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Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force that keeps blood circulating throughout the body. Each heartbeat pumps blood through the arteries to the body’s organs.

There are two blood pressure readings you should know. Systolic pressure is when the heart pumps, and pressure in the arteries increases briefly. Diastolic pressure is between beats, when the heart relaxes, reducing pressure in the arteries temporarily.

Normal blood pressure readings fall between 100 and 140 mmHg for systolic and 60 to 90 mmHg diastolic. Readings above 140/90 are considered high blood pressure.

Having high blood pressure is much more common than having low blood pressure.

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.

Low blood pressure leads to the body’s cells not getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive.

Risk factors for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, include smoking, obesity, sleeplessness, stress, dehydration, genetics or family history, and heavy consumption of alcohol.

The first line of treatment for hypertension is lifestyle adjustments. Getting regular, moderate exercise, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit and low in refined salt, drinking more water, and taking certain supplements, like nattokinase, can all lower blood pressure without prescription drugs.

There are several different types of medication for treating high blood pressure. Doctors may prescribe beta-blockers, diuretics, and/or calcium channel blockers. Side effects are common with all these medications. They include symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, erectile dysfunction, headache, muscle cramps, dehydration, frequent urination, and other issues.

SPRINT Hypertension study should not change blood pressure treatment

older man climbing an indoor rock wall
A new regimen recommended by NIH for treating adults 50 years and older with hypertension (high blood pressure) is making big news. It significantly reduced the rates of heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke by 30 percent and lowered the risk of death by 25 percent. The NIH research team was so excited by the […]

BPA danger: Blood Pressure

Man sitting behind drink cans
Perhaps you’ve heard of bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical compound found in plastic bottles and packaging and in the linings of food and drink cans. Even if you haven’t heard of it, you have most definitely been exposed to it. In fact, more than 92 percent of people ages 6 and older have detectable levels of […]

Control Blood Pressure without Drugs

When I first started practicing medicine, most of my patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) were middle age or older. Treating a 25- or 30-year-old with this condition was not the norm. Today, though, it’s par for the course. Overall, one-third of the US population (about 67 million people) suffers from hypertension. Nineteen percent of […]

Monitor Blood Pressure at Home to Prevent Misdiagnosis

Does this situation sound familiar to you? It’s time for your annual wellness exam. The nurse calls you back, weighs you, checks your temperature, and takes your blood pressure. Then you hear the dreaded words…“Hmmm, your blood pressure is a little high.” “I suppose I am a little anxious about this appointment,” you reply, knowing […]

Cut Your Salt to Help Your Heart

spices you can cook with instead of salt to lower blood pressure
Excessive sodium intake is a worldwide problem: the World Health Organization (WHO) lists reducing salt intake as one of its top 10 “best buys” for lowering the rates of chronic diseases. But too little sodium creates hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition. If both too much and too little sodium are risky, clearly we have a […]

4 Supplements to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a silent killer. You can have high blood pressure without noticing because this disease doesn’t make you feel bad or slow you down. But high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke. I’m going to recommend four nutrients that, along with diet, exercise, and stress […]

Lower Blood Pressure with Nattokinase

More than 42% of Americans have high blood pressure (BP), putting millions of adults directly in the crosshairs of heart disease and elevated stroke risk. And while there are many drugs to reduce high blood pressure, a lot of them come with side effects ranging from uncomfortable to dangerous. Fortunately, there is a little-known and highly effective way to lower your blood pressure and reduce risk of blood clotting. It can, in turn, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke while bypassing all the miserable side effects of prescription drugs.

Blood Pressure Medication Side Effects

Heart and Blood Pressure Meter
If you are one of the millions of Americans who are currently taking medication for high blood pressure, I have some good news. You might be able to reduce the amount of drugs you’re taking or gradually do away with them altogether. Now, you could be thinking, “Why would I want to stop taking blood […]

Lifestyle Changes that Lower Blood Pressure

Couple Playing Golf
Like so many patients with high blood pressure, Roger, a retired college professor, was not very enthusiastic about making lifestyle changes. He enjoyed his meatball sub lunches, the heavily salted snacks served on poker night, and cruising around the golf course in his golf cart. I explained the downsides of continuing this type of behavior, […]

How Much Salt and Sodium is Too Much

Salt Shaker
If you’re confused about salt and the role it plays in health, you are not alone. I’ve gotten a number of e-mails recently asking for some clarification on salt, which is not surprising. Anyone with high blood pressure has probably been told to “watch salt intake.” But what does that mean? And why is salt […]
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