Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure. Hypertension can be life-threatening if not treated. It can have no symptoms and is often only discovered during a routine visit to the doctor's office.
The causes for primary hypertension are complex interaction of genes and environmental factors. The reasons for secondary hypertension can be identifiable. It can be a result of kidney disease, hormon intake, stress, unhealthy diet, lack of movement, smoking and alcohol.
Blood pressure above 139/89 is considered hypertension. The American Heart Association groups blood pressure into four categories:
- Normal (below 120/80)
- Prehypertension (120/80 to 139/89)
- Stage 1 hypertension (140/90 to 159/99)
- Stage 2 hypertension (160/100 and above)
Stage 2 hypertension needs aggressive medical attention because it can be life-threatening, especially if one has an underlying heart condition such as Coronary Artery Disease. Possible adverse events that can result include heart attack and stroke. Even prehypertension should not be taken lightly however, and changes in diet and lifestyle can often reverse it.
The opposite of Hypertension is Hypotension, referring to low blood pressure.
Among the steps one can take to reverse high blood pressure are:
- Reduce sodium intake (especially salt); do not add table salt to your (already too salty) food
- Reduce or eliminate consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Increase physical activity. 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise daily is recommended.
- Lose weight
- Get enough potassium, magnesium, and calcium in your diet, or take dietary supplements
- Do not use or consume substances known to increase blood pressure, including licorice, ephedrine, and tobacco products
- Reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet
If the above fail, or in cases of advanced (stage 2) hypertension, medications can be prescribed to more aggressively treat hypertension.
Although often discouraged by doctors, natural solutions are sometimes used to reduce blood pressure. In general, Hypertension is the direct result of thick blood. While medical doctors will use blood thinners, natural solutions include:
- Vitamin E supplementation (which is even encouraged by some medical doctors)
- ALA supplementation (either pure, or in fish oil)
- Coenzyme Q-10 supplementation
Contrary to conventional medical belief, salt and fats are usually not believed to be factors in this issue. Rather, moderate quantities of both are often encouraged.