Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nowadays, numerous people suffer from high blood pressure, and more than 70 million adults were found to have this condition in the United States alone.
Only half of these people are able to control this issue, and this disease is responsible for about a thousand deaths on a daily basis.
Moreover, a third of American adults have prehypertension, which is a condition in which the blood pressure is higher than normal, but not yet HBP. This ailment costs the USA $46 billion annually, including the cost of health care services, treatment, medications, and missed work days.
Blood pressure is measured by the amount of force the heart pumps blood throughout the body, which is determined the amount of force, the size and flexibility of arteries, and the volume of pumped blood.
High blood pressure is the term for the elevated pressure of blood in the arteries, and is caused by two major factors:
  1. The heart pumps blood with excess force
  2. Blood flow exerts more pressure against the walls of the vessels, due to the narrowed arterioles.
The body can tolerate high blood pressure levels for several months and years, but over time, it might cause the enlargement of the heart, and lead to heart failure, brain, heart, eye, and kidney damage.
The most common type of high blood pressure is Primary Hypertension. In this case, the cause cannot be identified, but research speculates that it is probably due to certain genetic factors, like genes that influence blood pressure control and genes that lead to abnormalities of the sympathetic nervous system.
On the other hand, secondary Hypertension is usually a result of some medical condition or other factors, like medication use. These are the main causes:
  • Birth defect in the aorta, (the main artery of the heart)
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Diabetes type 1 and 2
  • Kidney disease
The following medications aggravate existing high blood pressure:
  • Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (generic, Advil, Motrin), naproxen (generic, Aleve)
These are the risk factors:
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Age and gender – Men older than 45 and women older than 55
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When it comes to the lifestyles factors, these are the most common ones:
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Chronic stress
  • Consuming sodium in high amounts and too little potassium
  • Chronic alcohol use
Pharmaceutical Treatment of high blood pressure
The conventional treatment of high blood pressure includes numerous drugs, such as diuretics, beta blockers, Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), calcium channel blockers (CCBs), and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Yet, these drugs cause various side-effects and even aggravate the symptoms of the condition.
Beta Blockers
Treatment: Beta blockers slow the heart rate and thus reduce blood pressure.
Medication brands: Propranolol (Inderal), penbutolol (Levatol), pindolol (Visken), acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor), betaxolol (Kerlone), timolol (Blocadren), carvedilol (Coreg), carteolol (Cartrol), nadolol (Corgard), and nebivolol (Bystolic).
  • When combined with diuretics, they raise the risk of diabetes
  • Sudden withdrawals raise the heart rate and blood pressure which can lead to angina or a heart attack.
  • Non-selective beta blockers may narrow bronchial airways, so they should be avoided by people who suffer from asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis.
Side effects:
  • Memory loss
  • Coldness in extremities (legs, arms, toes, and hands)
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Depression
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Reduced sexual drive
  • Reduced exercising abilities
Treatment: They stimulate the kidneys to eliminate the excess water and salt from the body.
Medication brands: They can be of three types:
  1. Thiazide diuretics – methyclothiazide (Enduran), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), chlorothiazide (Diuril), bendroflumethiazide (Naturetin), chlorthalidone (Thalitone, Clorpres), indapamide (Lozol), and metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
  2. Loop diuretics – bumetanide (Bumex, generic), furosemide (Lasix, generic), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin, generic), and torsemide (Demadex, generic)
  3. Potassium-sparing diuretics –amiloride (Midamor, generic), spironolactone (Aldactone, generic), and triamterene (Dyrenium, generic)
  • Loop and thiazide diuretics reduce the potassium levels in the body, thus raising the risk of heart rhythm disturbances and cardiac arrest.
  • Thiazide diuretics raise blood sugar and uric acid levels, and lead to erectile dysfunction, and possibly gout.
Side effects:
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and irritability
  • Reduced sexual drive
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
Treatment: ACE inhibitors lower high blood pressure by widening the blood vessels and reducing the overall workload of the heart.
Medication brands:  quinapril (Accupril, generic), enalapril (Vasotec, generic), ramipril (Altace, generic), captopril (Capoten, benazepril (Lotensin, generic), generic), perindopril (Aceon, generic), and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, generic).
Side effects:
  • Irritating cough
  • Unfit for pregnancy
  • Low blood pressure
In some cases, they can also cause:
  • Granulocytopenia, which is an extreme reduction of white blood cells, which makes the person susceptible to infections
  • Increased potassium retention in the kidneys, which can lead to cardiac arrest.
  • Severe allergic reaction with swelling of the eyes, mouth, and may close off the throat.
Calcium-channel blockers (CCBs)
Treatment: This medication relaxes the blood vessels.
Medication brands:  amlodipine (Norvasc), nicardipine (Cardene), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), Diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor), felodipine (Plendil), nisoldipine (Sular), isradipine (DynaCirc), and nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia).
Side effects:
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Gingivitis
  • Swelling in the feet
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Rash
  • Food interactions
Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs)
Treatment: They widen blood vessels and thus lower blood pressure.
Medication brands:  candesartan (Atacand), telmisartan (Micardis), valsartan (Diovan), irbesartan (Avapro),  eprosartan (Teveten), olmesartan (Benicar), Losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar, generic), and azilsartan (Edarbi).
Side effects:
  • Nasal congestion
  • Increased potassium levels
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Unfit for pregnancy
Herbs as a Natural Alternative

On the other hand, there are natural herbs which can help you treat high blood pressure in a safe and effective way, and do not cause any side-effects.
They all act in a different way, some help the kidneys to excrete more water, some dilate the peripheral blood vessels, while others normalize the function of the heart, and thus lower the force used to pump blood.
These are the 5 best herbs you can use to lower high blood pressure:
A study which involved men aged 30 to 65 years old, divided into two groups, showed the effects of this herb in the treatment of high blood pressure.
The first group received 250 ml of a hibiscus tea after a high-fat breakfast, and the placebo group drank only water. The first group experienced improvements in the blood pressure and inflammation in comparison to the placebo volunteers.
This common thorny shrub can grow up to 5 feet tall and grows in small, red, white, and pink clusters. After the flowers, its small berries called haws sprout.
Since the 1st century, it has been used as a natural heart disease remedy. It is high in flavonoids which help blood flow, dilate blood vessels, and protect the vessels from damage.
Studies have shown that the use of hawthorn extract for 16 weeks significantly lowers blood pressure.
Lime Blossom
The Linden flowers are brewed into tea, and this drink has been long used as an anxiety remedy.
It is high in flavonoids, volatile oil, and mucilage component, which soothe and reduce inflammation, tannins that provide astringent properties. The tea has strong diuretic, antispasmodic, and sedative properties.
It neutralizes blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes and effectively treats cardiovascular disease. Moreover, this herb can also relieve arthritic and rheumatic pain. Yet, note that you should use its leaves, as the berries are poisonous.
It belongs to the Astor family, and it has been commonly used as a natural medicine in Europe. You can use its stem, leaves, and flowers.  It is rich in flavonoids, which are plant-based chemicals that increase stomach acid and saliva to help digestion.
Yarrow also relaxes the smooth muscles in the intestine and uterus, lowers blood pressure and boosts the effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
Tea -- recipe
The following tea contains these beneficial herbs and offers amazing effects in the case of high blood pressure:
  • Mistletoe- 1 part
  • Lime Blossom – 2 parts
  • Hawthorn – 2 parts
  • Yarrow – 2 parts
Brew the tea and drink it three times a day. Over time, this tea will regulate your blood pressure, and bring it to a normal level.


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