One of the major bodily issues vital for our health is silent. When something may go wrong, there probably won’t be any signs or symptoms. Maintaining a good blood pressure is crucial.
High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.”
If you have constant and highly elevated blood pressure, there is an increased risk of death from heart disease and stroke. So ironically, while they are silent those numbers behind blood pressure readings – the first thing a physician does for a patient at his office – are something that is closely watched and monitored, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 75 million American adults have high blood pressure – and that’s one in every three U.S. adults, the CDC says.
Anyone, the CDC says, can develop high blood pressure. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in the country. Often, high blood pressure is linked to a highly stressed life and poor eating habits. Experts say that you should never ignore high blood pressure because you are then taking a chance with your life.
How is blood pressure measured?
Essentially, high blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure in your arteries during the active and resting phases of each heartbeat. The systolic pressure is the top number showing the amount of pressure your heart generates when pumping blood through your arteries, and the diastolic pressure is the bottom number, relating to the amount of pressure in your arteries at rest.
What are designated healthy blood pressure readings have actually changed over the years, as more medications have proliferated to treat hypertension. Different countries evaluate blood pressure according to their own evaluations. In the U.S., blood pressure is now considered normal when it is below 120 (systolic) or 80 (diastolic). Pre-hypertension is listed at 120 to 139/80-89. Stage 1 hypertension is listed at 140-159/90-99, and Stage 2 is 160 or more. The World Health Organization, however, classifies normal blood pressure as anything below 140/90.
Your blood pressure is not static; it will vary throughout the day. And there are so many factors involved in determining your blood pressure – such as your stress level, physical condition, what you are eating and drinking and even your body position. Generally, blood pressure is considered usually lowest at night and rises sharply on getting up or waking.
Even though blood pressure has the word “pressure” –blood pressure is something you can manage depending on your overall health. According to the CDC, these are things you can do to help manage a healthy blood pressure level.
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Be physically active.
- Limit alcohol use.
- Don’t smoke.
- Prevent or treat diabetes.
Alternatives to Medication
Although drugs are often diagnosed to maintain normal blood pressure levels, there are the possibility of side effects, making it more urgent to consider alternative therapies that may be safer and less reactive.
With the perspective of Chinese medicine, blood pressure is related to the fact that the “body desires balance, and a healthy body is our natural state and any illness or health issue is attributed to something in the body being out of balance,” according to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. In Chinese medicine, it falls into the category of “vertigo or headache.”
Several Traditional Chinese Medicine Practices are considered great alternatives for helping to reduce hypertension and high blood pressure. That includes:
- Qigong – exercises for posture and coordination for different breathing patterns.
- Tai Chi – the Chinese conditioning exercise known for graceful movements.
According to a study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “increasing evidence indicates that Chinese herbs and formulas Chinese herbs and formulas that improve fire syndrome and Banxia Baizhu Tianma Tang (Decoction of Pinellia ternata, Atractylodes, and Gastrodia elata) syndrome are useful in treating hypertensive patients in China.”
Other herbs cited include: “(Gastrodia Elata, Uncaria, Abalone Shell, Eucommia Ulmoides Oliv, Achyranthes Root, Loranthus Parasiticus, Gardenia, Scutellaria Baicalensis Georgi, Leonurus Japonicus, Poria Cocos, and caulis polygoni multiflori).”
As with much in the study of blood pressure, more study needs to be done on the value of Chinese herbs with hypertension, the researchers report.
- Wang, J and Xiong, X. Evidence-based Chinese medicine for hypertension. 2013;2013:978398. doi: 10.1155/2013/978398. Epub 2013 Jun 3
- World Trade Organization. http://www.who.int/features/qa/82/en/