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Hypertension / High Blood Pressure

Causes, Symptoms, Natural ways to maintain normal blood pressure

What is hypertension?

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on the arterial walls when the heart pumps blood into them. This pressure is a factor of the force with which heart pumps blood and the size and condition of the arteries. Blood pressure is measured as systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure occurs when the heart pumps blood or beats and diastolic pressure is when the heart is at rest between beats.

Blood pressure measurement units are mmhg or millimetres of mercury. Recommended systolic pressure is less than 130 mmHg and diastolic pressure is less than 80mmHg. If your systolic readings are between 120-139 or diastolic readings are 80-89 then you are at risk of developing high blood pressure. If your blood pressure measurements are consistently higher than these numbers then you are said to have hypertension or high blood pressure.

What are the causes of hypertension?

Hypertension can be caused by the following factors:
  • Excessive salt intake
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • arteriosceloris / atheriosclerosis (plaque in arteries)
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Kidney disease
  • Birth control medication
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic factors
Hypertension can also occur without cause.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Generally hypertension causes no symptoms. Hence its name - 'the silent killer'. However in severe cases the following symptoms can occur
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Buzzing in the ear
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Fatigue
  • Eyesight problems
  • Dementia

What complications can hypertension cause?

Hypertension can cause heart attacks, stroke, renal failure, congestive heart failure, loss of vision.

How can hypertension be prevented or controlled?

Hypertension can be controlled by making changes in lifestyle.
  • Weight loss if obese or overweight : Weight increases the strain on the heart which disturbs the pumping of blood due to which the pressure increases. Reducing weight is an effective way to reduce hypertension
  • Reduction in salt intake : Salt intake causes water retention in the body and increases blood pressure. Sodium intake should be limited to 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams per day. It is important to check food labels to guard against excessive salt intake
  • Regular physical exercise : Physical exercise helps in increasing blood circulation while also reducing weight. It also helps in detoxification and sodium purging through sweating.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: If possible avoid alcohol completely or try to limit to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
  • Stop smoking : Nicotine and tobacco cause blood vessels to constrict, causing the heart to beat faster thereby raising blood pressure.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety : Regular physical exercise and relaxation techniques such as listening to music, yoga, reading etc will help reduce stress and anxiety. Avoid stressful situations and conditions.
  • Avoid Fatty foods: Fatty and fried foods contain high levels of cholesterol that build plaque in the arteries causing high blood pressure
  • Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and fiber rich food : These foods contain essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium that help in proper heart function
  • Natural herbs such as Arjuna and Ashwagandha are well known ayurvedic remedies for keeping blood pressure normal. Abana is a herbal ayurvedic formulation which optimizes blood pressure and protects the heart. Please note that since these herbs will cause blood pressure changes, you should consult your doctor if you are already taking other blood pressure medication.

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  • Hypertension may show no symptoms. Lifestyle changes can control it


    National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

    Center for Medical Consumers article by Dr. Paul Rosch, MD and Dr. Gravelins

    Ref:Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2007 Winter;25(4):375-90


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