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Take the Fight out of Hypertension

Quítale Fuerza a la Hipertensión

As the heart pumps blood, it exerts force on the blood vessels to carry blood throughout the rest of the body. The more force the heart exerts on blood vessels, the more work it is doing which can likely damage the vessels.

A person's blood pressure may rise occasionally for valid reasons, but when high blood pressure becomes frequent, it is called hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured by two numbers: a 3-digit number indicates the pressure of the heart as it beats, known as systolic pressure, and the 2-digit number shows the tension in the arteries between beats or at rest, called diastolic pressure. Based on this, it’s important to know that:

  • Normal pressure is 120 mm Hg (systolic pressure) and 80 mm Hg (diastolic pressure).

  • Hypertension is equal or higher to 140 mm Hg (systolic pressure) and 90 mm Hg (diastolic pressure). (1)

Causes and Symptoms

Hypertension can be due to family history, other chronic diseases, and age and sex. However, the fundamental causes of hypertension are risk factors, over which we do have control, such as:

  • Overweight or obesity

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Poor diet

  • Tobacco and alcohol use

Some symptoms of hypertension include:

  • Headaches

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Dizziness

  • Chest pain

  • Heart palpitations

  • Nosebleeds

Most cases, though, do not exhibit symptoms, which is why hypertension is known as the silent enemy. The only way to find out the status of our blood pressure is by measuring it every time we go to the doctor, at a blood pressure monitoring kiosk in a pharmacy, or by using an at-home, portable monitor.

Why take this so seriously?

Worldwide, at least 1 in 5 people have high blood pressure and it is the cause of half of all stroke- and heart disease-related death. (1)

Many people with hypertension also have sugar regulation issues, among others. The greatest risk behind that is that the excess force in the blood vessels causes damage to vital organs like the kidneys, brain, and heart. In fact, hypertension ranks first among preventable causes of heart disease and stroke, blindness, kidney impairment, mental deterioration, and death. (2)

Simple steps to control blood pressure

We will continue to insist on the urgency of physical activity by hammering this home on every blog, especially if you want to keep blood pressure under control. (1)

If your blood pressure does rise from time to time, focus on eating foods such as:

  • Non-alkalized and unsweetened cocoa powder or cocoa chips that are rich in flavonoids, which cause blood vessels to dilate and blood pressure decrease. (3)

  • Potassium-rich products like leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, dairy, salmon, nuts, and beans. These minerals help the body evacuate sodium and relieve pressure in the blood vessels. (4)

  • Less sodium. Decrease the amount of table salt you add to your meals, in addition to the very important task of learning how to check sodium content in other processed products by reading the labels. (5)

The maximum daily amount of sodium that a person with good blood pressure should consume is 2300 milligrams, equivalent to one teaspoon of salt. The maximum that a hypertensive person should consume is 1500 per day, or ½ a teaspoon.

There are food products, such as soups or seasoned sausages, that have almost half of the sodium content we require daily in a single serving.

What should we focus on?

The percentage of sodium should be as low as possible, around 5% or less is considered low. More than 20% sodium per serving is too high. Here are 2 simple tricks you can do to eliminate excess sodium:

  • When you buy canned beans and other similar products, rinse them in plenty of water first to remove the salt.

  • Try not to use salt to season your food. Instead, use spices like turmeric, pepper, garlic, and herbs.

Ask your doctor if they recommend that you follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is low in salt and helps with weight loss as well as lowering bad cholesterol. (6) Also ask about supplements that work to fight high blood pressure and prevent heart issues, such as:

  • Omega 3. Research has shown that eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) support healthy blood activities in different ways. DHA has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart rate and vascular function. (7)

  • Hibiscus tea. A study conducted in Iran showed the consumption of Jamaican tea twice a day could effectively reduce blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, in patients with stage 1 hypertension (8).

Don't open the door to this silent killer. Take control of the risk factors in your life and help keep your heart working strong and steady.

Let's keep working together to become healthier.

Your Santo Remedio team

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