High blood pressure often goes undetected because symptoms are rarely noticeable. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your reading regularly checked. While the condition doesn’t usually cause symptoms it can increase a person’s risk of serious complications, such as heart attack and stroke, so doing what you can to control blood pressure is very important.
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High blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by some simple lifestyle changes, such as eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking.
When it comes to eating a healthy diet, the NHS recommends cutting down on the amount of salt in your food and to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
It explains: “Salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
“Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.”
“Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.
“Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”
But some experts believe the addition of supplements may also help lower blood pressure.
Three supplements proven to hold blood pressure lowering properties are aged garlic extract, whey protein and hibiscus.
Human studies have found garlic supplements to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
In one study, 600-1,500mg of aged garlic extract was found to be just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period.
A number of studies have linked the consumption of dairy products with reduce blood pressure, and this effected has been attributed to a family of bioactive peptides in dairy called angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE-inhibitors).
In whey protein, the ACE-inhibitors are called lactokinins, and several animal studies have demonstrated their beneficial effects on blood pressure.
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Several studies have found hibiscus tea my lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In one study, 65 people with high blood pressure were given hibiscus tea or a placebo.
After six weeks, those who drank hibiscus tea had a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo.
A 2015 review of five studies found hibiscus tea decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 7.58mmHg and 3.53mmHg, respectively.
What causes high blood pressure?
There’s no obvious cause for high blood pressure, but there are some things that can increase a person’s risk of developing the condition.
Bupa lists these as:
- Your age – the risk increases as you get older
- Having someone in your close family with high blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating too much salt
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Not getting enough exercise
- Anxiety and Stress
As well as making the lifestyle changes listed above, your doctor will decide what treatment is best for you.
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