High blood pressure, or hypertension as it is known in the medical world, is one of the major risk factors for a heart disease. But there is more to high blood pressure than we know it. There are a lot of complications associated with the condition which could ultimately leave us incapacitated, debilitated and with a very poor quality of life. Unfortunately, high blood pressure can go unnoticed for years and years. This may go on without you experiencing any symptom or seeing any sign. Uncontrolled blood pressured level is the source of other health problems, but once hypertension is detected early, lifestyle changes, dietary intervention and other forms of treatment may be employed to help control the condition and then significantly reduce one’s chances of developing life-threating complications.
The Dangers of High Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure levels affect the many different organs and tissues in the body. In order for you to know the extent of damage which can result from hypertension, here is a brief outline of what it can actually do to your body:
It can damage your arteries. Arteries act as conduits, or channels, where blood flows from the heart to other organs in the body. These arteries are strong and flexible with elastic properties. Increased pressure within the walls of the arteries may damage the walls, cause inflammation and then consequently harden it. The hardening of the walls of the arteries is medically termed as arteriosclerosis. Over time, fatty deposits may form a plug on the arteries, blocking the normal flow of blood to the different body organs. This may deprive the organs of their much-needed blood supply. When this goes on for a long period of time, tissues of the organs distal to the blockage may die.
It can damage your heart. Remember that arteries are present in the heart. When heart arteries are affected, the heart could no longer properly perform its function of pumping blood to reach the different body parts. As a result, the heart has to work extra hard to ensure that blood reaches the farthest points of your body. This could enlarge the heart, and when it becomes too overworked, heart failure may occur.
It can damage your brain. The brain needs its blood supply too, and the lack of blood supply to the brain caused by damaged blood vessels may lead to conditions such as impairments in cognition, dementia, transient ischemic attack (TIA) and stroke. These conditions oftentimes affect a person’s quality of life.
It can damage your kidneys. Your kidneys play a very important role in maintaining your health. It filters out toxic waste materials and flushes it out of the body. Failure to do so may cause your body to be filled with poisonous materials. Imagine what can happen if your blood vessels had been damaged because of high blood pressure. Your kidneys will not be able to serve its purpose well. As a result, kidney failure and kidney scarring may occur.
It can damage your eyes. Your eyes are made up of tiny, delicate blood vessels, and high blood pressure can cause damage to these vessels. Because of this, retinopathy, nerve damage and fluid build-up may result.
What Can You Do?
High blood pressure is not a death sentence. With the proper treatment and the right lifestyle changes, it can be controlled. The key to a successful treatment program is to know what works for you. Go natural. This way, you are left in no doubt that you are safe from side and adverse effects of synthetically-made medications.
Look at your vegetable garden. Mother Nature has provided us with a bounty of blessings which are good for our health. If you don’t have a garden, do not pass up on these vegetables the next time you are looking for fresh and organic produce.
The medical director of the Hypertension Institute of Nashville and the Doctors of Traditional Medicine recommends eating at least 4 stalks of celery daily because it helps lower high blood pressure levels. Celery is said to contain phthalides, a phytochemical which promotes relaxation of the muscle tissues in the walls of the artery, allowing blood to flow smoothly and thereby lowering one’s blood pressure.
Broccoli, along with spinach, cabbage, arugula, collard greens and kale, are considered to be a part of the family of leafy greens. They are rich in nutrition and are high in iron and vitamins A and C. Broccoli is power-packed with magnesium, calcium, potassium and fiber – nutrients which all help lower blood pressure. They also possess a natural form of nitrites – compounds which help promote the relaxation of blood vessels thereby helping reduce heart strain and ultimately lowering high blood pressure levels.
Leafy greens are very easy to incorporate in one’s daily diet as they can be utilized as salads, as well as in main and side dishes. Eat at least one serving of broccoli per day.
Winter squash is packed with fiber and beta-carotene. Not only is this vegetable good for the eyes, it happens to be good for your heart too.
Beets are packed with nutrition. It also contains high levels of potassium, manganese and folate. These are nutrients which are essential for the proper functioning of the heart. Beet root is very nutritious, but its greens are also good for the heart as well.
Green peas are rich in vitamins and fiber which helps promote a healthy heart. A study revealed that yellow garden peas contain a protein that helps in lowering high blood pressure levels while reducing the strain in our kidneys.
Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. Fiber helps “sweep off” bad cholesterol which could just be the cause of fatty deposits while the antioxidants help fight off the negative effects of free radicals in the body by neutralizing them. Free radicals are the by-products of the oxidative processes inside the body. Aside from that, sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin A.