Hello. This is Heart Health Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about the most common dangers of high blood pressure. Brief high blood pressure spikes aren’t usually anything to get too concerned over, but if your blood pressure remains high for a long time, you may experience some adverse side effects.
Certain resulting issues from ongoing elevated blood pressure can be easily managed. However, other life-threatening issues can also develop.
Learn about the different health conditions that can occur if high blood pressure causes go untreated for too long.
High Blood Pressure Causes Heart Problems
Heart problems are among the most common results of high blood pressure. When blood flow to the heart is restricted, it can cause all sorts of problems, including heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.
Heart disease is what causes about one in every four deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of death. The most common type is coronary artery disease, but this term also encompasses multiple different conditions that weaken the heart, making it difficult to pump blood throughout the body efficiently.
Heart attacks may be mild or life-threatening. They’re usually the result of fatty deposits and plaques building up in your arteries, both of which are highly correlated with heightened blood pressure.
If you experience a tight, painful feeling in your chest, see a doctor right away. The sooner you get to a medical professional, the better chance you have of a good outcome after a heart attack.
Heart failure means your heart simply can’t pump the blood for your whole body on its own efficiently. The harder your heart has to work due to hypertension, the more the chambers will stiffen and thicken until your heart’s pump grows weaker.
At this point, the condition can no longer be cured, but it can be improved with lifestyle changes and certain procedures which help the heart pump better.
Other Organs and Areas of the Body Affected by High Blood Pressure
Your heart isn’t the only area affected by hypertension. Other areas that are often hit the hardest are your kidneys, abdomen, and brain.
High blood pressure causes kidney disease in many people. Elevated blood pressure on a constant basis can damage the vessels inside the kidney and make them less efficient.
Extreme kidney damage may lead to kidney failure, in which the kidneys can’t function on their own, and this condition will require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
A stroke can occur when your brain doesn’t get enough blood due to complications of high blood pressure. Without proper blood flow, the cells in the brain die because they can’t get enough oxygen.
Strokes can often be deadly. Many people who survive a stroke later find that their cognitive abilities, vision, or movement abilities are impaired, potentially permanently.
Vascular dementia is often caused by a stroke, but there’s a risk of it occurring any time the brain isn’t getting proper blood flow. It’s a condition that involves difficulty reasoning and focusing in the early stages and trouble remembering past events in the later stages.
Dementia of any kind can be incredibly disruptive and disorienting. Some limited memory function can be restored with the right medication and treatment regimen, but the condition isn’t reversible.
Food For Thought
While high blood pressure can lead to certain complications, early treatment of blood pressure can prevent these complications from occurring.
This can be as drastic as starting medication to lower your blood pressure or as simple as using natural methods like dieting and working out to bring your blood pressure back into a usual range.
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I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?
There is a common saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” This is especially true when it comes to heart health. Diet is sooooo very important… Did you know that your diet could be the key to a healthy heart? It’s true – what you eat (and don’t eat) can have a big impact on your cardiovascular health. So, if you’re looking to keep your heart in tip-top shape, make sure you pay attention to what you put on your plate.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to eat a healthy diet in this day and age. It is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.
Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.
Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.
If you suspect that you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, consider shifting your focus from supplements to eating better. Improving your diet overall can do wonders for your overall health. You may not get all of the beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc., but you will be on the right path.
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.
If you need extra help in getting the nutrients you need, and/or are unable to eat better, the supplements in my Healthy Heart Bundle may provide the extra boost you need.
These are my favorite Heart Health Supplements to use! This Healthy Heart Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency while you lose weight and improve your heart health, naturally.
For best results make sure you use my heart health supplements with dietary changes (whole food plant-based diet), regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).
Tools to Improve Heart Health
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.
Remember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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