 Fatty Acids)
|Fish Oil seem to offer numerous benefits for lowering
blood pressure and reducing risk of heart disease. (read
|Folate (a B vitamin) helps lower blood levels of amino
acid homocysteine. A high level of homosysteine (above 10) is a risk
factor for heart disease and stroke. A study of more than 9,000
Americans shows that people with the highest dietary intake of folate --
400 micrograms (mcg) a day, have an 86% lower risk for heart
attack and a 79% lower risk for stroke than those with the lowest intake
helps reduce cholesterol as well as blood pressure. In a 1993
study, people with high blood pressure consumed one clove of garlic, a
day for 12 weeks. At the conclusion of the study, they demonstrated
significantly lower diastolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If
you already take a blood thinner, a lot of garlic could be dangerous.
||300 mg 3 times daily. This herb dilates arteries and
improves coronary blood flow reducing blood pressure. Can
widen blood vessels, especially the coronary arteries. Some of the
flavonoids in Hawthorn help prevent the narrowing of blood vessels. It also is a mild
diuretic that reduces blood volume. Most patients who take hawthorn have
a drop in blood pressure of 10 to 15 points over 8 weeks. Once blood
pressure is down, you may be able to reduce the dosage to stop taking
the herb altogether. Recently, hawthorn has been used mostly as a
cardiotonic (to “strengthen” the heart muscle and promote more forceful contractions).
||A root from a pepper plant used by Pacific islanders (e.g.
Fiji, Hawaii) for centuries as a ceremonial intoxicant to help people
relax and socialize. More recent uses suggest a role for kava in
relieving anxiety and tension. This remarkable ability to
promote relaxation without loss in mental sharpness makes it a perfect
herbal supplement for today's too-busy-to-relax lifestyle. And it's
safe! Used for thousands of years by the people of the South
Pacific islands who have the reputation of being the happiest, friendliest
people in the world. Best of all, Kava-Kava is free of the side effects
and addictive properties common to anti-anxiety drugs.
a chemical (puerarin) that has decreased blood pressure by 15 percent in
lab animals (*2). In addition, puerarin has many times the antioxidant
activity of vitamin E, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
320 mg Women
420 mg Men
|250 mg twice daily. Taken daily, helps to relax artery
walls and increase blood flow. Also reduce fatigue and promotes weight
loss by helping the body to convert food into energy.
Sources: green vegetables, nuts (especially almonds, cashews and pecans), rice, bananas,
potatoes, wheat germ, kidney and lima beans, peas soy products,
molasses, oats, bran and fish.
||Oat bran or oat meal is a natural cholesterol lowering
are also recommended for hypertensives. In one study, two to three
tablespoons of onion essential oil a day lowered blood pressure in 67
percent of people with moderately high blood pressure. Their systolic
levels fell an average of 25 points and their diastolic readings fell 15
points. Onion essential oil is not available, but you can promote
healthy blood pressure by adding more onions to your diet.
||Drinking a glass of any type of orange juice twice a day
significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It
improves blood vessel function, a measure of elasticity of the blood vessels.
of this may be especially beneficial for hypertensives over the age of
65. "The elderly often do not fully respond to blood pressure -
lowering drugs, which makes the use of potassium supplementation an
Source: Bananas, oranges, tangerines, beans, dried peas, potatoes and
||Contains a blood-pressure-lowering chemical called crocetin. Some researchers
speculate that the low rate of heart disease in Spain is due to the
Spaniards' high consumption of saffron.
has exerted a modest blood-pressure-lowering effect in people with mild
hypertension. One way vitamin C may support healthy blood pressure
is by promoting the excretion of lead, which is linked to hypertension.
Vitamin C also has shown that it reduces cholesterol (2,000 mg a day).
||Valerian has been used as a medicinal anti-anxiety herb
and sleep aid since the days of the Romans. The dried roots of the plant
are used in teas, tinctures and in capsule/tablet forms. Promotes
higher levels of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) in the body. GABA helps
regulate blood pressure. In addition, valerian has sedative activity,
which has a beneficial impact on blood pressure.
Chinese physicians have long used celery to
dependably reduce blood pressure. Scientists have discovered exactly why
it works so well. Celery contains a unique oil that relaxes the muscles
that regulate blood pressure, improving flow, and lowering pressure.
Just 4 stalks a day (or some celery juice) does the trick.
Deep breathing -- People who practice deep breathing for
15 minutes daily -- inhaling through the nose for about 4 seconds
... holding it momentarily ... then exhaling through the mouth for four
seconds may reduce their blood pressure.
Blood pressure is a
measurement of the force applied to the walls of the arteries as the
heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the
force and the amount of blood pumped and the size and flexibility of the
The top number, which is called the systolic
pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart is forcing
blood through them. The bottom number, called the diastolic
pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes.
The top number can be anywhere from 90 to 240 and the bottom number can
be anywhere from 60 to 140. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of
mercury, which is written down as: mmHg
Blood pressure is continually changing depending on activity,
temperature, diet, emotional state, posture, physical state, and
Blood pressure typically is checked while the patient is seated. For
the most accurate reading, blood pressure should be tested in both
arms, preferably while the patient is lying down. If blood pressure
differs by 15% or more, between arms, there may be blockages in the
large blood vessels.
|High - stage 2
||160 and up
||100 and up
|High - Stage 1
||90 - 99
||81 - 89
||Less than 120
||Less than 80
Pulse pressure may predict heart disease more accurately
than systolic and diastolic readings. Pulse pressure is the numerical
difference between systolic and diastolic pressure. Some researchers
believe that pulse pressure is even more important than systolic
pressure in determining long-term health risks.
A pulse pressure below 50 indicates that the arteries are elastic and
healthy. But when arteries are stiff and inelastic, systolic pressure
rises and diastolic pressure falls. This increases pulse pressure to 60
For more information:
Blood Pressure Association