Can High Blood Pressure Cause A Stroke? 13 Facts You Must Know About High Blood Pressure
13 Facts About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is called hypertension. It’s the most important, modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality. This means it’s the one thing that you can change if you want to prevent yourself from dying from heart and blood vessel disease – and doing this one thing could make a big difference in your life.
High blood pressure is common in those who are older than 50 years old. It’s something that is really important to pay attention to. For every 20/10 mm Hg increase after blood pressure starting at 115/75 mm Hg, the risk for cardiovascular disease doubles. Even if you have normal blood pressure at 55 years old, there’s a 90% lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure (BP) is 120-139 mm Hg on the upper side and 80-89 mm Hg on the bottom number, lifestyle changes are needed to prevent the BP from going up further.
Even your children are at risk to develop high blood pressure, and doctors now have separate guidelines for BP problems in children. The number one way to prevent high blood pressure is to watch salt intake. Even changing your salt intake by cutting it in half can make a big difference in your blood pressure numbers.
What to Know About High Blood Pressure
Interested in finding out more information that has been reported in medical studies about high blood pressure? Check out these 12 facts below.
- Why Do I Have High Blood Pressure?
According to presenters at the National High Blood Pressure Education Program at the Boston University School of Medicine and others worldwide, obesity and excessive consumption of calories are major causes of hypertension.
High intake of salt is another one of the biggest culprits. Anthropologists studying hunters and gatherers thousands of years ago state that the average amount of sodium consumed per day in those times was only 690 mg. We don’t know if they considered how hunters preserved meat in salt and ate the salty meats or if they only considered fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in the diet with occasional fresh meat. This amount that hunters and gatherers ate daily is a far cry from today’s expected intake of 4000 mg per day, and 690-1200 mg in one serving of canned soup!
Doctors and scientists at the Cardiovascular Medicine department at the University of Michigan reported that there are factors in the environment that can cause high blood pressure: high altitude, loud noises, ambient air pollution, and cold temperatures. Brief exposures of any of these actually elevate BP over the long term but if any of these factors are sustained over time, then the BP may not come down. Thus, where you live – and work – is important to your health.
When it comes to air pollution, it’s when the fine particulate matter levels reach 2.5 that BP rises. This is something that Italian scientists reported in 2016. When the particulate matter causes the BP to rise, it may be a potential triggering factor for a heart attack.
Interestingly, here’s a personal story from one of my friends with left ventricular damage (heart failure) and mildly elevated BP. “I had heard of the fires that occurred in Redding, California and wanted to take a trip out there to see if I could help in some way with jobs and new businesses. Even though the fires had stopped for about a month, the air still was not good. It smelled funny and kind of acrid. You didn’t need a fine particulate matter reading to know the particulate matter was high. As it turns out, I never got the chance to go sight-seeing in the area. Even driving at 1000 feet elevation with all the particulate matter in the air, my heart began hurting and my blood pressure rose. I felt as if I was not going to be able to drive out of the area without a heart attack occurring and was glad to get to fresh air.”
Scientists say that acute and chronic exposures to air pollutants cause autonomic nervous system imbalance and the arteries constrict. Inflammatory compounds and mediators are released that affect the circulatory system. The exposure also increases the release of high levels of free radicals. All these contribute to high blood pressure.
- Who is Most Likely to Develop High Blood Pressure?
In China, doctors knew that high blood pressure caused problems and then checked the other end of the spectrum. Frail elderly patients that had lower BP levels (not normal but low) were actually found to be more at risk for dying than those with higher BP levels. Surprisingly, those with hypertension had a protective effect in lowering the risk of overall mortality.
Scientists in many countries have reported problems with noise in work situations. For example, in the paper industry, workers exposed to noise were compared to those not exposed to noise. Those exposed to noise had significantly higher BP readings, were more often diagnosed with hypertension, and had ECG abnormalities compared to those who weren’t exposed to noise. People who work in certain types of industries are more at risk to develop high blood pressure.
This study tells us that both high and low blood pressure are potential problems in one’s health.
People that drink a lot of alcohol are also likely to suffer from hypertension. Those who are in stressful situations and under severe stress for long periods of time find that the stress affects the nervous system, and the nervous system makes arteries constrict. This raises the BP. Sometimes, people will feel their blood pressure rising but most of the time, it’s non-detectable. When it rises, you may feel as if you are going to explode or get a headache.
Those who smoke are more likely to develop high blood pressure. Those who have low calcium levels can be subject to hypertension, as calcium supplementation reduces blood pressure in the medical studies. A high calcium diet allows the blood vessels to relax.
- Can High Blood Pressure be Cured? Can High Blood Pressure be Reversed? Can High Blood Pressure be Cured in 30 Days?
Blood pressure is one of those indices in the body that fluctuates daily and even hour to hour. It responds to the nervous system, to your hormones, to your thoughts, and to the external environment. Thus, to think it can be ‘cured’ is not accurate thinking. You can lower it to the normal range but may still have brief ‘blips’ of high blood pressure when exposed to loud noises or air pollution. The key to good blood pressure is to have a healthy functioning nervous system that is able to respond to the pressures of the day and night and your environment.
If your BP is high right now, there are things you can do to bring the levels down to normal for most of the day and night. You’ll feel better when this happens. The ‘what to do’ involves changing your lifestyle, changing your stress levels, how you think about things and the stressful situations in your life, changing your diet and your weight, and exercising. You can also take herbs such as artichoke and hibiscus tea to bring down high BP levels. When you do these things over time, you can get your ‘cure’. You could see a major difference in BP within 14 days, as many herbalists will attest. However, if you go back to your old ways, the BP will rise again.
High blood pressure can kill you. When your blood pressure is high, your arteries are under a lot of pressure, similar to a garden hose that has the water turned on to high but the spout has been closed. Any weakened areas of the arteries will potentially blow out with this high pressure. This results in internal hemorrhage within an area of the body where the artery ‘blew out’, usually the brain or area weakened by an aneurysm.
You can prevent this from occurring by two ways: 1) lowering the blood pressure, and 2) strengthening the artery walls and clearing out their plaque.
- How to Reverse High Blood Pressure Permanently?
The foundation for a healthy blood pressure consists of a healthy diet, adequate exercise, stress reduction, and sufficient amounts of potassium and magnesium.
In Poland, doctors have reported that there are lifestyle changes that can be initiated to reverse high blood pressure. They recommend natural methods including: lifestyle, regular physical activity, training in breathing, reducing body weight, lowering sodium intake, taking potassium supplementation, eating a balanced diet enriched with herbs, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, stop the smoking habit, avoid stress and regularly monitoring BP.
- What Foods Do I Eat for High Blood Pressure?
Medical professionals have used the DASH Diet for decades to bring BP levels down lower. This is a diet that is low in sodium (about 1500-2000 mg daily), high in potassium (4000-6000 mg), low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in vegetables, and low in dairy products. Essentially, the DASH Diet could be called a diet close to a plant-based diet. Interestingly, if you eat foods that are canned or frozen, these foods are usually low in potassium. The potassium is destroyed during the processing in these ways but remains high in fresh fruits and vegetables that are not wilted.
At the Harvard School of Medicine, doctors tested 412 patients on the DASH diet. Fifty-seven percent of them were women and 57% of them were black and all were over the age of 48. When the lowest levels of sodium in the diet were mandated along with the other dietary recommendations, everyone with high blood pressure had reduced levels of BP. Those who had the highest BP levels had the highest reduction of BP.
Those on the DASH Diet alone showed better improvements in brain thinking speed compared to those who were on a usual weight loss diet. The best overall brain improvements in those with high blood pressure were in those who lost weight plus exercised.
The Mediterranean diet, declared by the UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2013, according to one medical journal, is rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits and virgin olive oil. Thanks to its many beneficial effects, including those with regard to lowering BP, the Mediterranean diet may help people from modern countries to achieve a lower occurrence of CV disease. That’s what they say; however, other studies report that there’s not much of a BP lowering effect.
Data from human and animal studies have shown that the consumption of virgin olive oil shares most of the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet. Virgin olive oil is the only edible fat that can be consumed as a natural fruit product with no additives or preservatives, and contains a unique constellation of bioactive entities, namely oleic acid and minor constituents. Some of these lower BP.
Omega 3 fats, protein and vitamin D are nutrients that can help lower blood pressure levels. One health care practitioner commented for this article that her patient, a man in his late 50s, had dangerously high BP levels. She sent him to the ER and they checked his Vitamin D levels, finding them low. They gave him an injection of vitamin D and his BP immediately fell down to a more manageable level.
Other studies show that the following foods lower blood pressure:
- amino acids
- green coffee bean extract
- dark chocolate
- foods high in nitrates
Magnesium is known to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease – and can lower BP. In one Korean study of11,685 adults over the age of 20, women who were obese and had a low magnesium intake were more prone to have high blood pressure than those with high magnesium intake. Health practitioners usually recommend 500 mg magnesium per day for those who have high BP.
In a review of the medical literature, scientists analyzed BP levels of those on vegetarian diets. The vegetarian diets were associated with a reduction in mean systolic BP (-4.8 mm Hg) and diastolic BP (-2.2 mm Hg) compared with meat-eating diets. Although this certainly is significant, it can’t do much for those who have a BP of 145/92, and other means to lower the BP must be taken.
- What Foods Do I Avoid for High Blood Pressure?
Many people wonder whether or not foods containing sugar and processed foods – ones that are considered high glycemic index foods – contribute to the development of high blood pressure. A high glycemic index food is a carbohydrate food that raises blood sugar level high after eating the food. Some examples include whole wheat, jasmine rice, puffed rice products, donuts, pop-tarts, baked potatoes, pretzels, pizza, desserts high in sugar, and breakfast cereals.
The high blood sugar level you get from eating these foods then causes a lot of stress on every body organ and system and leads to the development of degenerative diseases, including high blood pressure.
In one study, scientists reviewed all the studies that had been done on this topic. They totaled up the glycemic index scores for the foods eaten every day and called this the glycemic load. When the glycemic load was reduced by 28 units, their BP fell by 2 mm in both the upper and lower numbers of the BP (systolic and diastolic pressures). They concluded that a lower glycemic index diet may lead to important reductions in blood pressure.
Other foods to avoid include salty foods. These are foods that contain an appreciable amount of salt per serving. For example, a food that contains 400 mg sodium per serving is too high for those who have high blood pressure.
- How Long Does It Take to Lower High Blood Pressure?
Herbalists may be the best person to answer this question, as they see clients with high blood pressure frequently. Their answer is that BP starts showing up lower on BP readings within two weeks but the client has to continue taking the herbs – and lifestyle changes – over longer periods of time. How much the BP has to fall determines how long it will take. For example, someone with BP levels of 220/88 is going to need a good 3-5 months to lower the BP and reduce body weight and start exercising. Someone who has a BP level of 140/82 could only need 21 days.
- Can I Exercise If I Have High Blood Pressure?
As a general rule, a regular practice of physical activity decreases the risk of death by up to 60%. When you participate in regular exercise, each session of exercise lowers your blood pressure, whether or not it’s endurance or strength exercise.
Aerobic exercise combined with dietary modifications makes a big difference in neurocognitive functioning (brain functions) in those who have high blood pressure. Those who combined the DASH diet along with a behavioral weight management program (that includes exercise) had the greatest improvements in memory and learning in some studies.
- What Happens If High Blood Pressure Doesn’t Go Away?
Hypertension is a silent killer. This means there are no obvious symptoms. BP will continue to rise if nothing is done about it. If you go to the doctor and he requires you to be on BP lowering medications, you will be put on one or more of these types of medications: beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotenisin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, or two or more of these medications. Each of these medications has side effects associated with it.
High blood pressure increases the risks of stroke, dementia, and causes brain dysfunction, too.
- How Long Does It Take for High Blood Pressure to Come Down?
You will start seeing blood pressure reductions of 10-20 mm Hg within a few weeks of starting your lifestyle changes. The more changes you make simultaneously, the sooner the changes will occur and the greater the drop in BP. However, BP will not go lower than the normal range of BP unless you combine the lifestyle changes with medications to lower BP. Thus, you will have to monitor your BP to see if your medication dosage should be lowered by your physician.
- Will Losing Weight Lower High Blood Pressure?
Weight loss will generally lower high blood pressure. A loss of 10% of body weight will often be enough for many people to lower their BP. However, if you have 80 pounds to lose, you may have to lose 26-30% of your body weight in order to get to normal body weight. Ideal body weight is always your goal, but do remember that even people with ideal body weight can have high BP. This is because they still have to ‘fix’ their lifestyle factors that are contributing to high BP.
You can do a lot to lower your BP on your own. Don’t let anyone tell you that high BP is always going to be a problem unless medication is taken for the rest of your life. This simply is not true. You have a lot of control over a lot of the factors that make BP rise. It’s just a matter of getting down to work on the problem.
- What is the relationship between high blood pressure and stroke?
Death from stroke has decreased over the last decade but the bad news is that stroke is still the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Modern medicine contributes the prescription of statins and high blood pressure medications to this decrease.
Having a stroke can leave you with paralysis on one side of the body with major repercussions for the rest of your life. With damage like this, you will go from being totally independent to becoming dependent on other people for everything from eating, bathing, walking, dressing, to using the bathroom. Many people end up with speech impediments or the use of an arm.
If you have high blood pressure, increasing your potassium intake can lower your risk of having a stroke by 24%. However, this is something that kidney disease patients are unable to do. The sooner you can start making changes in your lifestyle habits to prevent stroke, the better it is.
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