High Blood Pressure19.09.2008
by Life Enthusiast Staff
High blood pressure is known as the "Quiet Killer" for several good reasons. It gives no sign of the damage that it is quietly doing such as:
- Weakening blood vessel walls
- Causing aneurysms, abnormal expanding or dangerous ballooning of the artery wall which, if exploded, can bring on stroke, heart attack and internal bleeding.
- Contributing to congestive heart failure and kidney damage.
The Framingham study found that men with blood pressure higher than 160/95 were two to three times more prone to suffer stroke or develop heart disease. The first number above is systolic pressure, the amount of force applied to the walls of the arteries when the heart is pumping. The second number is the amount of force applied when the heart is resting between pumping.
Causes of Hypertension
One or more of the following major factors can boost blood pressure:
- Genetic Programming - Not much can be done about our genes without divine intervention.
- Cigarette Smoking - Smokers pay for their cigarettes twice - in the store and in their arteries, hearts, lungs and other places in their body. People who smoke one pack daily have twice the risk of having a heart attack compared to non-smokers.
- Poor Diet - Authorities are evenly divided as to whether or not high sodium intake increases blood pressure. More recent studies point out that sodium intake contributes less to high blood pressure than the ratio of sodium to potassium. A study by the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine revealed a diet high in potassium-rich foods could lower the risk of stroke by as much as 40%, regardless of other risk factors such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking and weight. Foods that are potassium rich include the following: (Highest to Lowest) Banana, Broccoli, Avocado, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Potatoes (with skins), Cantaloupe, Dates, Prunes, Raisins, Beans, Parsley, Peas, Pistachios, Wheat Germ, Sunflower Seeds, Chickpeas, Almonds, Sesame Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Pecans
- Calcium Deficiency - Many studies indicate that a calcium deficiency has a closer tie-in with high blood pressure than high-sodium or low potassium intakes. In one study of women between 55 and 80, those who took in 800 mg of calcium and 400 I.U. of vitamin D showed significantly lower systolic blood pressure.
- Low Magnesium - Another study indicates that when the body's magnesium supply runs down and intake of this mineral is low, reversible high blood pressure results. Researchers also discovered that half of magnesium-depleted patients show high blood pressure and that their blood pressure returns to normal with magnesium supplements.
- Sugar & Hypertension - Studies have shown that the incidence of hypertension is low in rural parts of less developed countries, in Africa and India, where refined sugar intake is low.
- Stress - Many studies show that stress elevates blood pressure, sometimes keeping it elevated. So identify your stresses and try to learn how to cope with them.
- Not Exercising - Many authorities believe that exercise is valuable in preventing and lowering blood pressure. They believe that physical inactivity makes blood vessels less able to adapt to future physical activity.
- Over Weight or Obesity - Numerous studies suggest a direct relationship between increased body weight and blood pressure. Although there are cases of thin people with high blood pressure, people who are overweight are four times more likely to develop it.
- Drinking Soft Water - Many studies show that soft water contributes to hypertension/high blood pressure and heart attacks. If you have high blood pressure it would be better to switch to bottled spring water.