Blood pressure is different in the arterial and venous circulation. Between the two, the flow most frequently subject to pathological variations is the arterial one, which exerts a maximum and a minimum pressure (systolic and diastolic) on the vessel wall.
Of the two pressure values, the one considered “more important” is that of the minimum pressure.
Blood pressure is expressed with the unit of measurement in millimeters on a mercury column (mm / Hg).
The alterations in blood pressure can be excess (high blood pressure and possibly overt hypertension) and defect (low blood pressure).
Paradoxically, the first condition is noxious but asymptomatic and the second, while being clearly perceptible, only causes a lot of weakness.
Normal blood pressure values are 70mmHg / 110mmHg or 80mmHg / 120mmHg (minimum / maximum pressure).
Chronic hypertension contributes to the onset of vascular events also in the heart and brain; these may be responsible for permanent death / disability. In addition, it causes the degeneration of the kidneys, eyes and other tissues.
High blood pressure can be due to:
- Genetic predisposition.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Nutritional factors.
What to do
- Especially in the presence of a family predisposition, keep blood pressure values constantly monitored.
If diagnosed with high blood pressure or pre-hypertension:
- Contact a dietician for:
- Lose weight: remember that for every 10kg of fat disposed of (especially abdominal fat) the pressure tends to drop by 5-20mmHg.
- Structuring a diet for hypertension:
- Reduction of harmful nutritional factors.
- Increase of beneficial nutritional factors.
- Increase the level of physical activity.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Assess the relevance of natural remedies, supplements and therapies.
- Reduce other risk factors for cardiovascular events:
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- Oxidative stress.
- If nutritional and behavioral therapy has no effect, the doctor will evaluate the relevance of a drug treatment.
Monitor high blood pressure: the best meters you can buy online
High blood pressure is an indicator of the general health situation that must be constantly monitored, in order to avoid its effects and to keep it under control. For several years, it is no longer necessary to go to the doctor or other health facilities or pharmacies to measure blood pressure, but it is possible to have a pressure gauge portable, which you can keep handy at home and use whenever there is a need. Here are some of the most popular products that can be purchased online.
Among blood pressure monitors, it is particularly successful on Amazon OMRON X2 Basic, which offers an oscillometric method of blood pressure measurement with the support of a cuff, which allows you to check your blood pressure from the comfort of your home. Easy to use, it allows monitoring of blood pressure at home with reliable, accurate results and with the detection of irregular heartbeats. For accurate home monitoring, X2 Basic measures blood pressure by detecting blood movement in the brachial artery thanks to the 22-32cm cuff.
Sanitas SBM 21 is an upper arm blood pressure monitor that classifies the results with a colored scale, detects the heart rhythm and warns in case of possible arrhythmia. It is equipped with a large LCD display with date and time, automatic stop device. This product is particularly appreciated for its cost-effectiveness: it is intended for arm circumferences of 22 - 36 cm and comes with a practical carrying case.
Il HOMIEE blood pressure monitor has a 5 "backlit LCD sphygmomanometer, which offers a clear display of all measured values on a large screen, including date and time display, which is particularly easy to read for the elderly. Up to 180 readings can be recorded: the cuff size is 22-42cm, suitable for different arm circumferences. Two power options: Comes with 4 AAA batteries, which can be powered via the Type-C interface, although the charging cable is not included If no operation is performed, the machine will automatically turn off after three minutes.
What NOT to do
- After an initial diagnosis of high blood pressure, skip routine checkups or avoid seeing your doctor.
- Eating foods that can aggravate hypertension.
- Drinking alcohol and smoking.
- Keep overweight.
- Remain sedentary and do not practice or partially respect the indications on motor activity.
- Ignore the presence of other risk factors for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events:
- Pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- Neglecting drug therapies to lower blood pressure.
Attention, the pressure rises at night. For this, according to experts, nighttime blood pressure is the most important.
What to eat
To reduce high blood pressure it is essential to follow a specially structured diet rich in:
- Omega 3: they are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic (DHA) and alpha-linolenic (ALA). They play a protective role against all metabolic diseases, including high blood pressure. The first two are biologically very active and are mainly contained in: sardine, mackerel, bonito, sardinella, herring, alletterato, tuna belly, garfish, seaweed, krill, etc. The third, on the other hand, is less active but constitutes a precursor of EPA; it is mainly contained in the fat fraction of certain foods of vegetable origin and in the relative oils of: soy, linseed, kiwi seed, grape seed, etc.
- Potassium: increasing its intake in the diet decreases blood pressure and increases the urinary excretion of sodium. By reaching a dose of 4000mg / day it is possible to reduce blood pressure up to 4mmHg. It is contained in all foods, with the exception of seasoning fats. However, the foods that are most suitable for increasing its intake in the diet are fresh and raw vegetables and fruit.
- Magnesium: like the previous one, it promotes the lowering of blood pressure. Doses of 120-973mg / day (over 200% of the requirement) have been shown to be effective in reducing hypertension. It is mainly contained in foods of plant origin; in particular: whole grains and bran, oil seeds, cocoa, vegetables, etc.
- Flavanols: apples, green tea, cocoa, blueberries, red onions, spinach, are all foods rich in flavanols and flavonoids, capable of lowering blood pressure.
The consumption of extra virgin olive oil is inversely proportional to high blood pressure. This does not necessarily depend on oleic acid (omega 9); in fact, this seasoning fat is also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, polyphenols and phytosterols, etc.
For those suffering from other metabolic pathologies or overt metabolic syndrome it may be useful to increase the intake of:
- Omega 6 fatty acids.
- Omega 9 fatty acids.
- Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
- Polyphenols and phytosterols.
What NOT to Eat
- Sodium: directly and indirectly related to high blood pressure, it should be eliminated from the diet. We are talking about added sodium, i.e. that present in cooking salt (sodium chloride) and used as a storage medium for: cured meats, sausages, canned meat, canned fish, pickled or salted foods, etc. They are also rich in: salty snacks, fast food and junk food in general.
- Saturated and hydrogenated fats, the latter especially in trans conformation: they are related to an increase in blood pressure, cholesterolemia and systemic inflammation. Saturated fats are mainly present in: fatty cheeses, cream, fatty cuts of fresh meat, sausages and cured meats, hamburgers, wurstel, palm kernel and palm oil, other bi-fractionated oils, etc. Hydrogenated fats, which may have a high percentage of trans-conformation chains, are mainly contained in: hydrogenated oils, margarines, sweet snacks, salty snacks, packaged baked goods, etc.
- Alcohol: it is a molecule directly involved in the pathological increase in blood pressure. All drinks are involved, from lighter ones to spirits. However, it should be specified that one or two units of red wine per day are not considered cardiovascular risk factors, on the contrary. Thanks to the concentration of polyphenols, they seem to have a preventive function.
- Licorice: widely used for gastric problems (for example gastritis and reflux), however, it has the side effect of increasing blood pressure a lot.
Natural Cures and Remedies
- Motor activity: especially for sedentary subjects, prolonged aerobic activity (brisk walking, cycling, rowing, swimming, running, etc.) favors the reduction of high blood pressure.
- Food supplements:
- Omega 3, based on oils obtained from fishery products and seeds:
- Cod liver oil: rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), vitamin D and vitamin A.
- Krill oil: is part of zooplankton and is rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
- Algae oil: rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
- Wheat germ oil, linseed oil, sesame oil, etc. They contain ALA and vitamin E.
- Arginine: it is an amino acid precursor of nitric oxide, an essential molecule for maintaining vascular endothelial function. A few grams per day of arginine could have a positive effect.
- Diuretics: are products capable of increasing renal filtration. By promoting urine production, blood plasma volume and pressure are reduced. It is advisable not to overdo it and avoid them in the presence of drug therapy. Some are: pineapple, birch, artichoke, cucumber, walnut leaves, onion, horsetail, fennel, apple, nettle, elderflower, corn stigmas and dandelions.
- Hypotensive plant extracts: they seem to act differently from diuretics, but still have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure. Some are: garlic, onion, rauwolfia, birch, hawthorn, heart, ginkgo biloba, blueberry, orthosiphon, mistletoe, red vine, olive, periwinkle, uncaria, lily of the valley, ligustic, carcadè (hibiscus), evodia and Iranian yarrow.
They are of different kinds:
- Diuretics: like natural foods, but more effectively, these drugs increase the production and expulsion of urine by decreasing blood volume and blood pressure.
- Sympatholytics or adrenergic inhibitors: they are divided into alpha and beta blockers. They are antagonists of receptors in the sympathetic system and prevent interaction with adrenergic molecules that promote vasoconstriction.
- Calcium antagonists: act on the smooth muscle of blood vessels and block calcium ion channels. In practice, they prevent the contraction of muscle fibers and keep the vessel walls relaxed.
- Inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system: this link is at the basis of blood pressure regulation. By reducing the renin-angiotansin system these drugs promote the decrease in blood volume and dilate the arteries.
- Direct-acting vasodilators.
- Medicines for hypertensive emergency: they do not represent a therapy but an instant remedy for severe cases.
- Maintain a normal weight.
- Practice regular motor activity, especially aerobic.
- Avoid smoking and alcoholism.
- Follow a correct diet, limiting the foods not recommended and increasing those beneficial for high blood pressure.
There are no medical treatments other than drug therapy to treat high blood pressure.