High blood pressure is considered one of the risk factors for heart disease. It is prevalent among 30-40% of urban population and 15-20% of rural population in India. Every third person in India above age 40 is suffering from high blood pressure. 

blood pressure

How blood pressure rises?

Blood pressure rise is the net result of heart pumping force and resistance to blood flow applied by arteries. Now what causes the heart to pump more forcefully and increased resistance to blood flow will be the main causative factor for increased blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to problem in arteries and kidneys. High blood pressure also causes the endothelium of arteries to thicken and increase resistance to blood flow because of higher oxidative stress and inflammation.
This condition leads to endothelium dysfunction where arteries are not able to contract or relax when required and thereby leading to higher blood pressure. Higher blood pressure further damages endothelium due to extra force.


Classes of Blood pressure medications and how they function?

Diuretics: They help lowering blood pressure by making kidneys remove salt and water, thereby reducing blood volume. Low volume means low pressure. These kinds of drugs can lead to loss of minerals like magnesium, calcium or potassium and dehydration. These minerals are important for proper relaxation and contraction of blood vessels. These drugs include lasix, aldactone or lasilactone, hydrochlorthiazide (they usually come in combination with many other blood pressure lowering drugs)

Beta blockers: Most commonly used drugs for lowering blood pressure by slowing down the heart beat. Atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol are commonly used drugs. Common side effects are impotence, tiredness or depression.

Alpha blockers: They help in reducing the nerve impulse conduction to vessels which tell when to contract. It includes drugs like Hytrin and Minipress. Side effects include dizziness or rapid heart rate.

ACE inhibitors: These drugs block an enzyme called Angiotensin II which signals blood vessels to contract. These include drugs like Lisinopril and ramipril and side effects are skin rashes, loss of taste or kidney failure.

ARB (angiotension receptor blocker): They work same as ACE inhibitors but instead of blocking angiotensin it stops the production of angiotensin to act upon vessels. This class includes losartan and valsartan.

Calcium channel blocker: These drugs prevent the entry of calcium into vessels and heart thereby preventing the contraction of vessels. This include nifedipine, amlodipine, diltiazem etc

Central Agonist: Central agonists also help decrease the blood vessels’ ability to tense up or contract. The central agonists follow a different nerve pathway than the alpha and beta-blockers, but accomplish the same goal of blood pressure reduction. It includes drugs like Aldomet and catapress.

All these medications may or may not work if underlying causes are not taken care of, such as nutritional deficiencies, stress, oxidative stress and lifestyle. Blood pressure can be easily controlled by applying few strategies on daily basis, few related to lifestyle modification, changing habits and introduction of few healthy foods or nutrients to our daily diet.

15 steps towards Managing blood pressure without drugs

  1. Stop Caffeine – (50% people have slower caffeine clearance rate) leads to the release of adrenaline, which actually has sympathetic effect and raises blood pressure.
  2. Add Magnesium – Low Magnesium levels versus higher calcium intakepumpkinseeds (calcium acts as constrictor while magnesium as a relaxer). Add a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds per day.
  3. Increase Vit C – Low Vit C, D and E levels (damage of arteries due togauva excessive free radical productions and all the above three act as free radical scavengers) can lead to increased oxidative stress. Consume foods rich in vitamin C like guava, orange and lemon.
  4. Vitamin D – Optimise levels by caps or injections by consulting your physician  (Optimal levels are 70 ng/ml)
  5. Stop Smoking as smoking increases blood pressure by releasing more catecholamines
  6. Exercise – Keep moving (1 hour of physical activity or at least 10,000 steps per day). It helps reducing blood pressure by maintaining optimal blood sugar levels
  7. De Stress – Adding yoga or Pranayam will help you to lower stress levels by activating parasympathetic nervous system
  8. Eliminate sugar – Higher sugar levels are linked to increase in bloodsugar pressure
  9. Reduce weight (all are the sources of inflammation and lead to increased free radical production)
  10. Stop Trans fatty acid intake (body doesn’t not know how to deal with them)
  11. Reduce Sodium and increase potassium – High Sodium intake versus low potassium intake (potassium is a parasympathetic activator that helps in relaxing the arteries). Potassium rich foods are beans and chickpeas
  12. Eating dark chocolate (80% cocoa) every day can help lower blooddark choc pressure
  13. CoQ10 – 200-300 mg CoQ10 helps in lowering your blood pressure by 20 mmHg (statin drugs deplete C0Q10 levels)
  14. Garlic – One or two garlic chopped or minced in your food helps lower blood pressure
  15. Sesame seeds – Using sesame seeds or its oil for cooking helps inSesame-seeds reducing elevated blood pressure 

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