in this article:
Arterial hypertension is a disease that must be addressed differently from other forms of cardiovascular disease, because it is a condition that predisposes to damage, even important, on the target organs, mainly represented by the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes and until these damages are not determined can also start in a completely asymptomatic manner.
The importance of receiving remedies against high blood pressure
Hypertension can create alterations on the heart tissues ranging from left ventricular hypertrophy to angina, to myocardial infarction and to changes of various degrees of the structure and function of the heart, which on the whole are called hypertensive heart disease.
The risk of developing arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, which in turn may be responsible for the stroke, should not be underestimated. In addition to the ischemic damage secondary to the thromboembolic phenomena of fibrillation, the brain can cause hemorrhages of varying degrees due to hypertensive peaks, in addition to a chronic suffering that creates irreversible damage over time.
On the kidneys it can lead to functional impairment of various degrees, which in turn worsens the control of blood pressure and reduces the possibility of using some antihypertensive drugs and on the eyes can cause the appearance of damage enclosed in the term ‘hypertensive retinopathy’, the which interfere with visual acuity.
As mentioned, hypertension can run a long time without symptoms and this also poses problems related to an early diagnosis, sometimes difficult, though important. If it gives a sign of itself before the so-called organ damage just described, this is surely an eventuality to be considered positive, like any symptom that underlies a disease, because it represents an ‘alarm bell’ that sounds, a sort of light ‘ red ‘that turns on and pushes the patient to consult the doctor, allowing the latter to adopt all the tools necessary for a diagnosis and consequential optimal therapy.
In the event of a headache, for example, especially if it is new, it should be ruled out that this symptom may be secondary to high blood pressure, as well as an epistaxis (loss of blood from the nose) may depend on the same problem. It should also be emphasized that hypertension does not belong only to the highest age groups, but may also occur at an early age and often in the latter case it is secondary, ie due to different diseases that also lead to increased pressure values, as in the case of primitive hyperaldosteronism or of hypertension from renal pathologies (such as renal artery stenosis) or in cases of adrenal neoplasms or in patients with juvenile type I diabetes and so on.
Without the diagnosis of hypertension, it is necessary to perform an adequate therapy for the maintenance of blood pressure in a normal range. If this goal is intercepted, it is working in terms of damage prevention that hypertension can create and this is the correct way to combat this form of cardiovascular disease.
Why is it important to establish an all-inclusive pressure-stabilizing therapy?
Can you be sure that the prescribed therapy is actually working as expected if the blood pressure values are normal? And what to do in case the pressure values are still high despite the prescribed therapy?
The two questions therefore concern two types of diametrically opposed pharmacological response. In the first case, the therapy seems to work, but this allows us to be sure that the consequential repercussions on hypertension are avoided? In the second the therapy does not seem to work, but is this sufficient to conclude that it is necessary to modify it? Let’s see if you can clarify and what to advise in terms of behavior from the point of view of the doctor and the patient.
The doctor should not assume that the pressure values are well controlled if the patient reports the normal response during his home measurements, nor should he consider them as such if this is an outpatient during control visits. Consideration should be given, in fact, to a whole series of variables that are able to interfere with the pressure values distributed within twenty-four hours.
It is necessary to pursue the aim of demonstrating, without relying on intuition, because the assumption is the mother of all errors, maximum always valid in medicine, regardless of the problem in question and so, also for the control of blood pressure values, it is important to demonstrate and not just suppose that blood pressure is effectively well controlled. This is why we must not rely exclusively on the results of conventional pressure measurement (MPC), as it is generally done after the patient has relaxed for a few minutes, because this allows knowing, with a good degree of reliability, exclusively the pressure values of the moment.
Not having detailed information on the values distributed throughout the day can, however, lead to underestimations and this is equivalent, in prognostic terms, to the absence of prevention of organ damage.
This is why recently the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) has published an interesting scientific document concerning the Ambulatory Monitoring of Blood Pressure in the 24 hours (ABPM). The document represents the guidelines on the subject and demonstrates that ABPM is an important method in clinical practice, making numerous measurements possible, during the day and at night, at rest or during psycho-physical stress and is able to eliminate interferences such as the alarm reaction or ‘white coat syndrome’, the lack of accuracy or errors of the MPC.
In this way, more realistic information on the blood pressure in the individual patient is obtained. Regardless of the MPC reference values, pressure levels measured with ABPM ≥130 / 80 mmHg in the 24 hours, ≥135 / 85 mmHg in the daytime hours, or ≥120 / 70 mmHg in the night hours, should be considered outside the range of normality. For clarity of information there have been objections in the scientific world on the routine use of ABPM in clinical practice. We individually analyze these apparent ‘open problems’.
Perhaps most important is the reliability of the results that can be obtained. In this direction important steps have been taken and the current ‘pressurometers’ are validated in research centers (outside of any conflict of interest with the manufacturing companies), using unanimously accepted protocols (as in the case of the study reported above). This is how reliability is decreed. Clearly this is an absolutely essential prerogative and the use of non-validated equipment affects the results of the technique.
Another controversial aspect is represented by the cost of the method considered high, but by studies on the cost-effectiveness conducted in prestigious institutions, it has emerged that ABPM is instead able to obtain savings in terms of economic resources, above all (but not only) when used in patients with newly diagnosed hypertension, as it allows to identify those ‘apparently’ hypertensives that do not require antihypertensive therapy.
Another aspect that should not be underestimated is the number of measurements that the ABPM must perform. In the study of ESH it is shown that the frequency of measurements in the 24 hours of recording should not exceed one every 15 min. to avoid interference with the normal activity of patients and not less than one every 30 min. because otherwise the number of measurements may be insufficient; for the night period more frequent measurements of one every 30 min. they could interfere with sleep by negatively affecting the blood pressure values.
Finally, it is also necessary to bear in mind the influences of the climatic temperatures on the pressure values since during the winter the values tend to be higher and the opposite occurs during the summer. However, the subjective and objective influences on the results of ABPM can be multiple and that is why in any case the survey should be interpreted and not ‘read’ at the end and for this reason it is important that a sufficiently detailed clinical diary is associated.
In particular, attention must be paid to the diagnosis of resistant hypertension, defined by failure to check the values, with a systolic blood pressure ≥160 mm Hg, in hypertensive patients who take at least 3 antihypertensive drugs, one of which must be a diuretic, as this condition is associated at a high cardiovascular and renal risk.
The ABPM therefore becomes a very important aid in the definition of resistant hypertension, since it allows to correctly include or exclude many patients, demonstrating a suboptimal control or, on the contrary, revealing an excessive ‘white coat’ effect. The value of the ABPM in these cases is tangible, above all because it is a more specific and more sensitive method of the MPC.
The distinction between presumed or actual failure of antihypertensive therapy and the identification of subjects with misdiagnosed resistant hypertension represent the true added value of ABPM. In this way, in any case, the risk of unsuitable or otherwise unsuccessful sending of potential candidates to undergo new interventional procedures, such as renal denervation with percutaneously RF or baroreflex activation therapy, is in any case canceled.
The patient must contribute to monitoring the values measuring at home the blood pressure only once a week (and not daily), preferably always respecting the same day, using one also of the automatic type, but reliable brand and free of mechanical damage (for example for accidental fall) or thermal (avoid storing the appliance where there may be extreme temperature changes, such as in the car), early in the morning, before breakfast and before taking drugs, especially the antihypertensive and after 10 or 15 minutes of absolute rest in the armchair.
On the other days of the week, the patient should measure the pressure only in case of concrete suspicion (therefore in the presence of symptoms) that the values are excessively high or low, such as in the presence of headache or fatigue, dyspnoea or ‘dizziness’. In this way the negative influence of the emotional factor on the measurement is avoided, when this is carried out too frequently. Measurements should be noted in a clinical diary of considerable importance for the physician who performs the scheduled checks over time.
Natural remedies for sleep apnea in hypertensive patients
It can sometimes escape medical attention that a patient with high blood pressure suffers from obstructive apneas in sleep, that is those interruptions of the breath that happen during sleep especially in snoring subjects.
Night snoring and obstructive sleep apnea represent a conflict between the tongue and the soft structures of the upper mouth (soft palate, tonsils, adenoids, retropharynx). Snoring is due in most cases to the vibration of the soft palate and is due to the fact that the air inhaled by the mouth, and not from the nose as it would be desirable (which involves the dryness of the throat and the need to drink at night), finds a narrow passage between the palate and the tongue.
The passage of the air inspired in this narrow passage makes the soft palate vibrate, thus producing the noise of snoring. Obstructive apnea occurs when the air transit path closes completely: the patient in these cases performs inspiratory efforts rendered ineffective by the obstruction, which can last several seconds and are usually seen with some anxiety from the partner.
Despite the fact that apnea episodes can often take on dramatic characteristics for those who assist them, the resumption of the normal respiratory rhythm, usually following an abrupt awakening, and the substantial normalcy of the patient during the day with the exception of a certain drowsiness, would seem to ‘apnea features of relative benignity. This can happen because they escape the insidious and serious consequences that sleep apnea can cause: one of these is constituted by arterial hypertension.
Indeed, it has been demonstrated in numerous experimental studies that sleep apnea, often in number to be configured as a true Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) and their severity are factors of high risk for the onset of ‘Hypertension. The recurrence of these episodes throughout the night every night ends up tilting the self-regulation system of cardiovascular activity: Arterial hypertension is one of the most frequent consequences.
Those suffering from hypertension and snoring should deepen the study of their sleep to see if their snoring is only an unpleasant sound phenomenon or if it complicates with episodes of apnea. Such diagnostic investigation nowadays can also be done outpatient or more often in Day Hospital regime through an examination: polysomnography. With this test the main respiratory and cardiological parameters are monitored during sleep. In addition to the presence of possible apneas, polysomnography is able to highlight the degree of severity.
The remedy most used in cases that, to an accurate survey of the quality of sleep reveal the characteristics described above, consists of the prescription of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). It is a motor pump to be used in sleep, which delivers a continuous positive pressure air through a gold-nasal mask. The air introduced to positive pressure in the airways contrasts the narrowing and closing, and therefore prevents snoring and apnea.
As an alternative to the application of CPAP, which is not always, however, tolerated by the patient for the entire life, a treatment aimed at repositioning the jaw through the use of devices similar to orthodontic devices, generically called ‘Oral Devices, can be successful. ‘, When a dentist experienced in breathing problems in sleep detects that there are indications for this type of intervention. The mandibular advancement induced by the intraoral device also advances the base of the tongue, widening the otherwise restricted airway gauge.
The scientific literature now reports a great number of successes on obstructive apnea by using this dental technique. Mandibular repositioning, when indicated, is very often decisive and decisive also for various pictures of muscle-tension headache, ear disorders, and vertigo.
- Follow a lifestyle and a diet that allow weight loss in case of overweight and obesity;
- Refrain from alcohol consumption;
- Refrain from using sedatives;
- To regulate, as far as possible, the sleep-wake rhythm;
- Avoid sleeping in a supine position.
Home remedies for stress-related hypertension
People who respond to states of acute stress with a sharp rise in blood pressure run the risk of developing hypertension over the years. A longitudinal study examined the trend of blood pressure values of 1196 healthy subjects who had been subjected to acute stress years earlier and showed that the higher the pressure was on that occasion, the more it was even years later when measured at rest. A strong pressure increase due to acute stress therefore predicts the future hypertension: we can hypothesize that the tendency to the upward pressure is stable and that is therefore realized every time the person is stressed, determining in the long run a steady rise in values even at rest.
If hypertension can be predicted by the response to acute stress it follows that measuring the pressure on that occasion can be useful to prevent hypertension in those who could develop it even in the absence of proven medical causes, as well as in the presence of them – because a cause does not exclude the other.
Since hypertension is often a difficult condition to treat and is a risk factor for the development of further diseases (such as stroke and heart attack) it is important to intervene before the problem becomes chronic. From the psychological point of view it is important to analyze the causes of stress, in addition to the consequences, and it is possible to help the person react differently to what generates tension and anger in her (typical elements of the psychophysical state of those who feel stressed).
It is also indicated the use of relaxation and autodistension techniques such as Autogenic Training that allow both to obtain a lowering of the pressure values, and to achieve a more calm psychophysical state that is a valuable preventative tool against the development of stress.
Hypertension remedies in the prevention of renal failure
The risk of developing renal insufficiency associated with hypertension has been studied in depth only in the last two decades, and studies have shown that patients with grade III hypertension have a relative risk 22 times greater than terminal IRC compared to normotensive subjects.
Chronic kidney disease is constantly increasing, and the number of patients on dialysis will double in the next few years both due to the progressive aging of the population and to the increased survival of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases, which, together with diabetes, are the main because of terminal renal failure requiring dialysis.
Let’s find out the 5 best foods that help keep our kidneys healthy, thus securing yet another level of protection against high blood pressure:
1. Garlic is a powerful antibacterial, incredibly curative and helpful for kidneys.
2. Along with garlic, onion is a friendly food to these important organs since it has an anti-rheumatic effect, diuretic and reduces the level of cholesterol harmful to the body.
3. Peppers are rich in fiber, vitamin A, C and B6, as well as containing significant amounts of folic acid. They are particularly suitable for a diet aimed at supporting the kidneys as they contain enough lycopene but not too much potassium, a nutritious element that aches the kidneys a little.
4. If one looks closely at the shape of the azuki beans, one can see how much they look like miniature kidneys and, according to the Paracelsus’ Theory of Signatures, they show the sign of how vital they are for the function of these organs. In fact, the azuki beans are extraordinary purifying food and the same effect has the consumption of their cooking water (1 glass a day for 4 days a week).
5. Vitamin C is an extraordinary ally of the kidneys. All the foods that contain vitamin C in considerable quantities carry on the body an antioxidant and detoxifying activity (in particular from heavy metals). This essential vitamin maintains collagen, elevates energy and promotes the functioning of the adrenal glands. In case of deficiencies, there are repeated episodes of gingival bleeding, possible accumulation of heavy metals and adrenal fatigue; in case of excess there is diarrhea and possible kidney stones, so it is always good to move in search of a balance. In addition to citrus fruits and strawberries, the pomegranate fruits also contain a hearty amount of vitamin C, together with manganese and fiber. Recommended in the case of kidney stones, they are also powerful anti-inflammatories and anticancer.
Natural supplements against hypertension
Some supplements can facilitate the reduction of blood pressure by reducing the risk of hypertension, especially if associated with diet and sport; these products are not recommended to those presenting normal pressure values (below 85mmHg for diastolic and below 135 mmHg for systolic) or to those who follow a pharmacological cure sufficient to compensate for any hypertensive form. On the other hand, in the latter category of subjects, subject to control and medical advice, it is possible to revise the pharmacological approach (especially following the improvement of weight and overall cardiovascular risk) leaving more space to some supplements useful for lowering the pressure. The main categories of supplements to lower the pressure are:
Plants and plant extracts
Diuretics: diuretics are supplements to lower the pressure that contain molecules (or extracts) useful to promote renal filtration. It should however be pointed out that some have considerable concentrations of molecules which, although diuretic, also have a stimulating and hypertensive effect; this is why these products do not facilitate pressure lowering (e.g. caffeine).
Other supplements to lower diuretic pressure contain plant extracts with ‘more or less’ recognized and relatively effective characteristics; they are: pineapple, birch, artichoke, cucumber, walnut leaves, onion, horsetail, fennel, apple, nettle, elder flowers, corn and dandelion stalks. Some diuretic molecules, in addition to composing the classic food supplements, can be combined and infused to obtain draining teas.
It is also important to specify that supplements to lower the pressure based on molecules or draining extracts are not diuretic drugs! The latter, in addition to being much more effective, are just as dangerous in case of abuse or wrong dosage.
Extracts of hypotensive medicinal plants: There are plants, fruits, seeds and flowers capable of lowering (relatively effectively) the arterial pressure independently of the renal filtration; these products are generically defined as ‘supplements based on hypotensive medicinal plants’. Among the most effective varieties we mention: garlic, onion, rauwolfia, birch, hawthorn, cardiac, ginkgo biloba, blueberry, orthosiphon, mistletoe, red vine, olive tree, periwinkle, uncaria, lily, ligusticis, carcadè (hibiscus), evodia and iranian achillea. These plants contain active ingredients useful for lowering the pressure that can also be used in combination within the same food supplement.
Supplements based on essential molecules such as mineral salts, fatty acids (AGE) and amino acids
Potassium: potassium is the main intracellular cation and, as such, it participates in the basic acid balance and in the control of the osmotic pressure; however, the remaining extracellular concentration also seems to perform very important functions, including the regulation of arterial pressure. Some studies suggest that the increase in potassium reduces blood pressure and increases the urinary excretion of sodium, with a reflex effect of reducing the systolic pressure and (theoretically) of deaths related to hypertension. The recommended average intake ranges from 800 to 3100 mg / day, but using supplements to lower potassium-based pressure up to 2500-4000mg / day can be effective in reducing blood pressure up to 4mmHg.
Magnesium: magnesium is a mainly intracellular mineral, but the small portion present in the extracellular fluid is responsible for the membrane potential of nerves and muscles; even if the mechanism, like potassium, is still not clear, magnesium also favors the lowering of blood pressure. Some recent studies show that doses ranging from 120 to 973 mg of magnesium per day (where the requirement is about 150-500 mg / day) effectively contribute to reducing pressure levels; ultimately, taking supplements to lower magnesium-based pressure can be a useful factor but only in dosages that can exceed 200% of the recommended dose.
Essential Fatty Acid (AGE) omega 3: omega 3 is an essential polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) that must be present in the diet in amounts equal or higher than 0.5% of the total kcal and (possibly) have a relationship with the another AGE (ω6) of about 1: 4. Omega 3 has numerous beneficial functions for the body; to mention just a few of them: membrane formation, precursion of anti-inflammatory molecules, improvement of blood lipid balance and reduction of blood pressure as well as cardiovascular risk.
In case of use of supplements to lower the pressure based on ω3 we point out that for the moment NO side effects related to the abuse of ω3 fatty acids are known, therefore (even if it is never appropriate to exceed) it is recommended to use sustained dosages that 100% of the daily requirement, then pearls, drops or capsules for at least 1g / day.
The ‘purer’ and qualitatively better omega3 (rich in EPA and DHA) is krill oil, followed by blue fish oil and cod liver oil (both liquid and pearls). Warning! The omega 3-based pressure supplements are highly perishable and should be kept in the refrigerator.
Arginine: arginine is a semi-essential amino acid to which many functions are attributed; among the various, recently discovered but of great interest, we mention the precursion of nitric oxide (NOS); the latter is essential for the maintenance of vascular endothelial function and determines the reduction of the arterial pressure thanks to the improvement of the vasal capacity of dilatarsi and forcing itself in an elastic way. In supplementing with arginine-based products to lower the pressure it is advisable to use tablets for a total of about 8g / day.
Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid and a precursor of Nitric Oxide (NO); the arginine / NO metabolic pathway plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of vascular endothelial function (internal epithelial layer of blood vessels) and has a positive influence on the internal regulation of blood pressure. The right amount of arginine, then nitric oxide, determines an optimal circulatory response to vasodilatory and vasoconstriction stimuli, therefore it represents a potentially useful element in the treatment of patients suffering from coronary diseases and systemic vasculopathies.
Recently a study has been published focusing on the effect of short-term integration with arginine. The examined sample consists of 14 subjects, of which 7 healthy and 7 diabetic but without complications; the observations lasted 6 months during which the operators detected the blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) and the sphygmic wave (position of the body: supine, instruments: sphygmomanometer for arterial pressure and oscillometer for the pulsatile pressure on the vessel walls); at the same time, the analysis of the nutritional status and the common haematochemical tests were also carried out.
Through the alimentary anamnesis the level of total arginine intake was estimated with the diet and then elaborated specific alimentary schemes to increase the intake. The foods rich in arginine, therefore added in the diet are: pine nuts, guinea fowl skinless, chicken leg without skin, whole rabbit and turkey; the most suitable cooking methods are: baked, baked, steamed, grilled and microwaved. The feeding patterns were divided into 5 meals of which 3 main and two snacks. NB. The concentration of the other molecules able to interfere with blood pressure altering the results (omega 3, polyphenols, flavonoids etc.) was kept unchanged. The average amount of arginine administered was 8g / day.
The results obtained are excellent; the sample of healthy subjects found a significant decrease in blood pressure while the pulsatile pressure (pulse vicinity – PP) remained unchanged. Changes in care have also been observed in diabetics: arterial pressure has shrunk as well as PP, while macrovascular elasticity has increased.
The study confirms that in the diabetic type 2 ‘without complications’ there is still a certain vascular compromise (on the endothelium) towards which it is possible to act by promoting the arginine intake. It works by increasing the production of ON and thus favoring the elasticity of the vessels and / or optimizing vascular compliance.
The bioavailability of arginine depends not only on food sources but also on:
- Amount of enzyme Arginase in intestinal and hepatic cells
- Amount of transport inhibitors (asymmetric dimethylarginine and n-monomethaginalinine).
The study focused on the short term because, according to the results of other research, the administration of synthetic L-Arginine has a positive effect over a limited period of time, beyond which the parameters return to the initial levels (effect of the increase of Arginase in enterocytes). The most important aspect of the study is undoubtedly the reduction of cardiovascular risk (independent) due to the improvement of the parameters of pulsatile pressure (PP); the only administration of arginine is not sufficient to restore endothelial function, however it can increase the production of NO by improving the vascular compliance parameter.
Herbal teas against arterial hypertension
Medicinal plants used for the treatment of arterial hypertension and in infusions against hypertension are:
- Iranian Achillea (Achillea wilhelmsii) aerial parts
- Garlic (Allium sativum) bulb
- Carcadè (Hibiscus sabdriffa) goblet of flowers
- Onion (Allium cepa) bulb
- Charcoal broom (Cytius scoparius) aerial parts
- Maize (Zea mais) stalks
- Mughetto (Cavallaria majalis) rhizome
- Olive (European Olea) leaves
- Rauwolfia (Rauvolfia serpentina) dry root
- Uncaria (Uncaria tormentosa) bark
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) roots
Let’s discover the basic recipes of herbal teas and infusions with those officinal plants.
Herbal tea 1
Herbal tea 2
Herbal tea 3
Herbal tea 4
Remedy hypertension with salt and sodium reduction
Sodium intake is commonly split into two categories:
- Discretional: added with the preparation of the culinary and / or at the table (for example by adding cooking salt)
- Non-discretionary: already present in food before home processing or final consumption
Some prefer to evaluate sodium as naturally occurring and added, since it is not so important who or why sodium supplementation has been done to foods (whether the industry for the preparation of the preserved or the diner), as the fact that this sodium should not be added anyway! Also, in the guidelines for the prevention and treatment of hypertension it is recommended to abolish both already salted foods (sausages, salted meats, salted fish, aged cheeses, canned products and especially those stored in brine etc.) that home addition of salt.
In any case, it seems that the discretionary portion of sodium introduced with food represents about 36% of total intake, a further increase of 10% is observed thanks to home-made preserves. What instead leaves you astonished is that sodium naturally present in food accounts for only 10% of total intake. What remains (about 55%) derives from the personal addition to the table and the consumption of industrial or otherwise prepared foods (sausages, cheeses, cans, etc.), which contain a lot of cooking salt but also a minor part [10%] of other flavor enhancers such as sodium glutamate or sodium bicarbonate).
Based on a large-scale food analysis, it emerged that the overwhelming majority of non-discretionary sodium is derived from cereal derivatives (bread and bakery products), followed by meat-fish-eggs, then milk derivatives, etc. In reality (in my opinion) this estimate is only partially shared because it is not weighted and greatly undergoes the importance of consumption frequencies. Cereal derivatives are the most consumed group of foods, so logically they bring more quantities of cooking salt; in this case it would also be useful to use bread (or derivatives) not added with cooking salt. Every day, an average American adult ingested about 10g of cooking salt.
In order to prevent the onset of hypertension, it is logical that we recommend drastically reducing the use of discretionary salt and that of food artifacts containing salt. However, in the clinic, the hyposodic therapy is often bankrupt because of the organoleptic unsustainability of the culinary preparations; hypertensives are refractory to insipid foods, therefore the therapeutic compliance is heavily affected. It follows that, very often, a drug therapy against hypertension goes to replace a healthy and proper nutrition causing a waste of public health money.
Hypertension is a disease that in other countries of the world, where the habit of eating salty is not cultivated, appears to be a more unique condition than rare; moreover, the worst aggravating of hypertension is overweight (another condition that is extremely dependent on personal habits and lifestyle). Why channel energy and resources to keep the vices and the veils of people who, out of laziness or unwillingness, do not engage in care? The situation is different in the case of some rare situations in which a serious genetic predisposition to hypertension is identified, an established psychiatric syndrome or secondary hypertension; in this case, the public health intervention would at least be justified and desirable.
Unfortunately, as for sweetened foods, these snacks also have unhealthy nutritional aspects, as they are distinguished by high amounts of sodium chloride; consuming them habitually, they have a negative influence on the habits of the younger ones, predisposing them strongly to the salty taste and consequently to the development of hypertension. At this point, if a fruit is not enough, it would be better to opt for a sandwich with raw ‘sweet’ ham that weight, and with about half of the calories, would contain about half of the sodium amount. Preventing the habit of consuming salty meals is the first major rule of prevention against the onset of arterial hypertension.
Natural remedies for high blood pressure
The main natural remedies for high blood pressure are plants whose phytocomplex exerts more actions, which promote lowering of blood pressure. Let’s see how.
The hypotensive action of the hawthorn, expressed by the leaves and flowers, is due to the lowering of peripheral vascular resistance, but also to the sedative, antiarrhythmic, cardiotonic effect.
The most interesting active ingredients for the reduction of blood pressure are some flavonoids, such as iperoside and vitexin, and procyanidins.
For these reasons, this remedy is particularly indicated in the hypertension of people with sympathetic hypertonia, ie with high blood pressure and contractions of the smooth muscles of the arteries due to hyperactivity of the nervous system.
Also the gems, in the form of gemmoderivato, the Crataegus oxyacantha, contributes to the control of the arterial pressure thanks to the cardiovascular drainage.
The leaves of the olive tree have a hypotensive action due to peripheral dilatation and diuretic while the gemmoderivato obtained from the buds, Olea europaea, in addition to the ability to significantly lower blood pressure has anti-sclerotic properties on the venous walls and has a cholesterol-lowering action.
It is therefore used in case of high blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood and in all sclerotic syndromes caused by senility.
One of the effects for which garlic is best known is to lower blood pressure. This action is related to the garlic’s ability to cause vasodilatation, particularly in the small blood vessels of the skin district.
Allicin and other substances present, have proved capable of strongly reducing platelet aggregation, ie the ability of platelets to group together and form clots. This action is important because the reduction of platelet aggregation lowers the risk of the occurrence of thrombotic phenomena in blood vessels, which can have very serious consequences.
Numerous clinical studies have shown its positive action in the prevention of cardiovascular risk. This plant regulates blood pressure, prevents the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Odor supplements exist on the market, which facilitate their intake.
Mistletoe is one of the most effective plants against hypertension, also used as a regulator of the cardio-circulatory system.
The active ingredients contained in the plant seem, in fact, to stimulate the parasympathetic system and decrease the peripheral resistance of the vessels causing vasodilatation.
For these properties, the mistletoe is also used as an adjunct in the case of atherosclerosis, angina and to improve cerebral circulation. It is also important in the case of arthritis, because it increases diuresis and thus promotes the excretion of urea.
Licorice and high blood pressure
What we commonly call licorice is a plant drug consisting of rhizomes and roots of the homonymous plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra, family Fabaceae). Excessive consumption of this kind of delicacy, with its typical aromas and flavors, can cause some problems, especially to those suffering from high blood pressure. Licorice roots, in fact, contain from 6 to 12% of glycdominin (glycyrrhizic acid glycoside), in which the sugary component consists of two molecules of glucoronic acid.
The sweetening power of this glycoside is estimated to be 50-100 times higher than that of sugar; in addition to this and to many other interesting phytotherapeutic properties (antiviral, antiulcer, hepatoprotective, laxative, anti-inflammatory, expectorant and gastroprotective), the licorice and glycerizzine contained in it also boast hypertensive action.
This effect occurs at hepatic and renal level, where a metabolite of glycyrrhizic acid reduces the metabolism of corticosteroids through the inhibition of the enzyme 11-B-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase. This effect increases the activity of cortisol at the renal level, comparable to that exerted by aldosterone, inducing in the organism a state of hyper-pseudo-aldosteronism.
In addition to an increase in blood pressure, therefore, excess licorice may cause alterations in the hydroelectrolyte balance, with decreased blood potassium (hypokalemia), hydrosaline retention (edema), decreased diuresis and – in the most severe cases – alteration of the muscular contractility and heart rhythm. As explained, licorice should be consumed with particular moderation – if not avoided – by patients suffering from arterial hypertension, hypokalemia and chronic renal failure.
It is important to note the presence on the market of glycyrrhinate preparations, which however – in addition to the hypertensive effect and other possible side effects – lose much of the therapeutic virtues of licorice.
Take home message
Knowing that it is not enough to take drugs, but that an optimal control of the blood pressure values is important as well as stabilizing pressure with an entire complex of natural preventive measures, both behavioral and nutritional, means becoming aware of the fact that this translates into the absence of secondary organ damage and allows a normal life without prognostic risks.