High blood pressure or medically hypertension is risk factor that substantially increases the risk of developing a heart disease, stroke and other severe conditions. It is estimated that in the US only, there are over 70 million adults who are affected by hypertension. That means that 1 out of 3 adults is affected.
At this point it is important to mention that even one-third of the Americans are suffering from prehypertension, a condition which is characterized by high blood pressure, but not yet HBP. Statistical data showed that this health issues costs the USA $46 billion a year, including the cost of health care services, treatment and medicines.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure refers to increased blood pressure in the arteries, which most commonly is caused by two factors:
- If the heart pumps blood too forcefully
- When the smaller blood vessels of the body became narrow, thus causing the blood to exert more pressure
Causes of high blood pressure
Primary Hypertension is most common type of HBP. According to experts, genetic factors have a crucial role in HBP, including genes that affect blood pressure control and those that cause abnormalities of the sympathetic nervous system.
The condition Secondary Hypertension usually is caused by an underlying medical condition or medications including:
- Endocrine disorders
- Diabetes type 1 and 2
- Birth defect in the aorta, (the main artery of the heart)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (generic, Advil, Motrin), naproxen (generic, Aleve), and Aspirin
- Kidney disease
- Birth control pills
- Family history
- Men over 45 and women over 55
- Chronic stress
- Physical inactivity
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Chronic alcohol use
The harm in pharmaceutical treatment
When it comes to treatment of hypertension, there are various drugs used for that purpose, including diuretics, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), beta blockers, Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARB) and -converting enzyme (ACE). Unfortunately, there are many studies which have proved that these medications cause the patient to feel worse than the disease itself caused him to feel initially.
Treatment: most doctors prescribe these drugs for treatment of hypertension. Namely, they are created to help the kidneys flush out excess water and salt in the body.
Potassium-sparing diuretics – Amiloride (Midamor, generic), triamterene (Dyrenium, generic) and spironolactone (Aldactone, generic).
Thiazide diuretics – chlorothiazide (Diuril), bendroflumethiazide (Naturetin), chlorthalidone (Thalitone, Clorpres), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), methyclothiazide (Enduran), indapamide (Lozol) and metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
Loop diuretics – ethacrynic acid (Edecrin, generic), torsemide (Demadex, generic), furosemide (Lasix, generic) and bumetanide (Bumex, generic).
Thiazide diuretics lower the body’s potassium supply, and on that way are increasing the risk for disturbances of heart rhythm. Moreover, these drugs are related to elevated blood sugar levels, elevated uric acid levels and erectile dysfunction.
- Depression and irritability
- Urinary incontinence
- Reduced sexual drive
Treatment: Beta blockers lower blood pressure levels and thus are slowing the heart rate.
Medication brands: acebutolol (Sectral), nadolol (Corgard), Propranolol (Inderal), atenolol (Tenormin), timolol (Blocadren), metoprolol (Lopressor), betaxolol (Kerlone), penbutolol (Levatol), carteolol (Cartrol), pindolol (Visken), carvedilol (Coreg) and nebivolol (Bystolic).
These medicines are not recommended for people who are suffering from asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis as they may narrow bronchial airways. In combination with diuretic, they increase the risk for diabetes. Sudden withdrawals may increase blood pressure and heart rate, which may lead to a heart attack or angina.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Memory loss
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Reduced sexual drive
- Coldness in extremities (legs, arms, toes and hands)
- Vivid dreams and nightmares
- Reduced exercising abilities
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
Treatment: these drugs reduce the overall workload of the heart and widen the blood vessels.
Medication brands: perindopril (Aceon, generic), quinapril (Accupril, generic), ramipril (Altace, generic), captopril (Capoten, generic), enalapril (Vasotec, generic), benazepril (Lotensin, generic) and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, generic).
- Low blood pressure
- Irritating cough
- Unfit for pregnancy
Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBS)
Treatment: same as ACE, these medicines lower blood pressure and widen blood vessels.
Medication brands: Losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar, generic), valsartan (Diovan), irbesartan (Avapro), candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan (Teveten), telmisartan (Micardis), olmesartan (Benicar) and azilsartan (Edarbi).
- Low blood pressure
- Raised potassium levels
- Nasal congestion
- Unfit for pregnancy
Calcium-channel blockers (CCBS)
Treatment: drugs which relax the blood vessels.
Medication brands: Diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), nisoldipine amlodipine (Norvasc), felodipine (Plendil), nicardipine (Cardene), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), (Sular) and isradipine (DynaCirc).
- Food interactions
- Erectile dysfunction
Below we are going to present you several herbs which are natural alternatives for treatment of High Blood Pressure
Many years ago, hawthorn was used in the treatment of heart disease. This herb contains powerful antioxidant flavonoids which are able to improve blood glow, dilate the blood vessels and protect them from damage.
Studies showed that compared to the berries, the buds and leaves of this herb contains higher amount of flavonoids. There is study which showed that patients who took hawthorn extract for 16 weeks manage to lower the high blood pressure.
This herb is extremely efficient in treatment of anxiety. Its flowers contain flavonoids, as well as mucilage component and volatile oil which together work perfectly and relieve inflammation. Linden works as a powerful sedative, astringent, antispasmodic and diuretic agent.
There are many separate studies which have proved that mistletoe has the ability to neutralize blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes, but also can treat cardiovascular disease. Additionally it was proved to be efficient it relieving arthritic and rheumatic pain.
Study in which were included two groups of male participants at the age between 30-65 years showed incredible results of use of this plant. Namely, the first group was given 250 ml of hibiscus tea while the second one was given only water. After certain period of time, the first group experienced significant improvement in inflammation and blood pressure compared to the second group which consumed only water.
Many European countries utilize yarrow due to its potent medicinal properties. Namely, this plant contains flavonoids which have the ability to relax the smooth muscles in the uterus and intestine and in same time improve digestion. The stems, leaves and flowers of this plant are utilized for lowering blood pressure.