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Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is defined as the force that the blood exerts on the veins and arteries while it circulates around the body. If this force is greater than it should be, it is often referred to as High Blood Pressure or Hypertension. Blood pressure is controlled by a variety of organs and body systems, including the heart, the blood vessels, the kidneys, the brain and the adrenal glands, as well as the complex interaction between the body systems. Nutrient levels can effect these organs and hence blood pressure.

High blood pressure symptoms sometimes include headaches or a ringing sound in the ears,also may include blood shot eyes and elevated heart rate. Hypertension is diagnosed only after repeated measurements show that the systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure is consistently above normal. This is because normal blood pressure does fluctuate throughout the day and is highly influenced by stress and activity.

Blood pressure is measured by using two different numbers – systolic pressure (the top number) over diastolic pressure (the bottom number).  Systolic pressure measures blood pressure as the heart contracts and pushes blood through the arteries. Diastolic pressure is taken when the heart relaxes. Normal blood pressure is around 120/80 or lower.

It is important to note that blood pressure varies from person to person and can fluctuate from moment to moment. One or two high readings do not necessarily mean that you have hypertension or high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure has measured 140/90 or higher on at least two separate occasions, your doctor should recommend a 24 hour BP (blood pressure) monitor, which will show whether your BP remains consistently raised. This will help to determine whether you have hypertension or not.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include smoking, alcohol abuse, a high salt (sodium chloride) intake, lack of exercise and stress, as well as a family history of hypertension and stroke. It is very important to take steps to control high blood pressure. Untreated, it can result in serious heart or cardiovascular problems. Arteriosclerosis (a thickening, hardening and narrowing of the walls of the arteries) is also commonly associated with high blood pressure. Hypertension can be well controlled by combining a healthy lifestyle with the correct treatment. This can include prescription medication, and/or natural high blood pressure treatments.

Anyone with high blood pressure should check that Vitamin D levels are satisfactory because low levels of Vitamin D affect kidney function and hence blood pressure. This is a common situation. Ideally, the kidneys require a balance of electrolytes as well as the individual cells. Dietary salts that contain a balance of sodium and potassium salts have been used to benefit blood pressure control. Magnesium and the amino acid Taurine can be considered for improved regulation especially when pressure can fluctuate over short periods. 

As with potassium, magnesium levels tend to be lower when the diet is high in sodium. Red blood cell levels of magnesium are strongly related to diastolic blood pressure. Hypertension also tends to lower phosphate levels, which then can make the hypertension worse. Increasing magnesium intake has been shown to restore phosphate levels to normal.

Supplementation of the diet with taurine in one study showed a decrease in both systolic and diastolic pressure. Magnesium taurate may reduce blood pressure from the combined benefits of magnesium and taurine.