Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is a medical measurement of the pressure at which blood is being pumped around the body and is affected by how strongly your arteries resist blood flow. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two figures. The first is systolic pressure – and this is the pressure of the blood when the heart beats to pump blood out. The second is called diastolic pressure – and is the pressure of the blood when the heart rests in between beats, which reflects how strongly your arteries resist blood flow.
How high is high?
How high does blood pressure need to be before we get worried about it? If your blood pressure is “140 over 90”, or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
The medical definition of hypertension is any readings on separate occasions consistently above 140/90mmHg.
A blood pressure reading below 130/80mmHg is considered to be normal.
Who is at risk from hypertension?
Hypertension increases as we age (over 65 years) and the following can make it worse:
- Family history of hypertension
- Ethnicity – African or Caribbean descent
- Too much salt in diet
- Too few fruit and vegetables in diet
- Inadequate exercise
- Excessive coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
- Excessive alcohol.
If you fall into any of the groups listed above, consider making changes to your lifestyle to lower your risk of high blood pressure. Also consider having your blood pressure checked more often, ideally about once a year.
What can you do to prevent and treat hypertension?
You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by:
- Losing weight
- Reducing your salt consumption
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Avoid caffeine.
You should get your blood pressure checked regularly by a doctor. If it is high, it will need to be closely monitored until it is brought under control. Your doctor may suggest some of the changes to your lifestyle that are listed above. They may also treat the condition with one of a range of hypertension medication.
There are some plants that may help with hypertension – it is important that you speak to your doctor before you try any alternative remedies such as these. You should not stop taking your medication unless your doctor advises that it is safe to do so.
Mistletoe has a diuretic effect, strengthens the heart, and reduces blood cholesterol, because it acts as a vasodilator.
You should boil 5 g of mistletoe for 15 minutes and drink a tablespoon of it. Alternatively, you can boil 15 mistletoe leaves in a half litre of water for 15 minutes and drink 2 cups a day for 5 to 7 days.
Some people believe that you can control hypertension that occurs all of a sudden with 10 drops of lavender on a cloth. Breathe the odour in deeply.
This plant is thought to reduce blood pressure and may help intensify medication to treat hypertension. You can make an infusion with the flowering tops in a glass of water and drink it a few times a day.
Mango leaves are rich in gallic acid which is used to fight bronchitis and has the ability to lower hypertension. Leave two semi dry leaves that are cut into small pieces in 1 litre of water in the sun for 14 hours. Drink it twice a day for 3 days.
This plant regulates the cardiac rhythm and at the same time, dilates the coronary arteries and improves heart functioning and normalises blood pressure. It can also be used for anxiety, tachycardia, and cholesterol reduction.
Make a white hawthorn infusion by pouring a cup of boiling water over two tablespoons of chopped leaves. Drink two or three cups a day.
Green olive tree leaf extract has been very effective for the treatment of hypertension for many years. Its consumption is just as effective as commonly prescribed medications. Moreover, it also reduces triglyceride levels in blood plasma.
You can boil a tablespoon of leaves in a cup of water for ten minutes. Drink it on an empty stomach and before you go to bed.