Natural ways to control high blood pressure

As there are 16 million people in the UK with high blood pressure (hypertension), and of those nearly a third are not aware that they have the condition, it is obviously an issue that needs to be addressed. High blood pressure is defined as being at a level consistently at or above 140mmHg and/or 90mmHg and it is a both a preventable and manageable condition. You would think that as it is the direct cause of half of all strokes and heart attacks in the UK that those who have it would be regularly monitoring it, but sadly only 10% of those diagnosed with the condition have their blood pressure controlled to target levels.

Yet there is something that is so incredibly simple, that everyone can do, at no cost and no risk that will naturally help control high blood pressure. Hypertension results from the balance between two factors: how hard the heart is pumping (cardiac output) and how easily plasma can diffuse out of your capillaries (peripheral resistance) and most people with high blood pressure have a normal cardiac output but increased peripheral resistance. That resistance means you are more at risk of heart attacks and strokes and the most likely cause is dehydration.When you are dehydrated the level of blood in your body falls but the body has it’s own incredibly clever regulatory system where it prioritises the maintenance of your essential organs and shuts down blood supplies to the capillaries of non-essential areas like the muscle and skin. The effect of this is to increase your peripheral resistance and also to increase the production of histamine, a hormone-like substance, and this causes your blood vessels to narrow and this in turn further increases blood pressure. This can be also exacerbated by the fact that many treatments for hypertension include the taking of diuretics and this again reduces the amount of fluid in the body.

The remedy? Drink at least two litres of plain, still, water every day – not tea, coffee, soft drinks as a substitute but pure unadulterated water. Often the easiest way to measure is to have a full bottle by the kettle and make sure it is empty by the time you have that bedtime drink – or even earlier for preference so you aren’t then getting up too often in the night.

If you want to try and control your blood pressure without drugs, then one of the most effective supplements is Co-enzyme Q10. This is a substance which is produced naturally in the body and taking it has lowered blood pressure as effectively as prescription medications in a number of patients. Unlike some of the drugs, it’s only side effects are the good ones of lowering cholesterol and preventing diabetes and gum disease and the recommended dose for supplementation is normally between 60-120mg a day, but always start on the lower amount first and in consultation with a natural practitioner.