Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure blood exerts on the arterial walls. Factors such as the volume of blood in circulation, the elasticity of the blood vessel walls, the ‘viscosity’ or thickness of the blood itself and the efficiency of the heart pumping the blood will all affect the blood pressure reading.
High blood pressure or ‘hypertension’ by definition is a blood pressure reading above 140/90. Those who have high blood pressure often experience symptoms such as ringing in the ears (or tinnitus), headaches, fatigue and irritability. It is important to address hypertension as it is associated with an increased the risk of stroke, heart failure & may accelerate arteriosclerosis.
Although the majority of diagnosed hypertension cases are due to unknown origin natural medicine offers many treatment options for the prevention & treatment of this condition which can reduce the risk of further complications.
1. Reduce stress levels: stress – physical, mental or emotional - increases adrenaline as it produces a ‘fight or flight’ response in the body. The increase in adrenalin increases blood pressure levels. Herbs such as withania, rhodiola, passionflower & Siberian ginseng decrease stress levels and balance the nervous system while nutrients such as magnesium and omega 3 assist with relaxation.
2. Magnesium, potassium & calcium. Magnesium is a mineral which assists with relaxation of muscles as well as blood vessel walls. It also regulates the heart rhythm. Calcium has also been shown to decrease blood pressure in 40% of cases.
3. Green tea: a potent antioxidant which has been shown to relax blood vessel walls and so decreases blood pressure levels.
4. Garlic has been shown to cause a significant drop in blood pressure. For best results use garlic in cooking along with onions & ginger in cooking as well as supplementing.
5. Fish Oils: regular intake of fish along with a quality omega 3 EPA/ DHA supplement is important to decrease inflammation which assists blood vessels to remain relaxed. Omega 3 also decreases cardiovascular risk.
6. Plenty of water. Most people with high blood pressure tend to be dehydrated; a minimum of 2L daily is crucial. Coffee & tea drinkers should have additional water.
7. Avoid coffee, excessive salt & refined sugars. Refined, processed foods will exacerbate blood pressure levels while coffee contributes to a stress response constricting blood vessels.
Updates - 24 October 2014
Benmohammed, K et al (2011), ‘Arterial hypertension in overweight and obese algerian adolescents: Role of abdominal adiposity’, Diabetes & Metabolism, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 28 January 2011.
Studies in Algerian teens have shown a link between abdominal obesity and an increased risk of high blood pressure. The boys were significantly more likely to have high blood pressure, as were those who were obese. Those that had hypertension also showed arterial stiffness, a condition not usually seen in younger people. This shows us how important it is to maintain a healthy weight, particularly in adolescence, in order to avoid damaging the arteries.
If already taking blood pressure lowering medication it is important to regularly check blood pressure levels!
If taking any cardiovascular medication please check with your doctor before adding any natural or pharmaceutical medications!
Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following products for High Blood Pressure:
|1. Herbs of Gold Muscle Resuscitation (150g, 300g)
|1.5 tsp in 200ml water x 2 daily.
|2. Herbs of Gold Omega 3 Concentrate (100 Caps, 200 Caps)
|3 caps x 3 daily.
|3. Nutra Life CoQ10 Plus Hawthorn (30 Caps, 60 Caps)
|3 cap x 2 daily.
|5. Nutra life Ginkgo 7500 Plus (30 Caps, 60 Caps)
|1 cap x 2 daily.
NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements. Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.
For more information on High Blood Pressure or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.