High blood pressure is a common concern as we begin to age. The term ‘silent killer’ describes high blood pressure well because unless you know what the symptoms of high blood pressure are, you would not necessarily know that you actually have high blood pressure. Medically high blood pressure is known as hypertension and it is a serious concern which leads to thousands of deaths every year from heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Yet most of us do not get our blood pressure monitored frequently until the disease sets in or worse when a complication arises.
Blood pressure readings
Knowing your blood pressure reading is important regardless of how you feel physically and this should be carried out frequently in order to ascertain whether you suffer from this or not. Blood pressure is simply the force of your blood flow pounding against the arteries. The higher the pressure, the greater the chance of damaging the arteries leading to complications.
Blood pressure readings include systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure and are a series of numbers. Systolic pressure is the blood pressure when the heart is pumping blood and diastolic pressure is the resting pressure on the walls of arteries in between the heart beats. The normal reading for blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure is considered to be prevalent when the readings are consistently around 140/90 mmHg. When blood pressure is elevated consistently, the heart is having to work harder in order to force blood around the body.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
Generally, there are no major symptoms for high blood pressure, which is why it is often referred to as a ‘silent killer’. This is one of the main reasons why I recommend checking your blood pressure regularly. If your blood pressure is very high, then the following symptoms may become apparent:
- vision problems, especially blurred vision, often arising as a result of burst blood vessels in the eyes
- severe headaches
- pain in the chest area
- breathing problems
- blood in urine
- a heartbeat that feels irregular
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see your doctor as soon as possible. The complications of high blood pressure can be life threatening and include heart failure, the possibility of stroke and kidney disease.
Causes of high blood pressure
High blood pressure is preventable to a large extent. Aside from the ageing factor, the following is a list of causes which can be addressed.
Stress plays a role in high blood pressure; short term stress increases blood pressure which then reverts back to normal but ongoing stress results in the production of hormones which constrict blood vessels so that the heart is burdened with having to force blood through the circulatory system.
Lack of exercise is another important factor since exercise strengthens the heart muscle tissue. Additionally, lack of exercise may lead to weight gain which would put the heart under pressure to pump blood around the body.
A healthy diet is equally important. Reducing fat, alcohol and salt consumption will help to keep the heart healthy and able to support circulation easily.
These are some of the major causal factors which influence blood pressure in the body.
A natural remedy to support the heart
There are a number of herbs which are reported to be of benefit to the heart including Hawthorn and the Indian herb Arjuna. These type of herbs are often termed cardiotonics because they have the ability to enhance the contraction phase of the heart, which means that more blood is pumped around the body. In effect they are a tonic for the heart.
Hawthorn has been used for many years as a heart tonic, being able to improve the efficiency of the pumping action of the heart. It does so by increasing blood flow in the coronary arteries which are the ones that supply blood to the heart muscle tissue. Hawthorn extracts contain a range of biological compounds including flavonoids and polyphenols such as oligomeric procyanidins. Several studies indicate that hawthorn extracts have multiple actions on the heart including strengthening and toning the heart muscle. Additionally, its source of procyanidins, powerful antioxidants, may help prevent the oxidation of fats which normally leads to their deposition onto the arteries. Deposition of fats onto arteries leads to the furring up of arteries and puts a burden on the heart to pump blood around.
Arjuna is a medicinal plant that has widely been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Although Arjuna has a wide variety of benefits, its greatest use is as a cardiotonic herb to protect the heart and act as a heart tonic. Arjuna’s heart protecting properties include its ability to reduce arterial plaque formation, reduce total cholesterol, reduce LDL cholesterol and raises protective HDL cholesterol.
The combination of Hawthorn with Arjuna is available in a supplement by Life Extension namely Cardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna. The varying benefits of the individual herbs means that Cardio Peak is likely to help protect against most of the concerns associated with the heart whether it is high blood pressure, plaque formation, restricted blood flow to the heart, higher levels of bad cholesterol or simply an ageing heart.
Cardio Peak with Standardized Hawthorn and Arjuna offers real hope in the fight against the multiple concerns that lead to heart disease.