Health & Fitness
What is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)?
It’s when the force of blood against the artery wall is higher than it should be.
There are two forces or phases of Blood Pressure
Systolic – Occurs when your blood pumps out of you’re the chambers from your heart and into your arteries that are part of the circulatory system.
Diastolic – is when the heart rests between heart beats and the chambers fill with blood once again.
When your heart pumps it is pumping blood to all parts of your body through your arteries which creates a force of pressure against the walls of your arteries. Blood Pressure rises and falls during the day but when Blood Pressure stays high then this is called High Blood Pressure or Hypertension.
What Makes Your Blood Pressure High?
Increasing the workload of your heart makes it work harder less efficiently therefore creating a pressure that overtime damages the tissues inside the arteries. LDL Cholesterol forms plaque in the artery walls which makes it harder for the expansion and recoil of your arteries to pump blood through.
Primary and Secondary Hypertension Includes:
Obesity or being overweight
Too much salt and not enough potassium
High levels of alcohol consumption
Cigarette smoking and second hand smoke
Chronic Kidney Disease
Adrenal and Thyroid Problems
Some Neurologic Disorders
Teenagers, children and even babies can have High Blood Pressure although not as common as adults. Your physician will use charts based on your child’s gender, height, age.
Complications of High Blood Pressure
Stroke – Blood vessels in the brain that are damaged in some way by High Blood Pressure may cause an aneurysm which may burst causing blood to seep into the brain tissue (haemorrhage). Blood clots may also form leading to the brain blocking blood flow.
Mini Stroke – (Transient Ischemic Attack) – A temporary disruption of blood supply to the brain. Often caused by atherosclerosis or blood clot which may be a result of High Blood Pressure
Eyes - Damaged blood vessels in the retina of the eye. Thicken, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes may result in vision loss.
Coronary Heart Disease – Thickened and narrowed coronary arteries prevent the supply blood from flowing freely to the heart which causes chest pain or angina, heart attack (coronary artery becomes blocked stopping blood flow to the heart) or arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms)
Heart Failure – High Blood Pressure over time places strain on the heart and causes the heart to weaken and work less efficiently which eventually fails to supply the blood the body needs.
Left Ventricular Hypertrophy – The Left Ventricle is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to the body. When High Blood Pressure forces the heart to work harder to supply blood to the body, the heart’s left ventricle is thickened limiting its ability to pump blood and increasing the risk of a heart problem.
High Blood Pressure is one of the most common causes of Kidney Failure. HBP can damage both the large arteries leading to the kidney and the tiny blood vessels within the kidneys. Damage prevents the kidneys from effectively filtering waste from the blood allowing levels of fluid and waste to accumulate.
Blood Pressure Levels from the Heart Foundations Presentation guidelines 2016:
Blood Pressure Category
Systolic – Upper number
Diastolic – Lower number
Less than 120mm Hg
Less than 80mm Hg
120 – 129mm Hg
80 – 84mm Hg
Prehypertension- high normal
130 – 139mm Hg
85 – 89mm Hg
High Blood Pressure Stage 1
140 – 159mm Hg
90 – 99mm Hg
High Blood Pressure Stage 2
160mm Hg or Higher
100mm Hg or Higher
Severe Stage 3
Higher than 180mm Hg
Higher than 110mm Hg
Isolated Systolic Hypertension
140mm Hg or higher
Less than 90mm Hg
^Note: mm Hg Stands for millimetres of mercury and is used to measure pressure
Natural Nutrient Treatment Options:
Magnesium: aspartate, malate, succinate, fumarate or citrate are usually more preferable and can also help with fatigue. Care is needed with dosages with people who have kidney disease.
Potassium: Dietary potassium intake can lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. Care is needed with dosages with people who have kidney disease.
Folic Acid and Vitamin B6: can reduce levels of plasma homocysteine (a contributor to atherosclerosis)
CoQ10: a component of the mitochondria (the power house of a cell and used to create energy) Can help to reduce Blood Pressure over a 4 to 12-week period.
*A Nutritionist or Naturopath can help choose the right products and the correct dosages.
Prevention and Management
Avoid: Alcohol, caffeine and smoking
Reduce: Animal fats
Stress: Deep breathing exercises, gentle yoga, meditation
Exercise: 20 minutes a day of mild to moderate aerobic exercise three times a week can help with lowering Blood Pressure especially those with borderline and Prehypertension.
Foods: Increase fruit and vegetable intake
Celery Green leafy vegetables (calcium and magnesium)
Garlic Whole grains and legumes
Onions Foods high in vitamin C
Nuts and seeds or their oils Foods high in flavonoids – berries, cherries, grapes
DASH stands for: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
Scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) conducted two key studies.
Their findings showed that blood pressure was reduced with an eating plan that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and total fat.
The Dash Diet emphasizes on an intake of fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products as well as whole grain products, fish, poultry and nuts, seeds and legumes.
Lean red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages are reduced in the Dash Diet.
*A Nutritionist can help set up a diet and lifestyle plan for you as well as work in with your physician or GP if needed.