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Blood pressure or hypertension is the force or pressure exerted by the blood propelled by your heart through your veins and arteries. Hypertension occurs when this pressure is greater than it should be for optimum health.
The pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg.) It consists of two numbers:
The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure issued the following general guideline in 2003:
|pre-Hypertension||120 - 139||80 - 89|
|Stage 1 Hypertension||140 - 159||90 - 99|
|Stage 2 Hypertension||>=160||>=100|
Getting Accurate Readings
Many things may prevent you from getting an accurate pressure reading. Exercise, anxiety, worry, moderate to vigorous exertions, and other factors can raise your pressure. If taken when in any one of these states, your reading will be high and inaccurate.
Depending on your state of mind or prior physical activity, it can take anywhere from 10 minutes or longer for your pressure to stabilize. Prior to taking a reading, sit quietly for 10 to 15 minutes. Your resting pressure will then be accurate.
Make certain that the cuff used is large enough. If it is too small, the reading will be artificially high.
Don't talk or engage in any kind of conversation while your pressure is being taken. That can add 10 mmHg or more to the systolic reading.
Arm position can throw a reading off by 10 percent. The arm in which your pressure is being measured should be at a right angle to your body (your forearm should be resting on a table with you sitting up straight.) It should be as level to your heart as possible.
A diagnosis of hypertension should not be determined on just one reading. Any number of factors as you read above can influence a reading. At least two to three reading should be taken at any one doctor's visit.
When a person experiences at least three elevated readings over a period of a few weeks, it is fairly certain that he has high blood pressure. For a sound medical diagnosis, a person's pressure must be consistently elevated.
Pressure and Insulin Resistance
A person with high blood pressure will usually be insulin resistant and will have high levels of insulin circulating in the blood. As a matter of fact, insulin resistance is the cause of high blood pressure in most people.
The main factors in being insulin resistant is a high-grain/high sugar diet and little to no exercise. Even whole grains should be eliminated from your diet if you are hypertensive. The body breaks down whole grains into simple sugar.
Insulin resistance occurs when your body's insulin receptors don't function properly. This is the result of today's high sugar/grain intake.
Blood levels are constantly undergoing a roller coaster ride of ups and downs because of our processed food diet. Soon the insulin receptors in the cells stop responding to insulin.
Constantly consuming grains, whether bread, corn, potatoes, pasta,or rice, will keep insulin levels high. Glucose or blood sugar from these foods triggers the pancreas to release insulin to shuttle the glucose into your body's cells.
Insulin stores magnesium. If your insulin receptors can't respond to blood sugar, magnesium will be eliminated from the body through urine.
Magnesium in the muscles relaxes them. If not present, or at minimal levels, your blood vessels will constrict raising your blood pressure.
Insulin causes your body to retain sodium too. Stored sodium directly causes fluid retention. Fluid retention elevates your pressure.
A Healthy Lifestyle Is the Key to Normalized Pressure
Lifestyle changes have been shown to normalize blood pressure levels in over 85 percent of those diagnosed. Exercise is a great way to normalize insulin levels. Studies have shown that weight training will make your cells insulin sensitive--the complete opposite of resistant.
Never underestimate the value of exercise. It is as necessary to a healthy lifestyle as good nutrition. If you have never exercised, or haven't for a while, begin slowly. Then slowly begin building up exercise intensity.
A good rule of thumb is get yourself to the point when you are breathing so hard that you can barely hold a conversation. Your body is a quick adapter so it is important to constantly challenge it. This can be done by changing your routine slightly, increasing intensity or by increasing your time.
Diet is necessary to controlling your blood pressure. First and foremost is to find your metabolic type and eat based on it. This will provide your body with the nutrient it needs to perform efficiently.
The standard American diet (SAD) throws the omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acid ratio totally out of whack. The over-consumption of grain, especially in the form of vegetable oil, gives us too much omega-6 fat.
Whereas the ratio should be along the lines of 2:1 or 1:1, it is 25:1 to as high as 50:1. Vegetable oils should be eliminated from the diet and replaced by extra-virgin olive and coconut oils.
Another essential nutrient Americans are sadly deficient in is vitamin D. More and more research indicates that a lack of sufficient vitamin D contributes to diabetes, cancers, heart disease, flus, etc.
Unfortunately, many people live in a part of the world where sunshine is seasonal. In this case, supplementation is a must. Make certain that you get natural vitamin D which is D3; D2 is the synthetic version.
I recommend vitamin D spray from Mercola.com. I use many of Mercola.com products because they are superior as far as organic ingredients and integrity are concerned. You can order vitamin D here.
Stress and being overweight can contribute to hypertension. It is very important that you be able to manage the stress in your life. Stress cannot be avoided, but it can be managed.
Exercise is one good way to diffuse stress. Another way is through quiet reflection on things spiritual. Turning to God is a great stress reliever.
Approximately 67 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Through a complete overhaul of your lifestyle, you can drop excess pounds. This will go a long way to greatly reducing blood pressure.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, caffeine will heighten it. Remove all caffeinated products from your diet. Stop the consumption of caffeine gradually--don't go cold turkey. Do it over a period of days or even weeks.
High Blood Pressure and Alzheimer's Disease
In new research in which scientists scanned people's brains, scarring caused by high blood pressure was noticed. This scarring has been associated with the later development of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.
The scar tissue begins to slowly build up in middle age, years before there is any loss of memory.
Although many people associate Alzheimer's with old age, many people under the age of 65 are being diagnosed with what is called early-onset Alzheimer's. Anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 Americans fall into this category.Healthy living > Natural drugs > Blood pressure