Naturaliste Nutrition

                    Health & Fitness

 

Understanding Hypertension

 

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Stress

  • Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Adrenal and Thyroid Problems

  • Diabetes

  • Pregnancy

  • 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

Brain-

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.

Heart -

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.

Kidneys -

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

Optimal

Less than 120mm Hg

Less than 80mm Hg

Normal

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

Fish

DASH DIET

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.