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Showing posts with label Hypertension. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hypertension. Show all posts

10 Herbs That May Help Lower High Blood Pressure

 

herbs lower high blood pressure

Overview

Many adults around the world deal with hypertension, also called high blood pressure. Due to the recent changes in guidelines, nearly half of American adults will now be characterized as having high blood pressure. Experts recommend treating the condition with lifestyle changes and medications.

If you’re thinking of trying herbs for medical reasons, whether it’s the whole herb or a supplement, speak to your doctor first. Currently, there are no herbs regularly recommended by high blood pressure specialists. Some herbs, especially in large quantities, may produce undesirable side effects or interfere with other medications.

Read on to learn more about herbs and the research surrounding them.

Basil is a delicious herb that goes well in a variety of foods. It also might help lower your blood pressure. In rodents, basil extract has been shown to lower blood pressure, although only briefly. The chemical eugenol, which is found in basil, may block certain substances that tighten blood vessels. This may lead to a drop in blood pressure. More studies are needed.

Adding fresh basil to your diet is easy and certainly can’t hurt. Keep a small pot of the herb in your kitchen garden and add the fresh leaves to pastas, soups, salads, and casseroles.

Cinnamon is another tasty seasoning that requires little effort to include in your daily diet, and it may bring your blood pressure numbers down. One study done in rodents suggested that cinnamon extract lowered both sudden-onset and prolonged high blood pressure. However, the extract was given intravenously. It’s unclear if cinnamon consumed orally is also effective.

You can include more cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling it on your breakfast cereal, oatmeal, and even in your coffee. At dinner, cinnamon enhances the flavor of stir-fries, curries, and stews.

Shop for cinnamon.

Cardamom is a seasoning that comes from India and is often used in South Asian cuisine. A small studyTrusted Source of 20 people investigating the health effects of cardamom found that participants with high blood pressure saw significant reductions in their blood pressure readings after taking 1.5 grams of cardamom powder twice a day for 12 weeks. You can include cardamom seeds or powder in spice rubs, soups and stews, and even baked goods for a special flavor and a possible positive health benefit.

Shop for cardamom.

Flax seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and has been shown in some studies to lower blood pressure. A recent review suggested taking 30–50 grams of whole or ground seeds per day for more than 12 weeks to get the best benefits. Flax seed may protect against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease by reducing serum cholesterol, improving glucose tolerance, and acting as an antioxidant.

You can buy many products that contain flax seed, but a better bet is to buy whole or ground flax seed and add it to your home-cooked meals. The best part about flax seed is that it can be stirred into virtually any dish, from soups to smoothies to baked goods. Storing flax seed in your freezer may help it retain optimum potency.

Shop for flax seed.

This pungent seasoning can do more than just flavor your food and ruin your breath. Garlic may have the ability to lower your blood pressure by helping to increase a substance in the body known as nitric oxide, which can cause your blood vessels to relax and dilate. This lets blood flow more freely and reduces blood pressure.

You can add fresh garlic to a number of your favorite recipes. If the flavor is just too strong for you, roast the garlic first. And if you simply can’t eat the stuff, you can get garlic in supplement form.

Ginger may help control blood pressure. In animal studies it has been shown to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles surrounding blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Human studies so far have been inconclusive. Commonly used in Asian foods, ginger is a versatile ingredient that can also be added to sweets or beverages. Chop, mince, or grate fresh ginger into stir-fries, soups, and noodle or vegetable dishes, or add it to desserts or tea for a refreshing taste.

Hawthorn is an herbal remedy for high blood pressure that has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for thousands of years. In rodents, extracts of hawthorn seem to have a whole host of benefits on cardiovascular health, including helping reduce blood pressure, preventing hardening of the arteries, and lowering cholesterol. You can take hawthorn as a pill, liquid extract, or tea.

Shop for hawthorn.

Celery seed is an herb used to flavor soups, stews, casseroles, and other savory dishes. Celery has long been used to treat hypertension in China, and studiesTrusted Source in rodents have shown that it may be effective. You can use the seeds, or you can juice the whole plant. Celery may also be a diuretic, which may help explain its effect on blood pressure. ResearchersTrusted Source believe that a variety of substances in celery may play a role in lowering blood pressure. However, human studies are needed.

Shop for celery seed.

The beautiful, perfume-like scent of lavender is not the only useful aspect of the plant. Lavender extracts have been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure in rodents. Although not many people think to use lavender as a culinary herb, you can use the flowers in baked goods. The leaves can be used in the same way you would use rosemary.

Shop for lavender flowers.

Cat’s claw is an herbal medicine used in traditional Chinese practice to treat hypertension as well as neurological health problems. StudiesTrusted Source of cat’s claw as a treatment for hypertension in rodents indicate that it may be helpful in reducing blood pressure by acting on calcium channels in your cells. You can get cat’s claw in supplement form from many health food stores.

Shop for cat’s claw.

According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults now have blood pressure levels that would be described as high.

A number of factors contribute to elevated blood pressure, such as:

Because it’s largely symptomless, hypertension is known as the “silent killer.” This is why it’s so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Having high blood pressure increases your risk of several health problems, such as:

Due to its lack of symptoms, high blood pressure can inflict damage before you’re even aware you have it, so don’t neglect regular blood pressure screenings. Sometimes treating this condition involves medication. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you, which may include medication, lifestyle changes, or alternative treatments. It’s important to discuss any herbs or supplements with your doctor before taking them. Additionally, don’t stop taking any prescribed medications without speaking with your healthcare provider.

It’s important to remember that there’s not enough evidence to recommend taking herbal supplements instead of prescription medications to treat high blood pressure. Very few studies with plants and herbs have been done in humans. Research has not been able to establish side effects, doses, or long-term effects of these supplements.

Watch  a video on how to lower blood pressure

Q:

Can any herbs that potentially lower blood pressure negatively react with blood pressure medications?

Anonymous patient

A:

Since there’s such a large variety of herbal remedies and so many different medications for blood pressure that are commonly prescribed today, this isn’t a simple question. However, there certainly exists the potential for negative herb-drug interactions and complications. My best advice is to discuss your specific herbal medications with your prescribing doctor, so that they will be aware of, and monitor closely for, any potential interactions.

Dr. Steve KimAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

High Blood Pressure Treatment

high blood pressure treatment


 What is high blood pressure?

A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg. When you have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, your reading is consistently in a higher range.

High blood pressure treatment typically involves a combination of medication and lifestyle changes to help you manage the condition and prevent or delay related health problems. The goal is to get your blood pressure below the high range.

If normal is less than 120/80 mm Hg, what’s high? When the systolic blood pressure — the top number — is between 120 and 129, and the diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number — is less than 80, this is considered elevated blood pressure.

Elevated blood pressure doesn’t necessarily raise your risk for heart attack or stroke. But without attention, it will often progress to high blood pressure — which definitely does raise your risk. Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is present once the systolic pressure is 130 or higher, or the diastolic pressure is 80 or higher.

healthy lifestyle is the first line of defense against high blood pressure. Habits that help control blood pressure include:

Some people find that lifestyle changes alone are enough to control their high blood pressure. But many also take medication to treat their condition. There are many different types of blood pressure medications with different modes of action.

If one drug doesn’t lower your blood pressure enough, another might do the job. For some people, a combination of two or more drugs may be needed to keep their blood pressure under control.

Hypertension medications can be divided into the categories listed below, based on how they work. The drugs in each section are just a sampling of what’s available.

Diuretics

Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, help the kidneys get rid of excess water and salt (sodium). This reduces the volume of blood that needs to pass through the blood vessels. As a result, blood pressure goes down.

There are three major types of diuretics defined by how they work. They include:

  • thiazide diuretics (chlorthalidone, Microzide, Diuril)
  • potassium-sparing diuretics (amiloride, Aldactone, Dyrenium)
  • loop diuretics (bumetanide, furosemide)
  • combination diuretics, which include more than one variety used together

Diuretics in the thiazide group generally have fewer side effects than the others, particularly when taken at the low doses commonly used in treating early high blood pressure.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers help the heart to beat with less speed and force. The heart pumps less blood through the blood vessels with each beat, so blood pressure decreases. There are many drugs within this classification, including:

Alpha-beta-blockers

Alpha-beta-blockers have a combined effect. They’re a subclass of beta-blockers that block the binding of catecholamine hormones to both alpha and beta receptors. They can decrease the constriction of blood vessels like alpha-1 blockers, and slow down the rate and force of the heartbeat like beta-blockers.

Carvedilol (Coreg) and labetalol hydrochloride (Normodyne) are common alpha-beta-blockers.

Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

ACE inhibitors help the body produce less of a hormone called angiotensin II, which causes blood vessels to narrow. These medications decrease blood pressure by helping blood vessels expand and let more blood through.

Some ACE inhibitors include:

  • benazepril hydrochloride (Lotensin)
  • captopril (Capoten)
  • enalapril maleate (Vasotec)
  • fosinopril sodium (Monopril)
  • lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)

ARBs block the action of angiotensin II directly on the blood vessels. It attaches at the receptor site on the blood vessels and keeps them from narrowing. This causes blood pressure to fall.

ARBs include:

  • candesartan (Atacand)
  • eprosartan mesylate (Teveten)
  • irbesartan (Avapro)
  • losartan potassium (Cozaar)
  • telmisartan (Micardis)
  • valsartan (Diovan)

Calcium channel blockers

Movement of calcium into and out of muscle cells is necessary for all muscle contractions. Calcium channel blockers limit calcium from entering the smooth muscle cells of the heart and blood vessels. This makes the heart beat less forcefully with each beat and helps blood vessels relax. As a result, blood pressure decreases.

Examples of these medications include:

  • amlodipine besylate (Norvasc, Lotrel)
  • felodipine (Plendil)
  • diltiazem (Cardizem)
  • isradipine (DynaCirc, DynaCirc CR)
  • verapamil hydrochloride (Calan SR, Covera-HS, Isoptin SR, Verelan)

Alpha-1 blockers

Your body produces types of hormones called catecholamines when under stress, or chronically in some disease states. Catecholamines, such as norepinephrine and epinephrine, cause the heart to beat faster and with more force. They also constrict blood vessels. These effects raise blood pressure when the hormones attach to a receptor.

The muscles around some blood vessels have what are known as alpha-1 or alpha adrenergic receptors. When a catecholamine binds to an alpha-1 receptor, the muscle contracts, the blood vessel narrows, and blood pressure rises.

Alpha-1 blockers bind to alpha-1 receptors, blocking catecholamines from attaching. This keeps them from narrowing blood vessels so blood is able to flow through the blood vessels more freely, and blood pressure falls.

Alpha-1 blockers are primarily used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men, but are also used to treat high blood pressure.

These drugs include:

  • doxazosin mesylate (Cardura)
  • prazosin hydrochloride (Minipress)
  • terazosin hydrochloride (Hytrin)

Alpha-2 receptor agonists (central agonists)

Alpha-2 receptors are different from alpha-1 receptors. When an alpha-2 receptor is activated, the production of norepinephrine is blocked. This decreases the amount of norepinephrine produced. Less norepinephrine means less constriction of blood vessels and a lower blood pressure.

Methyldopa (Aldomet) is an example of this type of drug. It’s a common choice for high blood pressure treatment during pregnancy because it generally poses few risks to the mother and fetus.

Other examples include:

Since alpha-2 receptor agonists can work in the brain and central nervous system, they’re also known as “central agonists.” This makes these medications useful for treating a large range of medical conditions beyond high blood pressure.

Vasodilators

Vasodilators relax the muscles in the walls of blood vessels, especially small arteries (arterioles). This widens the blood vessels and allows blood to flow through them more easily. Blood pressure falls as a result.

Hydralazine hydrochloride (Apresoline) and minoxidil (Loniten) are examples of these.

Treatment for high blood pressure includes ongoing care, as well as individual treatments tailored for specific situations and younger age groups, including children and teens.

Ongoing medical care

To make the most of your treatment, it’s vital to get regular medical checkups and blood pressure tests. Regular checkups allow your doctor to monitor how well your treatment is going and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

If your blood pressure starts inching back up, your doctor can respond promptly. Doctor’s visits also give you an opportunity to ask questions and bring up any concerns.

Treatment for specific situations

Additional treatment options may be needed in certain situations like resistant hypertension or secondary hypertension.

Resistant hypertension refers to blood pressure that remains high after trying at least three different types of blood pressure medication. Someone whose high blood pressure is controlled by taking four different kinds of medication is considered to have resistant hypertension.

Even such hard-to-treat cases can often be managed successfully in time. Your doctor might prescribe a different medication, dose, drug combination, or more aggressive lifestyle changes.

Getting a referral to a heart or kidney specialist may also be useful in treating resistant hypertension.

Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that’s directly caused by another health condition or drug side effect. Blood pressure often drops substantially or even goes back to normal once doctors diagnose and treat the root cause.

Treatment options for children and teens

The first line of treatment for children and teens with high blood pressure is a healthy lifestyle. This includes:

Children may take the same blood pressure medications as adults when necessary. For children with secondary hypertension, blood pressure often returns to normal once the underlying condition is treated.

High blood pressure treatment usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Sometimes, lifestyle changes are enough to return your blood pressure to normal levels. These changes may include diet, exercise, and weight loss.

If your high blood pressure continues, be sure to consult a doctor who can prescribe the appropriate medication.

JPeei Clinic

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

 

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is often associated with few or no symptoms. Many people have it for years without knowing it.

However, just because high blood pressure is often symptomless doesn’t mean it’s harmless. In fact, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension, causes damage to your arteries, especially those in the kidneys and eyes. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for strokeheart attack, and other cardiovascular problems.

High blood pressure is generally a chronic condition. There are two major categories of high blood pressure: secondary hypertension and primary hypertension. Most people have primary hypertension, otherwise known as essential hypertension.

  • Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that is the direct result of a separate health condition.
  • Primary hypertension is high blood pressure that doesn’t result from a specific cause. Instead, it develops gradually over time. Many such cases are attributed to hereditary factors.

Typically, the only way to know you have hypertension is to get your blood pressure tested.

Rarely, people with chronic high blood pressure might have symptoms such as:

When symptoms do occur, it’s usually only when blood pressure spikes suddenly and extremely enough to be considered a medical emergency. This is called a hypertensive crisis.

Hypertensive crisis is defined as a blood pressure reading of 180 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or above for the systolic pressure (first number) or 120 or above for the diastolic pressure (second number). It’s often caused by skipping medications or secondary high blood pressure.

If you’re checking your own blood pressure and get a reading that high, wait a few minutes and then check again to make sure the first reading was accurate. Other symptoms of a hypertensive crisis may include:

After waiting a few minutes, if your second blood pressure reading is still 180 or above, don’t wait to see whether your blood pressure comes down on its own. Call 911 or your local emergency services immediately.

Emergency hypertensive crisis can result in severe complications, including:

In some cases, high blood pressure can occur during pregnancy. There are several types of high blood pressure disorders in pregnancy. Causes may be due to a number of factors, including:

If high blood pressure occurs during pregnancy after 20 weeks, a condition known as preeclampsia may develop. Severe preeclampsia can cause damage to the organs and brain, which can bring on life-threatening seizures known as eclampsia.

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include protein in urine samples, intense headaches, and vision changes. Other symptoms are abdominal pain and excessive swelling of the hands and feet.

High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause a premature birth or early detachment of the placenta. It may also require a cesarean delivery.

In most cases, the blood pressure will return to normal after giving birth.

Over time, untreated high blood pressure can cause heart disease and related complications such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

Other potential problems are:

There are a number of treatments for high blood pressure, ranging from lifestyle changes to weight loss to medication. Doctors will determine the plan based on your level of high blood pressure and its cause.

Dietary changes

Healthy eating is an effective way to help lower high blood pressure, especially if it’s only mildly elevated. It’s often recommended to eat foods low in sodium and salt, and high in potassium.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is one example of a food plan prescribed by doctors to keep blood pressure in order. The focus is on low-sodium and low-cholesterol foods such as fruitsvegetables, and whole grains.

Some heart-healthy foods include:

Foods to limit are:

  • foods and drinks high in sugar
  • red meat
  • fats and sweets

It’s also suggested to not consume excess alcohol while trying to manage high blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks a day. Women should have no more than one drink.

Exercise

Physical activity is another important lifestyle change for managing high blood pressure. Doing aerobics and cardio for 30 minutes with a goal of five times a week is a simple way to add to a healthy heart routine. These exercises will get the blood pumping.

With good eating and exercise comes a healthy weight. Proper weight management helps lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. Other risks caused by being overweight are also decreased.

Another way to treat high blood pressure is by trying to manage and limit stress. Stress will raise blood pressure. Try different methods of stress relief such as exercise, meditation, or music.

Medication

There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat high blood pressure if lifestyle changes alone aren’t helping. Many cases will require up to two different medications.

diureticsAlso called water or fluid pillsdiuretics wash out excess fluid and sodium from the body. These are most often used with another pill.
beta-blockersBeta-blockers slow the heartbeat. This helps less blood flow through the blood vessels.
calcium channel blockersCalcium channel blockers relax the blood vessels by blocking calcium from going inside cells.
angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitorsACE inhibitors block hormones that raise blood pressure.
alpha blockers and central acting agentsAlpha blockers relax blood vessels and block hormones that tighten the blood vessels. Central acting agents make the nervous system decrease nerve signals that narrow the blood vessels.

Call your doctor if any of these treatments aren’t working to lower high blood pressure. It can take up to two weeks for a new medication to have its full effect. No change in your blood pressure may mean another treatment is needed, or it can be the result of another problem occurring with the high blood pressure.

You should also call your doctor if you experience:

These can also be the symptoms of something else or a side effect of the medication. In this instance, another medicine may need to be prescribed to replace the one causing discomfort.

Once you have high blood pressure, you are expected to monitor and treat it for the rest of your life. There is a chance the high blood pressure returns to normal with lifestyle changes, but it’s challenging. Both lifestyle changes and medicine are typically needed in order to maintain a goal blood pressure. Treatment will also greatly lower the chance of heart attack, stroke, and other heart disease-related complications.

With careful attention and proper monitoring, you can lead a healthy life.

JPeei Clinic