Blood pressure is recorded as "something over something," as you might know if you watch hospital dramas on television. The "systolic" pressure is the first "something" (as the heart beats) and "diastolic" the second (relaxing between beats). Here are the numbers, with "prehypertension" a new term for those at risk of getting high blood pressure.
* Normal: 120 over 80
* Prehypertension: 120 to 139 over 80 to 89
* Stage 1 hypertension: 140 to 159 or 90 to 99
* Stage 2 hypertension: anything above stage one
Hypertension is called the "silent killer" because it raises your risk of heart disease without you even knowing it. In fact, three in 10 people who have it don't know it. The majority of patients are over 65, and 80% are overweight. It's too bad that only half of them try to control hypertension, because it is something that can be controlled.
Before we get to the homeopathic remedies that you can use, let's cover the basics. If you have prehypertension or hypertension, actively try to reverse the problem. First off, cut down on your intake of salt -- this is very important. Along with that, increase your intake of potassium through supplements or foods. (High sources of the mineral include bananas, dried fruit, all leafy green vegetables, potatoes with skin, squash, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, papayas, cantaloupes and all legumes.)
Other ways to help yourself are to exercise at least 30 minutes a day (even simple walking), keep your weight normal, drink alcohol only in moderation, avoid smoking and eat more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
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While it's good for throbbing and violent conditions that start suddenly, it can be useful for high blood pressure, as well. It's one of the main remedies in a hypertensive crisis, with flushes of heat, pounding headache and impending stroke. See the feature article in this month's issue for more about this awesome plant.
This is nitroglycerine and is somewhat similar to the above. It's helpful for high blood pressure that may be accompanied by a pulsating, congestive headache that worsens in the sun. Your face is blushed. Along with hypertension, you may have angina that causes a hot sensation in the chest.
The candidates for Nux are easily angered or upset and compulsive workaholics. They are chilly in body temperature and tend to complain of gastrointestinal upsets (diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, etc.). They crave stimulants, such as drugs, caffeine or alcohol. This character profile paves the way toward high blood pressure.
A salty remedy that helps symptoms caused by grief. High blood pressure can return following an emotional event, like the death of a spouse. These people tend not to like sympathy and are emotionally closed off.
Used for hypertension in people who are very shy and have difficulty concentrating. Symptoms are worse when lying on the left side. They can include strong stomach pain that recedes when lying on the stomach.
A common recommendation for people with hypertension triggered by stress endured over the long term. It's like it's burning inside them, often linked to their jobs.
Good for high blood pressure where one's face is flushed, behavior is overactive and overall appears primed to explode one day.
OTHER NATURAL REMEDIES
Since high blood pressure is so common, many natural remedies have been investigated over time. Here is a quick rundown of the rest of what the "alternative" world has to offer.
Positive benefits have been seen in older adults taking fish oil supplements each day. May lower systolic pressure by 3.7 and diastolic by 2.1.
This natural chemical used as a sweetener has proven "antihypertensive" effects. Blood-pressure levels have fallen substantially, even by 10% after three months.
The potent herb may be able to lower blood pressure. Don't bother with supplements; instead, eat lots of garlicky dishes.
Taking soybean-protein supplements for a few months could lower blood pressure significantly. Studies used a high dose, around 40 grams (g).
Many studies have found positive effects about this now-popular supplement. Aim for about 60 milligrams (mg) a day, and follow package directions.
People who drink several cups of tea a day have been found to be at a reduced risk of getting high blood pressure.
It's possible that several other items could lower blood pressure. They include vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, green-bean coffee extract, dark chocolate, melatonin (for nighttime pressure) and vitamin D (to prevent hypertension).