High blood pressure, or hypertension to use the proper medical term, is known as the “silent killer.”It is a disease of the modern age. The fast pace of life and the mental and physical pressures caused by industrial and metropolitan environments give rise to psychological tensions.
Worry and mental tension raise the amount of adrenaline in the bloodstream, causing blood pressure to rise. The blood that circulates through the arteries within the body supplies every cell with nourishment and oxygen. The force exerted by the heart as it pumps the blood into the large arteries creates pressure within them, which is called blood pressure.
A certain level of blood pressure is thus essential to keep the blood circulating in the body. But when the pressure becomes too high, it results in hypertension, which is caused by spasms or narrowing of the small blood vessels, known as capillaries, throughout the body. This narrowing puts more stress on the heart to pump blood through the blood vessels.
Hence, the pressure of the blood to get through the heart rises in proportion to the pressure on the heart. The blood pressure is measured with an instrument called a sphygmomanometer in millimeters of mercury.
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The highest pressure reached during each heartbeat is called systolic pressure, and the lowest between the two beats is known as diastolic pressure. The first gives the pressure of the contraction of the heart as it pushes the blood on its journey through the body and indicates the activity of the heart. The second represents the pressure present in the artery when the heart is relaxed and shows the condition of the blood vessels.
The blood pressure level considered normal is 120/70, but it may go up to 140/90 and still be normal. Within this range, the lower the reading, the better. Blood pressure between 140/90 and 160/95 is considered borderline.
From 160/96 to 180/114, it is classed as moderate hypertension, while 180/115 and upward are considered severe. A raised diastolic pressure is considered more serious than a raised systolic pressure as it has a serious long-term effect. The higher the pressure, the greater the danger it poses to the wall.
Mild and moderate hypertension may not produce any symptoms for years. The first symptoms may appear in the form of pain toward the back of the head and neck on waking in the morning, which soon disappears.
Some of the other usual symptoms of hypertension are dizziness, aches and pains in the arms, shoulder region, leg, back, etc.; palpitations; pain in the heart region; frequent urination; nervous tension and fatigue; crossness; emotional upset; tiredness; and wakefulness.
A person suffering from high blood pressure cannot do any serious work, feels tired, and is out of sorts all the time. He may experience difficulty breathing and suffer from dyspepsia. Hypertension, if not eliminated, may cause heart attacks, strokes, or other disability conditions, such as detachment of the urine.
The most important causes of hypertension are stress and a faulty style of living. Usually, tense people suffer from high blood pressure, especially when under stress. If the stress continues for a long period, the pressure may become permanently raised and may not become lower even after the stress is removed.
The natural pace of life is destroyed by an irregular lifestyle, smoking, and an excessive intake of intoxicants (tea, coffee, cola drinks, refined foods). The expulsion of waste and poisonous matter from the body is prevented, and the arteries and veins become slack. Hardening of the arteries, obesity, diabetes and severe constipation also lead to hypertension.
Other causes of high blood pressure are excessive intake of painkillers, common table salt, food allergies, a high-fat, low-fiber diet, and processed foods deficient in essential nutrients. High blood pressure The kidneys play an important role in controlling blood pressure through the secretion of renin, a natural chemical. If increased renin is secreted by the kidneys, more salts are retained in the body, which leads to an increase in the volume of circulating blood and consequently to an increase in blood pressure.
Repeated infections and inflammation in the kidneys can also give rise to hypertension.
The modern medical treatment of high blood pressure is highly unscientific, as it brings down the pressure with drugs without making any effort to remove the underlying causes. Drugs may temporarily reduce blood pressure, but they do not cure the condition and are harmful in the ultimate analysis.
All drugs against hypertension, without exception, are toxic and have distressing side effects. The safest way to cure hypertension is to remove the real cause. The natural way of dealing with it is to eliminate the poisons from the system that cause it. Persons with high blood pressure should always follow a well-balanced routine of proper diet, exercise, and rest.
Diet is the most important factor. Meat and eggs cause blood pressure to rise more than any other food.
A higher fruit content, lower protein, and no-flesh diet lowers blood pressure and reduces blood clotting. A natural diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of a traditional diet, helps get rid of the poisons in the body.
A hypertension patient should start the healing process by living on an exclusive fruit diet for at least a week and taking fruits at five-hourly intervals three times a day. Oranges, apples, pears, mangoes, guavas, pineapples, raspberries, and watermelon are the best diet in such cases. Bananas and jackfruit should not be taken. Milk may be taken after a week of a “fruits only” diet.
The milk should be fresh and boiled only once. After two weeks, the patient may be allowed to eat cereal. Vegetables are also good for patients with hypertension. They should preferably be taken raw. If they are cooked, it must be ensured that their natural juices are not burned during the cooking process.
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Vegetables like cucumber, carrot, tomato, onion, radish, cabbage, and spinach are best taken in their raw form. They may be cut into small pieces and sprinkled with a little salt, with the juice of a lemon added to them to make them more palatable.
Garlic is regarded as one of the most effective remedies for lowering blood pressure. The pressure and tension are reduced because it has the power to ease the spasms of the small arteries. Garlic also slows the pulse and modifies the heart rhythm besides relieving the symptoms of dizziness, numbness, shortness of breath, and the formation of gas within the digestive tract.
The average dosage should be two to three capsules a day to make a dent in the blood pressure. Indian gooseberry (amla) is another effective food remedy for high blood pressure. A tablespoonful of fresh amla juice and honey mixed should be taken every morning in this condition. Lemon is also regarded as a valuable food for controlling high blood pressure.
It is a rich source of vitamin P, which is found both in the juice and peel of the fruit. This vitamin is essential for preventing capillary fragility.
Watermelon is another valuable safeguard against high blood pressure. Recent experiments proved that a substance extracted from watermelon seeds has a definite action in dilating the blood vessels, which results in lowering blood pressure.
Recent studies have revealed an important link between dietary calcium and potassium and hypertension. Researchers have found that people who take potassium-rich diets have a low incidence of hypertension, even if they do not control their salt intake.
They have also found that people with hypertension do not seem to get much calcium in the form of dairy products. The two essential nutrients seem to help the body throw off excess sodium and are involved in important functions that control the working of the vascular system. Potassium is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, and calcium is found in dairy products.
Exercise plays an important role in curing hypertension. Walking is an excellent form of exercise. It helps to relieve tension, builds up the muscles, and aids in the circulation of blood. More exercise, such as bicycling, swimming, and jogging, should be taken as blood pressure begins to fall.
Yogic asanas such as Surya namaskar, make asana, matsyasana, vajrasana, ardhapadmasana, pavan-muktasana, shavasana, and simple pranayamas like anuloma-viloma and abdominal breathing are beneficial. All asanas should, however, be discontinued except shavasana if the blood pressure is above 200 millimetres.
Water Treatment for High Blood Pressure
A prolonged neutral bath daily for an hour or so at 90° to 95° will be beneficial. A cold compress should be kept on the head during this bath. Other water treatments include a hot foot or leg bath for 10 minutes and a hot compress over the heart, replacing it as the bath cools down. Persons suffering from hypertension must ensure at least eight hours of restful sleep because proper rest is an important aspect of the treatment.
Above all, the patient must avoid overstretching, anxiety, tension, anger, and haste. He must try to be cheerful and develop a contented mind. The natural treatment may take some time, but it is the safest and best way to get rid of this disease.