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Adapted from: 2003 World Health Organization (WHO) International Society of Hypertension (ISH) Statement on Management of Hypertension.

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Description & Symptoms

Hypertension is the abnormal elevation of blood pressure. Symptoms may include headache, nervousness, nosebleeds, insomnia, blurred vision, edema and shortness of breath. An unfortunate trademark of this condition is that symptoms may be nonexistent, giving no warning to the sufferer, therefore delaying diagnosis and treatment.

Contributing Factors

Some factors associated with the onset of high blood pressure are heredity, obesity, physical or emotional stress, excessively high sodium intake, cigarette smoking, high caffeine consumption or certain drugs.

Stress plays a big part in promoting hypertension, those with high-pressure jobs or who are exposed to high-anxiety conditions are most likely to have a raised blood pressure.

Sodium (salt) is a primary contributor to hypertension, because it causes fluid retention, which ultimately adds stress to the heart and the circulatory system. Fructose (sugar) also can cause high blood pressure.

Prevention & Treatment

Since salt is a major cause of high blood pressure, increasing potassium in the diet, either through whole foods or supplements is very beneficial, as it will cause the body to excrete more sodium. Some foods with a high potassium content are bananas, lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, dried fruits, legumes and sunflower seeds. Homeopathic remedies are also successfully used by some to remedy this condition.

For those prone to hypertension who are very anxious or lead very stressful lives, changes or adjustments are recommended. Eating healthy meals, taking vacations or short breaks, anything that can be done to make life more relaxed and tranquil, will benefit those suffering from hypertension.

Regular exercise is essential in preventing high blood pressure, because it keeps the circulatory system healthy and controls the addition of excess weight. Monitoring ones blood pressure readings is key to evaluating their status and taking actions if the numbers exceed the normal range. Blood pressure testing can be done either at a doctor's office, public machines available for use in drug or grocery stores, or privately with a home device.

Vitamins & Nutrients

Some vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are valuable in both the prevention and treatment of hypertension are:

Helpful Herbs

Following are some of the herbs which are known to help lower blood pressure:

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