High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one symptom that indicates the presence of cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood flow against the wall of the major arteries. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury by a machine called a sphygmo-manometer. 'Normal' blood pressure is considered to be 120 over 80, where the '120' is the heart pumping and '80' is the heart resting measurement.
You are considered to have high blood pressure if your blood pressure readings are consistently over 150/90. High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart failure and accelerates atherosclerosis. Symptoms include headache, ringing in the ears, bleeding nose, fatigue and irritability, however you may not notice any symptoms. It is a disease that is associated with the Western lifestyle and occurs only in developing countries.
Factors that contribute to hypertension include obesity, pregnancy, worry and a genetic predisposition. High dietary salt levels appear to raise the blood pressure of susceptible people. Low dietary potassium, calcium and magnesium have also been associated with hypertension and blood pressure is higher in those who smoke cigarettes.
High blood pressure is a common complaint and many people take drugs for it for the rest of their lives, yet most cases can be managed naturally by such measures as: exercise, mediation, reducing salt, reducing coffee and cola consumption, drinking no more than two standard drinks a day, reducing saturated fats, eating four serves of fish a week, and eating garlic and onions. Statistics show vegetarians have lower blood pressure than meat eaters. (Help Yourself: an A-Z of natural cures for common complaints)
Complementary Healthcare Council
For more information, take a look through Help Yourself: an A-Z of natural cures for common complaints, by Mim Beim and Jan Castorina. It's published by Doubleday and is available through all good bookstores.