Globally more than 1.5 billion people have Hypertension or High Blood pressure. It is a chronic medical condition and often called a silent killer since it can cause a lot of damage to the affected before the disorder is identified. Usually when the heart beats, it creates force which gets transferred to the blood. The blood takes the force to the arteries and creates pressure within the arteries which is known as blood pressure.
Systolic pressure and diastolic pressure
During each heartbeat the blood pressure varies between a maximum or Systolic and a minimum or Diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the part of the normal cardiac cycle when the heart contracts and blood flows out of the heart while Diastolic pressure is that part of the cycle when the heart relaxes and fills with blood. Blood pressure readings measured via the “sphygmomanometer” correspond to the Systolic pressure and diastolic pressure readings. The abnormal elevation in either or both of these measurements will lead to hypertension. Below 120/80 is the normal value of systolic and diastolic pressures, 139/89 value represents pre hypertension and 140/90 or above value is considered as High Blood pressure.
Types and Causes of Hypertension
There are two types of Hypertension, Primary or essential and secondary.
Almost 90-95% of those diagnosed with Hypertension are affected by Primary or essential Hypertension. There are various causes for this condition.
- Individuals who consume excess salt in their diet – specifically more than 5.8 grams a day, are more prone to high BP
- Obesity, lack of physical activity
- Genetic propensity
- Excessive alcohol indulgence for those sensitive to alcohol
Secondary Hypertension is less common and affects only about 5% of the patients. This hypertension develops due to a disorder of any specific organ or blood vessel, hence called Secondary Hypertension. Secondary hypertension can be caused by endocrine diseases, kidney diseases, specific medication, tumors and sometimes occurs during pregnancy.
Long term and Short term effects of Hypertension
- Heart Attack and Heart Failure – When there is excessive pressure, the heart begins to function harder, which increases risk of heart attack. The heart muscles are thickened by the additional pressure leading to heart failure.
- Stroke – Any interruption in the flow of blood in the brain will cause stroke. The important parts in the brain get damaged due the disturbance in the blood flow. Stroke also occurs when there is any blockage in the blood vessels. Hypertensive patients are at high risk of stroke and brain hemorrhage.
- Kidney disease – The primary function of the sensitive filters in the kidney is to regulate the fluid in the body; Hypertension and irregular blood flow can damage sensitive kidney filters. High Blood Pressure patients are at high risk of developing kidney problems.
- Eyes – Hypertension can damage the tiny vessels in the eyes resulting in loss of vision.
- Hypertension or high blood pressure may lead to bone mass density loss, sexual dysfunction as well as epistaxis (nose bleed) or uterine bleeding.
Lifestyle changes which help in management of Hypertension
- Diet – Add Fish, lean meat, chicken, fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes and whole grains in diet. Avoid unsaturated fats in your diet.
- Reduce Weight – Reduce the excess weight, since excess of visceral and abdominal fat may worsen Hypertension and can also lead to other diseases like diabetes
- Salt Intake – Maintain a low salt diet. Use low sodium salt and restrict your daily salt intake to less than 5.8 grams
- Exercise Regularly – Exercise will help maintain proper circulation, burn calories and strengthen the heart
Home Remedies for managing Hypertension
- Vitamin C helps in reducing hypertension. A teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with honey and water is a very beneficial for those suffering from hypertension
- Amla or Indian Goose Berry is very beneficial for High BP. One tablespoon full of fresh Amla juice mixed with honey and taken every morning is beneficial in managing high BP
- Fenugreek seeds can be taken with water in morning and evening on an empty stomach
- Fresh papayas, eaten on an empty stomach can be beneficial. Papayas are rich in Carpain – a cardio supportive enzyme
Herbal Supplements for Hypertension
Garlic – Lasun
Lasun or Garlic reduces cholesterol accumulation. It helps in normalizing blood pressure and preventing heart disease.
Arjuna is an ayurvedic herb which helps to reduce hypertension, reduces cholesterol and protects and tones the heart.
Arjunin a cardioprotective herbal supplement improves blood circulation to the heart and helps to strengthen the cardiac muscles. It exerts mild diuretic action and relieves pulmonary congestion. It has antioxidant properties and helps to reduce breathlessness, lowers bad lipids and cholesterol.
Cardimap herbal remedy is a combination of ayurvedic herbs recommended for reducing anxiety, hypertension and insomnia.
Sarpagandha herb extract soothes and calms the brain and has reduces blood pressure. It is very beneficial for those suffering from hypertension. Jatamansi helps to treat hysteria and anxiety, stimulates the brain and improves mental retention. Shankhpushpi helps in mental development, and improves brain functioning and concentration. Brahmi is a well known brain and nervine tonic, useful in enhancing memory and treating anxiety induced insomnia. Pippah or Pippali is one of the most widely used Ayurvedic herbs. It reduces blood pressure works as a rejuvenator, enhances longevity, improves digestion and induces sound sleep.