High Blood pressure

High blood pressure is a very serious health condition that usually goes unnoticeable since it lacks alarming symptoms. The blood vessels, heart and many organs of a patient suffer from higher than necessary pressure and several serious and life threating diseases can be developed.

It is called the “silent killer” and many people do not even know that they have it (Craig, 2013). Thus, it is very important to check our blood pressure regularly.
When taking our blood pressure, we measure the two ways that determine how much pressure our blood experiences. The systolic pressure is the force at which our heart pumps blood around our body. The diastolic pressure is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They’re both measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). (NHS, 2016)

The risk factors (Mayo Clinic, 2016) are uncontrollable and controllable. They include:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Family history
  • Certain chronic conditions
  • Being overweight or obese, having excessive Body Mass Index (BMI),
  • Lack of exercise,
  • Alcohol consumption,
  • Tobacco consumption
  • Stress
  • Excess salt in diet
  • Lack of potassium in diet
  • Lack of vitamin D
  • Lack of calcium

From the above, we conclude that the lifestyle factors are very much controllable. Out of these, the BMI appears to be the most powerful factor for a healthy of the weight–blood pressure relationship (Frisoli et al., 2011). It follows that our diet is the strongest environmental factor influencing blood pressure (Ralston et al., 2011) not only because it should maintain our ideal BMI, but also because it can deal with the rest of the risk factors.

An ideal diet that safeguards against blood pressure should also eliminate excess salt because it is proven that a reduction in salt intake lowers blood pressure. (He et al., 2010) It should be poor in caffeine (including not only coffee but energy drinks as well), and alcohol (including red wine), since studies have shown increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure after excessive caffeine consumption (Mesas et al., 2011). On the other hand, our diet should include foods rich in potassium such as bananas.

Other lifestyle factors we can control is our sensible sun exposure that will provide us with the necessary levels of vitamin D, and avoiding smoking and undue stress in our daily life.

Resat Alagiali


Mayoclinic (2016) High blood pressure (hypertension) Risk factors – Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/basics/risk-factors/con-20019580 (Accessed: 28 December 2016).

Choices, N. (2016) ‘High blood pressure (hypertension) – NHS Choices’. Department of Health.
Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Blood-pressure-(high)/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Accessed: 28 December 2016)

Frisoli, T. M., Schmieder, R. E., Grodzicki, T. and Messerli, F. H. (2011) ‘Beyond salt: lifestyle modifications and blood pressure’, European Heart Journal.

He, F. J., MacGregor, G. a., Enrrique, G. Galeano, E. Orlando, J. Bogotá, D., Cornejo, K., Pizarro, F., Atalah, E., Ho, P. M., Bryson, C. L., Rumsfeld, J. S., Lackland, D. T., Losby, J. L., House, M. J., Osuji, T., O’Dell, S. a., Mirambeau, a. M., Elmi, J., Chappelle, E., Schlueter, D. F., Bedregal, P., Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), OPS, Pérez-Escamilla, R., Damio, G., Chhabra, J., Fernandez, M. L., Segura-Pérez, S., Vega-López, S., Kollannor-Samuel, G., Calle, M., Shebl, F. M., D’Agostino, D., He, F. J., MacGregor, G. a., Pereira, D. A., Maria, N., Costa, C., César, P., Veiga, B., Regina, C., Zanini, D. O., CHILE, D. D. E., Wagner, E. H., Austin, B. T., Davis, C., Hindmarsh, M., Schaefer, J., Bonomi, A., Manuscript, A., Renders, C. M., Valk, G. D., Griffin, S. J., Wagner, E. H., Eijk, J. T. Van, Assendelft, W. J., He, F. J., MacGregor, G. a., Langwell, K., Keene, C., Zullo, M., Ogu, L. C., Zambrano C, Renato; Duitama M, John F.; Posada V, Jorge I.; Flórez A., J. F., Michie, S., Miles, J., Weinman, J., He, F. J., MacGregor, G. a., Cl, A., Octavo, N., Desarrollo, M. De, Salud, M. De, López, G., Felipe, J., Rivera, M., Rojas, S., Organización Mundial de la Salud, Alwan, A. and Minsal (2010) ‘Effect of longer-term modest salt reduction on blood pressure.’, Journal of human hypertension, 30(6), pp. 1–8. doi: ISBN: 978 92 4 156422 9.

Ralston, R. a, Lee, J. H., Truby, H., Palermo, C. E. and Walker, K. Z. (2012) ‘A systematic review and meta-analysis of elevated blood pressure and consumption of dairy foods’, Journal of Human Hypertension. Nature Publishing Group, 26(1), pp. 3–13. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2011.3.

Mesas, A. E., Leon-Muñoz, L. M., Rodriguez-Artalejo, F. and Lopez-Garcia, E. (2011) ‘The effect of coffee on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in hypertensive individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition . doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.016667 .

Winston Craig (2013) Nutrition and Wellness. 2 edn. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Golden Harvest Books.
Pressor amines are also important (in marmite, cheese and wine) especially for those on antidepressants


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