Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a serious health condition which affects nearly one in three American adults. If left untreated, hypertension weakens blood vessels, damages the heart and kidneys, and significantly increases the likelihood of stroke and heart disease. While typically associated with adults over the age of 50, patients as young as 20 can present with hypertension, whether from lifestyle choices or as the result of a preexisting condition. Fortunately, high blood pressure is a manageable condition by patients who adopt several lifestyle changes. 
 

Signs and Symptoms  
 

Unlike hypotension, or low blood pressure, high blood pressure signs often go unnoticed by patients until they have their pressure monitored by a physician. For this reason, it's often referred to as a "silent killer." In fact, many patients fail to exhibit symptoms entirely. That said, there are a few symptoms to look out for.  
 
Signs of high blood pressure include dull, throbbing headache, visual disturbances, and, in some rare cases, dizziness. These signs are generally rare, but if appearing suddenly can indicate a hypertensive crisis, a situation in which blood pressure rises to a catastrophic level. In short, if you find yourself asking, "How do I know if I have high blood pressure?" - do not wait for symptoms to present; rather consult a doctor and have your blood pressure tested, so that you can begin making lifestyle changes immediately. 
 

Managing Your High Blood Pressure 

 

While many patients are perfectly content to rely upon medications to manage their blood pressure, this solution has drawbacks. Medication is expensive and the side effects are often serious, with many patients reporting dizziness, fatigue, and other problems that significantly reduce quality of life. Thankfully, for most people it's absolutely possible to manage blood pressure with simple lifestyle changes. These changes broadly fall into three categories: dietary, natural remedies, and lifestyle.

Dietary Changes
Many patients who suffer from high blood pressure adopt what is called the "DASH diet." DASH simply stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Generally speaking, the high blood pressure diet focuses on meals rich with fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy products, supported by portions of healthy and fibrous grains, nuts, and lean meats like fish or skinless chicken. The diet is further separated into a high sodium and low sodium variant, depending on whether or not the patient is sodium sensitive. While the traditional DASH diet allows patients to consume a maximum of 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, the low sodium version caps consumption at 1,500 mg.
Natural Remedies
Even when eating a varied diet, it's difficult to pack in all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients a healthy body needs. This is especially true for hypertension sufferers, who can strongly benefit from home remedies for high blood pressure that center around the use of vitamins and supplements. The "big three" vitamins, so to speak, are calcium, potassium, and magnesium. While these vitamins are present in foods, supplementing can help round out even a sufficiently varied diet by making sure patients receive these vital nutrients, as a deficiency in any of the three is confirmed to cause an increase in blood pressure. Home remedies aren't limited to vitamins, as there are plenty of other home remedies associated with reduced risk for hypertension. Coenzyme Q10, commonly sold as CQ10, is a naturally occurring enzyme that, when taken as a supplement, helps many patients to lower their blood pressure. Another popular supplement is L-arginine, an amino acid naturally produced by the body. Both CQ10 and L-arginine work by widening the body's blood vessels and increasing nitric oxide levels, effectively the same effect one would get from prescription medications, but without the side effects.
Lifestyle
Lifestyle changes that help to lower blood pressure include both activities one should add to their daily routine and activities they should avoid. Cigarette smoking and excessive drinking are two of the biggest contributors to high blood pressure, so those who indulge in either should seek assistance in suspended these habits. Furthermore, patients should focus on replacing these harmful behaviors with exercise and healthy activities that promote relaxation. As far as high blood pressure and exercise are concerned, regular, moderate cardiovascular routines, such as walking, swimming, or cycling can promote cardiovascular health while also reducing body fat, a significant contributor of hypertension. Patients who struggle with stress management have a perfect home remedy in the form of meditation. Countless studies have proven the benefits of meditation, with many taking effect only weeks after starting a regular routine.

Causes 
 

While it's true that certain people are simply predisposed to hypertension, in most cases high blood pressure causes ultimately tie back to lifestyle choices. For sodium-sensitive individuals, eating a diet rich in salt causes elevated blood pressure. Other dietary choices that can influence blood pressure includes potassium or vitamin D deficiency, a lack of healthy fats rich in Omega 3s, and even too little fiber.  
 
Additionally, high blood pressure is frequently associated with people who are overweight or obese. Smokers can also present with hypertension, as tobacco smoke hardens the arterial walls of the heart. Likewise, excessive alcohol consumption can also increase blood pressure. Stress is perhaps the hardest cause to quantify, as what constitutes a stressful life to some may be perfectly tolerable for others. That said, people who experience frequent bouts with elevated anxiety, be it over financial, familial, or other concerns, often suffer from hypertension.

 

Causes

While it's true that certain people are simply predisposed to hypertension, in most cases high blood pressure causes ultimately tie back to lifestyle choices. For sodium-sensitive individuals, eating a diet rich in salt causes elevated blood pressure. Other dietary choices that can influence blood pressure includes potassium or vitamin D deficiency, a lack of healthy fats rich in Omega 3s, and even too little fiber. Additionally, high blood pressure is frequently associated with people who are overweight or obese. Smokers can also present with hypertension, as tobacco smoke hardens the arterial walls of the heart. Likewise, excessive alcohol consumption can also increase blood pressure. Stress is perhaps the hardest cause to quantify, as what constitutes a stressful life to some may be perfectly tolerable for others. That said, people who experience frequent bouts with elevated anxiety, be it over financial, familial, or other concerns, often suffer from hypertension.

 

Sources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm 
 
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandSymptomsRisks/What-are-the-Symptoms-of-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301871_Article.jsp#.WYpNefnyuM9 
 
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456 
 
http://www.livestrong.com/article/376152-l-arginine-and-blood-pressure/ 
 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/ 

 

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