When your physician told you that you had high blood pressure did you understand what he was saying. No doubt you heard the numbers defining the levels of your pressure and that they placed you in a category above normal but did you understand what it was all about or did your doctor take the time to explain everything to you. Often being told you have hypertension is quite a traumatic event, not on a par with being told you have cancer or some other life threatening disease, but traumatic nevertheless. Although it can indeed be life threatening. It just never appears as being an imminent threat. We always think we have time which is really crazy because you never know when a heart attack or stroke might hit you especially if you have had it for a while.
We all have blood pressure, unless of course we are dead, and an alarming number of us have high blood pressure. So what exactly then makes it high and is there any reason why we should worry if it is?
Hypertension is just a medical term for high blood pressure. As your blood is pumped through your cardiovascular system of arteries and veins the pressure exerted on the walls of your arteries is what is known as your blood pressure. In the same way a balloon will burst if the pressure inside becomes too great so too will your arteries become damaged if high blood pressure is allowed to course through your arteries unchecked. Left untreated it can cause coronary disease, heart attacks, strokes and failure of vital organs.
Let’s look at what normal blood pressure is before getting into what is considered to be high. As your heart pumps blood around your body it exerts a force on the walls of your arteries. This force is what is known as blood pressure. If this pressure rises to the extent it becomes “high”, also termed hypertension, and if it stays at that level for an extended period of time your arteries, heart and other vital organs can become damaged. If left untreated it can result in you suffering a stroke or heart attack.
Home blood pressure monitors for measuring your blood pressure at home have only fairly recently become accepted by the medical fraternity. There was an attitude, not so long ago either, amongst these professionals that measuring it at home was not as accurate as the readings taken in their offices with their mercury sphygmomanometers and that buying one was just a waste of money. At that time, and to be fair to them, these machines were not all that accurate and they were expensive. However we have come a long way since then and a lot of digital monitors are now extremely accurate and very reasonably priced.
Often when people are diagnosed with high blood pressure there is a reluctance to just start taking medication and many look to use natural blood pressure reducers. The problem is that generally they are just not aware of what may be available to them. Many hope for the “magic pill” type herbal or homeopathic remedy which unfortunately is just not there. There are however several other options, three of which are detailed below.
If you have decided you are going track your blood pressure using a home blood pressure monitor then firstly you need to decide which type you are going to buy. And basically there are 2 types. The Aneroid and the Digital monitor.
Being diagnosed with high blood pressure can be quite an earth shattering event. The picture you had of perfect health torn in pieces and you probably never saw it coming. There are almost no obvious signs or symptoms of high blood pressure and so learning you have it becomes a bit of a shock. Although if you are honest with yourself the warning signs have probably been there for a while, like picking up the TV remote when getting home from the office instead of your gym kit or gradually becoming aware of how tight your clothes have become, still smoking 20 a day and probably drinking more booze than is good for you. In most cases those types of warning signs were there if you had bothered to really look but actual symptoms of the problem itself, highly unlikely. So what then are your options?
If we don’t know of anyone personally who has suffered a stroke we certainly know what the after effects are like. This we have picked up from books, tv or even the cinema. Depending on the severity of the stroke the victim can either be completely out of it and confined to a wheelchair, or even a bed, for the rest of his or her natural life or be one of the walking wounded with short or even long term memory loss, impaired or slurred speech, confused and paralysis down one side of the body. All in all it adds up to a very poor quality of life going forward.
Your blood pressure is a measure of the force exerted on the artery walls by your blood as your heart beats and forces the blood around your body. This measure is in two parts, namely systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is recorded as the force on the artery wall at the time the hear beats whereas diastolic pressure is the force registered on the artery walls when the heart is at rest. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 1 systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 which is reported as 120/80. Optimal is 115/75.