You Should Know This – Understanding The Silent Killer

Overview

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is a common chronic condition which are often associated and causes other health issues such as cardiac disease. It’s onset can be insidious and afflicted patients might not be aware of their status until later on in life. However, an asymptomatic individual still has the same risks for developing further health problems, inclusive of heart attacks and stroke.

Symptoms

Hypertension is usually asymptomatic, even at extreme levels.

Patients reporting symptoms usually report headaches, shortness of breath, nose bleeds, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). However, these symptoms are usually non-specific and patients with poorly controlled hypertension might not manifest any symptoms at all.

Blood pressure is often taken routinely during medical consults. If concerned, ask your doctor to check your blood pressure on your next visit.

If you are aged 40 years or older, or if you have a family history of hypertension, it is advisable to have your blood pressure checked as a routine.

Alternatively, there are automated blood pressure machines available for purchase over the counter for home monitoring.

Types of Hypertension

Primary (Essential) Hypertension

This refers to the group of adults with no identifiable cause for hypertension. It is usually insidious and develops gradually over many years.

Secondary Hypertension

This refers to the group where there are identifiable causes for hypertension. These causes can include:

  • Hormonal imbalances eg thyroid issues
  • Renal issues
  • Occult tumors of the adrenal gland
  • Congenital birth defects
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Medication induced hypertension

Risk Factors

  • Age. Risk of hypertension increases around about age 45. It is more common in men than women though the risk profile for women approximates their male counterparts after menopause.
  • Race. It has been found that the patients of black origin have a higher tendency to develop hypertension.
  • Positive Family History of Hypertension. There is a genetic link for hypertension.
  • High Body mass Index (BMI) (Overweight / Obese Categories) Patients with a high BMI tend to develop hypertension compared to their thin counterparts.
  • Generalized Lethargy. Patients who tend to lead inactive lifestyles usually have higher heart rates and have higher BMIs, which in turn increases their risk for hypertension.
  • Smoking. Smoking causes a rise in blood pressure and in the long term, causes hardening and narrowing of blood vessels. This effect is also observed in passive second hand smokers.
  • Sodium (Table Salt) and Potassium Intake. Table salt, sodium chloride, when consumed in excessive amounts, causes retention of fluid within the body, in turn increasing blood pressure. Potassium, on the other hand, acts in opposition to sodium. Hence an excess of sodium or lack of potassium will both result in Blood Pressure fluctuations. .
  • Alcohol Intake. Alcohol causes global effects in the body. Excessive consumption of alcohol will cause Blood Pressure fluctuations.
  • Associated Chronic Conditions. Chronic renal failure, diabetes, sleep apnoea etc, and even chronic stress all contribute to hypertension.
  • Special Conditions. Pre-eclampsia, or Hypertension during Pregnancy, congenital defects, are examples of special conditions causing hypertension.

ComplicationsCardiac Effects:

  • Heart attacks – This is by far the most widely known complication of hypertension.
  • Cerebrovascular Accidents – Commonly known as strokes.
  • Aneurysms – Prolonged hypertension can cause weakening of arterial walls, causing arteries to bulge, forming aneurysms.
  • Cardiac failure – Defined as the inability of the heart to pump blood around the body consummerate to the required needs, cardiac failure is a consequence of prolonged, untreated hypertension. Prolonged hypertension causes thickening of cardiac muscle, resulting in uneven contractions that eventually result in cardiac failure.
  • Renal Failure – It is important to note that while renal failure can cause hypertension, hypertension in turn causes weakening of vessels within the kidneys, resulting renal failure.
  • Ophthalmological Complications – Damage to the tiny blood vessels within the eyeball can result in visual disturbances or even vision loss in severe cases.
  • Non-specific effects – It has been documented that patients with prolonged and untreated hypertension suffer more frequently from poorer mental function, memory loss, and non-specific groups of symptoms like the Metabolic Syndrome.

TreatmentIt is important to speak with your treating physician if you are concerned that you might have hypertension.

When seeing your physician, no special preparations are necessary though it is important that you maintain calm during the examination as anxiety can and will cause blood pressure readings to increase.

Be aware as well that the first consultation can potentially be long as there will be much to discuss prior to commencing medications to treat hypertension if present.

You should inform your physician of the following:

  • Any Symptoms you have experienced – eg shortness of breath, chest pain, tinnitus etc.
  • Your family history, especially if there is a family history of hypertension.
  • Your current medication regime.
  • Your current medical history, especially if you also have associated chronic illnesses like diabetes, thyroid abnormalities, and raised cholesterol levels.
  • Your current lifestyle in all honesty – This includes diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking.
  • Your last Blood Pressure reading if available.

Your physician will measure your Blood Pressure and inform you of your Blood pressure reading.

  • Blood Pressure is described with two readings:
  • Systolic BP (Higher reading)
  • Diastolic BP (Lower reading)

There are many categories of hypertension in relation to the systolic and diastolic blood pressure because the definition of Blood Pressure varies with age and race. Your physician will decide after taking your blood pressure, likely after several readings on different occasions.In certain situations, your physician might recommend 24hr monitoring of blood pressure to provide a more accurate picture of your blood pressure fluctuations throughout the day. This means you will need to perform own home BP monitoring.

Additional tests your physician might order include:

  • Urine tests to check for protein in the urine
  • Blood tests to ascertain cholesterol levels
  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs)

Upon confirmation of the diagnoses, your physician will likely recommend lifestyle changes as the first line of treatment, followed by pharmaceutical treatment after.

The Amazing Avocado – Avocado Benefits for High Blood Pressure

Avocados are notably high in calories but are also highly regarded for their high content of monounsaturated fats and potassium thus making it one of the most beneficial foods for combating high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. The heart pumps blood into the arteries, which is the transportation highway responsible for distributing blood throughout the body. Blood pressure comprises of two numbers: Systolic, the first and higher of the two reflects pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and they are filled with blood, diastolic, the second number, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rests between beats. A normal blood pressure reading varies from 90/60 at birth to 120/80 in a healthy adult. For seniors age 6o and older a reading of 150/90 is an indication of high blood pressure (hypertension). It’s important to note that a reading slightly higher than 120/80 in young adults indicates a risk of developing pre-hypertension.

Having untreated high blood pressure makes the heart work harder and contributes to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). This in turn can lead to stroke, kidney disease, and to the development of heart disease. “Having high blood pressure puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. About 75 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure-that’s 1 in every 3 adults. About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension” 1 A diet low in salt and high in vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products can help lower blood pressure. Highly valued for its blood pressure combating properties within the fruit family is the Avocado (aka. alligator pear) a fruit of the avocado tree native to the Western hemisphere.

Avocados are reputed to be high in fats, but since they are a plant food, the fat they contain is therefore considered an oil and not a solid fat. However it’s important to note that the majority of fat (77%) in the fruit is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. There is conclusive scientific evidence which points to the fact that diets rich in monounsaturated fats are great for improving your cholesterol and reducing inflammation thereby reducing the risks of heart problems and strokes. In fact “The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) to improve your blood lipid profile.” “(Lipid profile or lipid panel is a panel of blood tests that serves as an initial broad medical screening tool for abnormalities in lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides.)” 2

Along with monounsaturated fats avocados are extremely rich in potassium (more so than bananas – Half a medium avocado contains 549 mg potassium, one medium banana provides 451 mg.). A diet rich in potassium helps regulate your heart beat, eases tension in your blood vessel walls, keeps muscles and nerves functioning efficiently, and lowers blood pressure by balancing out the effects of sodium on your system. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium is lost through urination. A high potassium diet can reduce systolic blood pressure 4.4 mm Hg and diastolic pressure 2.5 mm Hg.

To those who are averse to eating the avocado fruit the oil derived from it is a reliable alternative. A study done on lab animals and published by “Journal of Ethnopharmacology.” concluded that “a diet rich in avocado oils, altered levels of essential fatty acids in kidneys, resulting in changes in the way the kidneys respond to hormones that regulate blood pressure.” A tablespoon of avocado oil contains approximately 124 calories and 14 grams of fat (21 percent of the recommended daily fat intake), 9.9 of the 14 grams are monounsaturated healthy fat which lowers LDL ((Low Density Lipoprotein) ) cholesterol, while increasing HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) and 1.9 grams are polyunsaturated fat which lowers LDL and HDL. Avocados contain no cholesterol or trans-fat and are richer in vitamin E than any other fruit. The fats of the avocado are also resistant to heat-induced oxidation thus offering an excellent substitute for vegetable, canola oils and similar saturated or trans-fat products.

While extolling the health benefits of the avocado it is important to keep in mind that the fruit is high in calories (a cup of avocado slices contain approximately 234 calories) so the quantity being consumed must be taken into consideration. Also due to its high potassium content, persons with kidney related problems need to be extra careful in its use. Consult your healthcare professional to know if a diet supplemented with avocado is good for you.

Do You Know This – A Delicious Low Salt Recipe for Hypertension Patients!

High Blood Pressure Low Salt Recipes

SPROUTS KADHI

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 15 minutes

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 cup mixed sprouts (moong, chana, makai), cooked

1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

1/4 tsp mustard seeds (rai/sarson)

2 bayleaves (tejpatta)

2 whole red chillies broken into pieces

1/8 tsp asafetida (hing)

1 tsp ginger-green chilli paste

½ tsp red chilli powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

2 cups low fat curds (dahi)

4 tsp besan (Bengal gram flour)

2 tsp oil

¼ tsp salt

Let’s check out the recipe for Sprouts Curry, a low salt dish for hypertension patients.

For this we need precooked mixed sprouts.

FOR THE KADHI (CURRY), we need curd which is nicely stirred.

FOR THE TEMPERING, we need bay leaves, dry red chillies and mustard seeds.

We need salt to taste, a teaspoon of coarsely grounded ginger and chilli.

We also need two pinches of asafetida and a little gram flour.

People often make ‘Kadhi’.

There is ‘Sindhi Kadhi’ and ‘Maharashtrian Kadhi’. In UP there are some different Kadhis.

But this particular Kadhi is meant especially for high blood pressure patients and uses sprouts very smartly. There are all sprouts in it.

First we will mix the gram flour and curd. Mix it nicely such that there are no lumps.

Add in a bit of water.

While adding water, keep in mind that you do not need to add a lot of water. Just add a little water and bring the mixture to a lumpy formation.

Then you can add some more water so as to prevent lumpy formation.

We are done.

TEMPERING:

Now we will heat some oil in a pan.

Add in some mustard seeds for the tempering.

We will add coarsely grounded green chillies and ginger paste once the mustard seeds start crackling.

Now add in bay leaves, red chillies and a bit of asafetida.

Asafetida has its distinct flavor but you have to be a little careful while adding it.

Asafetida will burn if you suddenly put it in the oil.

So we put all other ingredients and then add asafetida. That way, it won’t get burnt and you will find its taste as well.

Now we will add the mixture of curd and gram flour into the pan.

Add in some water to monitor the thickness of the mixture.

Upon cooking for some time, you can add in the sprouts.

Lots of sprouts! Wow!

Now let’s add in salt.

Add salt at the very end because we are using curd, green gram and after that we had added dry spices.

Then we added in the sprouts.

If we add salt to the curd, then it would’ve been insufficient for the sprouts.

That’s why we add all the ingredients and then add salt to taste.

You must keep in mind that this is a low salt recipe and a recipe which is being made for the people with high blood pressure. So you must use salt in a limited quantity.

Our ‘Sprouted Kadhi’ is ready.

Now we will serve it. It looks amazing.

When you serve, choose to keep the bay leaf and red chilli towards the top.

Sprouted Kadhi is now ready.

You will enjoy it even more if you serve it with roasted poppadom.

All About Hypertension

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as, High Blood Pressure (HBP), is a serious medical condition. It happens when the force of the blood pumping through your arteries is too strong. When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. When the blood pushes harder against the walls of your arteries, your blood pressure goes up. Your blood pressure may be different at different times of the day. It is usually higher when you first wake up, after you exercise, or when you are under stress.

Having higher blood pressure for short amounts of time is normal. However, when your blood pressure stays high for most of the time, it can cause serious health problems. You can monitor your blood pressure by using a monitor at home and by consulting your doctor. Normal resting reading in an adult is approximately 120/80 mm HG.

HBP can be life threatening if left uncontrolled or undetected. It can lead to Heart Failure, Stroke, Heart Attack, Kidney disease or failure, Vision loss, Sexual dysfunction, Angina or Peripheral artery disease. These conditions are very serious and must be treated. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help determine when to contact your doctor.

What are the top noted signs and symptoms of hypertension?

  • Headache on the back of your head that is very discomforting.
  • Weakness that is abnormal.
  • Nervousness that could be mental and physical restlessness.
  • Dizziness accompanied by tension or anxiety.
  • Ringing in the ears or a buzzing sound that occurs frequently.
  • Loss of sleep called insomnia because of the involvement of the brain.
  • Nose bleeds caused from the small vessels in the nose rupturing due to raised pressure.
  • Shortness of breath, feeling as if your breathing is going to cease.
  • Chest pains especially on the left chest wall or around the shoulder or neck that is provoked by physical exertion as the heart muscles are deprived of blood and oxygen supply.
  • Fainting or a feeling of objects moving around you.
  • Changes in vision as a result of changes in the capillary blood vessels in the eyes.

What causes hypertension?

  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Inactive lifestyle/lack of exercise
  • A high salt and/or high fat diet
  • High intake of caffeine
  • Smoking and stress.

How do you treat hypertension?

  • Lose excess weight and watch your waistline- Losing weight is one of the most effective ways, other than medication, for controlling hypertension. Also, carrying too much weight around your waistline can increase your risk for hypertension. Check with your doctor to see what your healthy waist measurement should be.
  • Exercising regularly- Regular exercise for at least 30 minutes each day can help lower your blood pressure or help prevent you from getting hypertension if you are pre-hypertensive. Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and strength training are some of the best exercises in lowering blood pressure. Talk to your doctor to start up an exercise plan.
  • Eat Healthy- Eating foods rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can help lower your blood pressure. Cut back on caffeine.
  • Reduce salt intake- the smallest amount of reduction of your salt intake can lower your blood pressure by 2-8 mm Hg. Some people are more sensitive to salt and should lower their intake even more. This includes African Americans, ages over 51, and anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
  • Limit alcohol intake and quit smoking. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal.
  • Reduce Stress- Chronic stress can be a contributor to HBP. Occasional stress can also be a risk if you often turn to unhealthy food choices, alcohol and even smoking.
  • Regular appointments with your doctor can help monitor and treat HBP. You may be prescribed medication if the other options do not lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.

Hypertension is a serious condition and should not be left untreated. Taking your blood pressure on a regular basis and listening to your body can save your life. Pay attention to the signs and symptoms of Hypertension and contact your doctor if any are present.

The Question – How About Using Natural Medication to Combat High Blood Pressure?

Are you one among the millions of people in the world who have been suffering from high blood pressure? If yes, then maybe it is time for you to drift from your normal course of treatment and adopt an alternative method, namely natural medication.

Owing to this branch drawing its power from ingredients that exist in nature, natural medications are prepared by combining a variety of herbs. In this way they rely on natural attributes of multiple ingredients for tackling health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, dental maladies and so on..

Why Should You Heed High Blood Pressure?

There is a reason as to why high blood pressure is referred to as the ‘silent killer’. Not only is it difficult to spot but seldom manifests any symptoms, as a result of which it often remains undetected for a long time.

However, if ignored or even left undiagnosed, it is a condition that tends to aggravate and assume a chronic nature, causing the victim a great deal of suffering. In such a situation, seeking medical help is strongly recommended and while there are several options, one that truly deserves consideration is that of natural medication.

Can Natural Medication Help To Counter High Blood Pressure?

Natural medication is derived from sources like Brahmi, a therapeutic herb indigenous to India, lavender – Arabic or French variety, Shankhapushpi or the butterfly blue pea, ashwagandha or the Indian ginseng and several other ingredients.

Brahmi has been an age-old remedy for attaining physical and mental calmness and is effective in relieving stress and anxiety. Butterfly blue pea is a true embodiment of the adage which claims that all miracles come in small packages. This tiny bright blue flower has the ability to cure myriad problems ranging from insomnia and seizures to hair-fall and gastric health.

The best way to consume this herbal medication is to use it in combination with your allopathic medicines wherein the number of times it should be taken varies as per the level of blood pressure.

Recommended Dosage

While extremely high blood pressure levels warrant having your medications at least thrice a day, mediocre blood pressure levels call for having twice a day. Likewise, once your blood pressure stabilizes you may stop taking allopathic medicines but continue the natural medication in order to ensure that it stays within upper and lower limits. Owing to its herbal composition, natural medication is most effective when it is chewed rather than simply being swallowed with water as is usually the norm.

What renders this option truly attractive is that it is completely devoid of side effects. So the moment you observe symptoms of high blood pressure on self, a friend or a family member, all you need to do is simply acquire these tablets and start having them as part of your daily schedule.

Final Word

Occurrence of high blood pressure is attributed to several factors ranging from genetics and advancing age to obesity, poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle. Some of these can be controlled but there are others which are beyond your control. In such a situation you have little choice but to accept the problem as it stands and search for a cure. And what could be a better alternative than a herbal product that is capable of stabilizing your condition within a week?

High blood pressure needs to be taken seriously due to its ability to trigger a stroke or heart attack or even cause kidney damage. Rather than succumb to this silent killer, the onus is on you to choose a course of action that would provide long-term and effective remedy and natural medication could prove to be the answer.