Hypertension, or high blood pressure is a very serious condition.  The “silent killer” is so serious because it can go undetected, but if it is not controlled, causes damage to the blood vessels in the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes, causing stroke, heart attacks, kidney failure and blindness.

Some people feel dizzy, throbbing sensations in parts of the body, tired, or suffer from headaches when their blood pressure is high.

Many feel absolutely fine, even when their blood pressure is dangerously high.

When blood pressure is measured, 2 readings are taken; the higher reading is taken as your heart beats, pushing blood through the veins.  The second reading is the pressure in your veins between heart beats.  A reading of 120/80 to 139/89 is considered prehypertension.   Any higher reading is considered hypertension.  The higher the blood pressure, the more damage done to your body.

One of the main causes of high blood pressure is hardening, and clogging of the arteries.  This occurs naturally with age, but happens more quickly in those who smoke, are diabetic, or overweight. Other risk factors include poor diet, drinking too much alcohol, high salt intake, stress, lack of exercise, and side effects of some drugs.

The GOOD NEWS is that you can take your health into your own hands – you can manage your own risk!


What you can do:

Get your blood pressure checked

Eat plenty of vegetables and a good variety of fruit

Try not to add salt at the table, and limit intake of salty foods

Choose low fat or fat free dairy products

Include nuts as part of your fat intake – but watch how much you eat!

Regular exercise e.g. walking, cycling, swimming, jogging for at least 30-60 minutes at least 5 times a week

Lose excess weight – just 5kg can make a big difference

Avoid excess alcohol intake

Manage stress, and take time to relax

Quit smoking

There are a variety of complementary and alternative supplements you can choose to help you reduce your blood pressure, but nothing can replace healthy food, and healthy living (exercise and stress management).