Is High Blood Pressure Hereditary?

is high blood pressure hereditary

Word map image credit: Science Daily

Ever wondered why you have high blood pressure but your friend / girlfriend / boyfriend doesn’t? Despite they fact they smoke like chimneys, rarely get off the couch, and subsist on a diet of junk food? Is high blood pressure hereditary, you ask yourself? And why have I got all the bad luck?

Well, for some people their high blood pressure is likely to be due to genetic factors. However, high blood pressure has many causes – and many remedies. So even if your own case of high blood pressure is largely hereditary, there’s still plenty you can do about it. Read on.

 

Genetic influences on high blood pressure

What causes high blood pressure can be a complex affair. Many things such as aspects of our diets, our activity levels, our stress levels, our age, our weight, can have an effect. And even in one individual, high blood pressure can be caused by a complex combination of factors.

Nonetheless, as many of us have noticed, high blood pressure does sometimes run in families. Until fairly recently, the specifics of this have been poorly understood. However, scientists now pinning down more and more of the genes responsible for hereditary high blood pressure.

 

How is high blood pressure hereditary?

Scientists are finding that specific genes are strongly associated with the development of high blood pressure. That’s not to say that having these genes on their own is enough to cause high blood pressure. But if you get these genes passed on to you by your parents, then they make you more at risk of developing high blood pressure.

So far scientists have identified almost one hundred sections of the genetic code which affect blood pressure. Some of these genes make people more susceptible to high blood pressure. Each has different effects on the body and circulatory system. Some affect the way the kidneys regulate fluids and salt (e.g., if the kidneys retain too much salt and water then blood volume, and blood pressure, is increased). Others affect the way the blood vessels themselves regulate blood pressure (e.g., through the production of nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels).

Some of these genetic variations are fairly common. Researchers estimate that some are carried by about 5% of the population. Most of these genes are each associated with only a small risk of high blood pressure. The more of these genetic variations you have, the more likely you are to have a genetic risk of high blood pressure.

However, the most recent major study (in 2016) not only found more of these types of genes, but also found three genes which have a larger effect on blood pressure. Thankfully, these genes are quite rare in the world’s populations.

There are also other ways in which our genes can affect our blood pressure, even after we’ve begun to develop. For example, early research suggests that there can be changes in a foetus’ DNA in the womb. And some of these might predispose the person to developing high blood pressure as an adult.

 

Does hereditary high blood pressure mean I’m stuck with it?

Is high blood pressure hereditary? Yes, for some people. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that, according to the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (catchy name), only 2-3% of cases of high blood pressure are accounted for by the known genetic causes of high blood pressure. Of course, scientists may find even more ways in which genes affect high blood pressure. But even so, by far the majority of cases of high blood pressure are either not due to hereditary factors or are only partially due to hereditary factors.

As Professor Jeremy Pearson, from the British Heart Foundation which part-funded the 2016 study points out,

Large scale genetic studies continue to expand the number of genes that may contribute to the development of heart disease, or risk factors such as high blood pressure. But so far most of the genes discovered in these studies individually have only very small effects on risk.

 

Non-genetic causes of high blood pressure

Other common causes of high blood pressure are not eating and drinking the right things, being too inactive, being too stressed, and being older… OK, the last one you can’t do anything about. But the other things are not only straightforward to alter, but can have profound effects on your blood pressure and general health.

As the British Heart Foundation says, a healthy lifestyle is the key to healthy blood pressure, whatever the cause of your high blood pressure. In the words of its director, Professor Peter Weissberg,

Researchers from across the world have now identified some of the genes linked to blood pressure control, which could pave the way for new treatments in the future.

But your genes are only one piece of the puzzle. You are less likely to have high blood pressure if you stick to a healthy diet, do plenty of exercise, and maintain a healthy weight.

 

What can I do if my high blood pressure is hereditary?

In other words, whether or not your high blood pressure is hereditary, it can still be lowered by lifestyle changes. Yes, some people are lucky with their genetic inheritance and can get away with shockingly unhealthy lifestyles without ever developing high blood pressure. (However, they’re likely to get bitten in the bum by that at some point, in some other way.) For yourself, it’s best to look on it as a welcome wake-up call to step up your health.

This isn’t to say you were unhealthy to start with. I developed extremely high blood pressure some years ago despite having a relatively healthy lifestyle. And I strongly suspect it’s at least partially genetic. However, after a bad experience with blood pressure medications, I managed to successfully lower my blood pressure. This was through a few changes in my diet and through regularly practising slow breathing.

I’ve written a bit more about my experience here: High blood pressure – the genetic link

Obviously everyone’s experiences are going to be different. However, having hereditary high blood pressure doesn’t condemn you to a lifetime of high blood pressure, or medications. It just means you’ve got to take better care of yourself. And let’s face it, that can only be a good thing. After all, all the natural methods of lowering blood pressure are good for your health generally and will help stave off other diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

 

So how can I lower my high blood pressure (hereditary or not)?

For more information on lowering your blood pressure through lifestyle changes, you can browse this website.

If having a more structured approach would be beneficial, then take a look at my guide to lowering blood pressure naturally:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

info on high blood pressure and how to lower it naturallyAs the imaginative title suggests, the book is laid out in nine easy-to-follow steps. Each of these covers different things you can do to lower your blood pressure. Choosing tasty nutritious foods to eat and drink which can benefit your blood pressure. Finding ways to be more active in your daily life. Making time to relax – properly.

You can follow these steps at whatever pace suits you. And slowly but surely bring yourself and your blood pressure into better balance and optimal health.

I should emphasise that following this guide does not lead to a life of denial! Lowering your blood pressure, and getting healthier – and happier – is actually very enjoyable. Who doesn’t like good food and drink (and that can include booze and quality chocolate, among other things)? And there are many ways to be more active. (Plus there are even blood pressure-lowering exercises which you can do on your sofa.) Of course, now you also have a good reason to make sure you get more quality down time as well.

However you do it, and whatever your genetic predisposition, I wish you all the best in getting your blood pressure to healthier levels. If I can do it, you can do it!

 

Is high blood pressure hereditary? References and further information

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160912122350.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14851651

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/09September/Pages/new-blood-pressure-genes-found.aspx

http://www.gla.ac.uk/news/archiveofnews/2009/may/headline_118487_en.html

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/causes

High Blood Pressure and Christmas

bp-christmas

(Photo by Forest View Primary School)

It’s coming around to the holiday season and the time for everyone to relax and enjoy – right? The fact is that a lot of pressure comes with the holidays. And so health concerns, along with blood pressure, sky rocket for a lot of people. High blood pressure and Christmas can seem like a bad situation.

Could Christmas be bad for your health? Well it doesn’t have to be. Imagine a healthy and enjoyable Christmas and New Years. I sincerely believe it’s possible.

 

High blood pressure and Christmas – What to do!

The three big causes of high blood pressure and poor health in general are poor diet, lack of exercise and stress, tension or anxiety. All three of these factors can be exacerbated during the holiday season as we sit around the dinner table gorging ourselves on various mixtures of sugar and grease, too stuffed to move and getting annoyed with our relatives.

OK, that’s the worse case scenario 😉 It’s never usually that bad. But if we approach the holidays with a bit of forethought we can avoid the pitfalls and still have a really good time.

If we’re particularly discerning over how we handle the holiday period we can even make Christmas good for your blood pressure.

I’d even go as far as saying that a healthy Christmas could be happiest too.

 

Strategy 1: How survive Christmas with high blood pressure

So what to do? Live like a ascetic monk forgoing all the fleshy pleasures? Of course not. No need. Just try to strike a balance.

Enjoy Christmas dinner but don’t stuff yourself. Get some exercise before and after the meal. Strive for balance. You’ll feel better, more relaxed, and it’s less likely that that irritating cousin of yours will get under your nose and raise your blood pressure as usual.

Have a couple of drinks for New Year’s Eve. But if you knock ’em back till you’re comatose that’s less fun and really bad for your health. You’ll only start the New Year hung over and miserable. (I know because I’ve tried that strategy many times…)

Strive for balance. A balanced life is a happier life – and one where blood pressure stays within manageable limits.

Most importantly of all – stop worrying so much. Worrying never solved anything and simply put, it’s bad for your health. Worrying raises stress levels and blood pressure.

So the most important holiday message I have for you is – try not to get too stressed. Stress is the silent killer, not high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a symptom.

 

Strategy 2: How to make Christmas good for your blood pressure!

So the first strategy is just to keep an eye on yourself and stay within your limits. Don’t overeat and overdrink and keep a lid on your stress levels.

But if you want to make a wee bit more effort you can make the holiday period work for you in terms of potentially actually lowering your blood pressure. I say effort, but it’s not much effort really. It just involves being a bit more thoughtful and aware of your festive habits and taking a bit more care with how you go through your celebratory days.

Exercise

Sounds boring, yes. But you can keep on top of the hectic highly social pressures of the holiday period by just taking yourself out for a short walk now and again throughout the day. A brisk walk before or after breakfast, mid afternoon, a short stroll after dinner will do wonders for your mental clarity and your health.

There are several benefits. Walking briskly will get your heart and lungs pumping which is directly good for your blood pressure. Exercise also helps dissipate stress hormones and stimulate happy hormones to be produced so it’ll keep you relaxed and in a good mood. Since stress is a big factor in high blood pressure, this is important. Lastly, it’ll help use up any sugar that’s flowing around in your bloodstream. Excess sugar is a major factor in high blood pressure for many people so you’ll do well to get rid of it before it builds up.

If you want to step it up a bit, try gently jogging or running. Or a spin round the block on a bike. Or just put some music on and dance around after dinner! Get everyone else moving too!

 

Eating

Fat. Sugar. Christmas is hardly healthy diet-wise for most people. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Firstly, some types of fat aren’t as bad for you as you think.

For example, the bad press that red meat has got has been a bit unwarranted (saturated fat is not quite the devil it’s been made out to be). And while bacon, salami and processed meats contribute to raising blood pressure, a good steak is really not bad for you. Nor is a good roasted turkey.

Roasted vegetables are also fairly healthy. Roast in olive oil (or coconut oil) rather than sunflower oil or canola oil as it’s better for your heart and health. And add loads of herbs for more nutrients. Adding a bit of salt to your food isn’t necessarily a big deal, especially if you’re using natural sea salt rather than processed table salt. The real salt problem comes with hidden salt added to a lot of processed foods….

Processed foods really are the main issue.

Most of the fats you want to watch out for are mainly those found in processed foods. Look on the packet for trans fats – they should be listed on most labels. Basically you don’t want to be eating anything that has trans fats in it. This can include pizzas, pastries, cakes, doughnuts (sorry), and many take-out foods.

Processed foods are also often high in added sugars and salt – very bad for blood pressure and health in general. Even foods which don’t taste sweet or salty can have a fair bit of added sugars and salt. Watch out for condiments too. Make your own instead – they’ll taste better too.

So that’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are healthy snacks and sweet goodies.

Nuts and seeds are rich in very healthy fats so don’t be shy about eating loads of nuts. Just go for raw nuts, not roasted ones which have lost much of their goodness. And of course avoid salted ones!

Fruits and dried fruits are fine and contain helpful nutrients. If you’re making your own fruit cakes and christmas cake, try to use less sugar and/or replace sugar with natural alternatives like maple syrup or honey or applesauce. You can also fully or partially replace white flour with wholemeal flour which is much better for you. In strong-tasting cakes like fruit cake, this should work fine. In general, homemade treats and desserts will be better for you than ready-made ones since they’ll contain less weird artificial additives.

What else? Oh yes, that staple of christmas, at least in my house – chocolate. Ditch the white chocolate and even the milk chocolate and go for quality dark chocolate – at least 60% cocoa. It is very good for your blood pressure! And stimulates good-mood hormones to be produced in your brain 🙂

 

Drinking

high blood pressure and christmas

(Photo by Heather Katsoulis, Flickr.com)

No, you don’t have to give up drinking. A little alcohol is actually good for your blood pressure (unless you’re an alcoholic in which case ignore this section)!

Red wine is known for being good for the heart and blood pressure, and it does have extra antioxidants in it which are helpful in this regard. However, a small amount of any alcohol has some benefits for the circulatory system.

Keep it to a couple of glasses per day or evening if you can, although the occasional over-indulgence shouldn’t do too much damage (although this is a question of scale!).

To make it easier, add other things to your drinks to make them last longer and have more health benefits. Berries are great for lowering blood pressure so chuck some into your wine and make a sangria. A bit of red grape juice will add more blood pressure-lowering antioxidants as well.

Or make mulled wine – with lots of spices and fruits. Most of the traditional ingredients have blood pressure benefits so this can be a good one. Go easy on the sugar – you really don’t need much if you’ve got plenty of fruits and spices.

Just avoid sugary alcopop type drinks. Also don’t use mixers like Coke, Pepsi, Irn Bru (if you’re Scottish) as they’re loaded with sugar and even the low-sugar ones have nasty chemicals. Not good for you or your blood pressure (or your teeth).

 

Relaxing

The Christmas holidays are of course supposed to be relaxing but for many of us they rarely are. Taking time out for walks now and then will help ease the social congestion. However there’s a lot more you can – quite easily – do to keep your stress levels down at this time of year.

If you’re already into things like yoga or tai chi then make sure to keep up your daily practice as much as possible. This can be difficult if you’re staying with relatives or have a houseful but try to make at least ten minutes for a shorter routine when you can.

One of the simplest and most powerful things you can do though is to breathe slowly. For about fifteen minutes. This is actually the fastest way to lower your blood pressure – no joke. Breathing slowly and steadily can lower your blood pressure almost instantly. The effect doesn’t last forever but if you keep doing slow breathing for a few minutes most days then the effects can build up.

It can be tricky to keep your breathing slow and steady when you’re not used to it though. However, to make it easier, I’ve made a set of audio tracks that guide you through it. You just breathe in and out in time with the breathing prompts. Super simple. Click here for sample tracks: guided slow breathing tracks

Last but not least – make sure to kick back and laugh! Seriously. Laughing is great for lowering blood pressure. A good belly laugh that is, not a polite chuckle. So put on some comedy shows, tell your rudest jokes, go out to see some stand-up, invite your funniest friends over for a good knees-up.

 

Christmas and beyond – lower your blood pressure and keep it low

If you’re want more ideas on ways to keep your blood pressure down this christmas and/or if you want to keep it low in the long-term, then check out our book:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

lower your blood pressure naturally with diet, exercise and relaxation - and garlicIt’s an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to getting your blood pressure down and keeping it down, without having to resort to prescription drugs.

The fact is, there are many many foods and drinks which can help lower your blood pressure. There are also many ways you can be more active with hugely beneficial effects. And there are myriad tried-and-tested stress reduction techniques which can help lower your blood pressure and help you have a happier life.

All of these are laid out clearly in the book, along with tips on how to easily incorporate these changes into your daily life. You can follow each step in the book at your own pace and thus lower your blood pressure substantially and effectively.

One of these stress reduction techniques is slow breathing, and when you buy the book you also get a full set of guided slow breathing audio tracks. As I mentioned above, slow breathing is the fastest way to lower your blood pressure, so practising with these every day will get you started in style!

Just click on the picture above for more details and/or to buy the book (and audio tracks).

And have a Happy Christmas!

NOTE: If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then all the best wishes with whatever festivities you celebrate. Life is to be enjoyed. Let’s all be happy and healthy 🙂

 

 

High blood pressure treatments – read this first

Matching high blood pressure treatments with causes

The biggest problem with high blood pressure treatments is determining the cause and appropriate approach.

According to the medical establishment the cause of over 90% of high blood pressure causes is unknown. What that means in reality is that for the vast majority of high blood pressure cases a single identifiable cause can not be determined.

The fact is that there any many causes of high blood pressure including:

hawthorn for heart health

Hawthorn – good for lowering blood pressure and heart health (photo by Paul Horner)

  • genetics
  • age
  • poor diet
  • lack of exercise
  • stress

Most people suffer from high blood pressure from a variety of causes. If your blood pressure is moderately high you might want to try different approaches to see what works best.

 

Alternative high blood pressure cures can be divided up to three main categories:

  • changes to your daily diet
  • daily physical exercise
  • daily mental relaxation practice

Changing your diet mainly helps reduce high blood pressure caused by poor diet (which includes the vast majority of Western world cuisine). Mind you, improving your diet can also help reduce high blood pressure caused by age and genetics.

Physical exercise is most beneficial in reducing high blood pressure cause by an otherwise inactive lifestyle. It also good for lowering high blood pressure caused from genetics and aging. Some people clam that it can help reduce your stress levels as well.

By mental exercises I mean any exercise that have the purpose of affecting your nervous system. These exercises have the most benefit for people suffering from high stress levels and associated high blood pressure.

The High Blood Pressure Shotgun Treatment

If you have very high blood pressure (like I did) you might want to take the ‘shotgun’ approach and improve your diet as well as practice mental and physical exercises.

The shotgun method almost guarantees that your blood pressure will come down. On top of that, you’ll feel healthier and happier than you have for years.

If you’re ready to shotgun your blood pressure back down to healthy levels I’d recommend the David O’Hara’s Breatheasy program.

The audio slow breathing program really works. If you take your blood pressure before and after a 15 breathing exercise you’ll notice the difference – a  5 to 10 point drop. Not bad for a quarter of an hour of your time. The effect is cumulative so you blood pressure will slowly get back to lower level over time provided your can spare those 15 minutes each day.

Breatheasy also comes with Kevin Riley’s guide Get Natural! which is a great source of information on diet.

All you’ll need then is a pair of trainers (or ‘sneakers’ in N America) to kickstart your exercises.

Take care one and all,

Simon

Update 2016: new slow breathing program and blood pressure guide now available!

high blood pressure treatments - slow breathingDavid O’Hara’s Breatheasy program and Kevin Riley’s Get Natural! book are no longer available. So I’ve put together my own slow breathing audio program and, with my partner, a guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally.

You can check out the slow breathing tracks here: Breathe-Slow.com

— By the way, I’m currently giving away the slow breathing audio program for free when you buy the guide book (and vice versa), so you can benefit from both right away —

The book – Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – is an up-to-date and comprehensive guide to lowering your blood pressure and keeping it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

Since there are many factors which affect your blood pressure, the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broad approach, and the guide covers all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

These include the large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure, many of which are available in local stores, as well as tips for being more active in your everyday life, and good ideas for relaxation and stress reduction.

To keep it simple, the guide is arranged in a series of 9 easy-to-follow steps.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThese progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the picture for more information!

And don’t forget, you’ll get a full set of guided slow breathing tracks as a free bonus too!

Seriously, it’s never been easier to lower your blood pressure naturally 🙂

 

Keeping blood pressure down

how to lower blood pressure the easy way

Simon Foster

It’s been over two years now since my battle with high blood pressure  and keeping blood pressure down began and I started this blog – both to help myself and others who are in the same boat.

Here are some reflections two years on:

 

The main cause of hypertension is modern life.

Life in the 21st century leads to high blood pressure by a number of means.

  • First of there is increasing stress levels that come with increasing levels of personal debt. There are far fewer home owners (people without a mortgage) than there ever was in the previous century. Debt, increased competition, less opportunity, struggling finances, etc., all equal greater stress levels which result in hypertension and poorer all-round health.
  • The increasing dominance of the car and other ‘labour-saving’ devices result in us moving our bodies less and less. We are starving for exercise. As our muscles, lungs, and heart get neglected our ability to keep our cardiovascular system in good health decreases. Result: weaker heart working harder to pump blood around constricted blood vessels.
  • The food industry is not helping us either. Processed foods containing large doses of hidden salt, sugar and fat clog our veins, reduce our overall health, and jack up our blood pressure.

So what’s the solution to the ailments caused by modern life, and to keeping blood pressure down? Buck the trend. Live within your means and try to eliminate those nagging credit card bills and the stress that come with them. Learn to relax. Try meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, whatever interests you. Leave the car keys at home and take a walk to the store the next time. Buy wholesome basic foods and rediscover the joys of home cooking.

Sure, these solutions may seem rather flippant and may not apply to everyone reading this but I’m sure you get the gist. Reducing high blood pressure and keeping blood pressure down is really a matter of making changes to your life style – taking back control of your life.

 

Keeping blood pressure down is a long-term commitment

If you make the necessary changes your blood pressure will come down over time – without the need of taking a daily dose of hypertension medications (and dealing with the many negative side effects that come with these pills).

But the catch is it’s not a ‘do-it-once’ solution. Keeping blood pressure down requires a change in lifestyle and that change has to be permanent. No going back to sitting on the couch all day eating junk food worrying about the next credit card bill.

The shift to a more healthy lifestyle must be a permanent one if you want to see your blood pressure levels come down to an acceptable range and stay there. The good news is that once you move to a healthier lifestyle not only will your blood pressure improve but so will your general outlook on life. You’ll feel in a better mood generally. Living is simple better and more enjoyable when you are healthier.

So what gives me the authority to make such sweeping statements? In one word – experience. Two years ago I was suffering dangerously high blood pressure with a reading of 190+ systolic and 120+ diastolic.

After a year of switching to a healthier lifestyle without the use of high blood pressure medication, my reading came down to a 135 / 90 level. A little highr than the ideal of 120/80 but within an acceptable range and well out of the danger range. This year my readings regularly go a little below the ideal such as the 115/75 region.

I never would have believed two years ago that I could be keeping my blood pressure down like this. And I didn’t try too hard – just switched to a healthier diet and dusted off my bicycle. I also take supplements every day – Vitamin C, and multi-vitamin, and calcium/magnesium. If you stick to it, blood pressure will drop and your health will increase.

That’s what has worked for me, my solution to keeping blood pressure down and I’m confident it will work for you too.

 

UPDATE 2015: If you think you need a bit extra help though, then look over the book I’ve recently produced: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide.

As the title says, it’s a full and comprehensive guide to lowering your blood pressure by making changes in your diet, your activity levels and by reducing your stress levels – and doing so so in a way that’s actually enjoyable.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThere are lots of tasty ideas for good things to eat and drink, helpful hints on upping your activity levels in your day to day life, without ever having to go to a gym, and pleasant ways to lower your stress levels and re-learn how to really relax again.

As I said above, I’ve found that the key to lowering and keeping blood pressure down, is to be consistent, and to make changes slowly but surely.

As such, the guide is organized into 9 easy-to-follow steps, which you can progress though at your own pace. This way, you can focus on one thing at a time, all the while knowing that you’re gradually creating an overall healthier life for yourself – and your blood pressure.

Just click on the picture for more details – and to download a free sample. And enjoy!

 

High Blood Pressure and Diabetes: What’s the Risk?

high blood pressure and diabetesThere’s been obvious for years that high blood pressure and diabetes often go together.

However, now a huge study has demonstrated a clear link between high blood pressure and diabetes. In fact, it found that having high blood pressure made people 58% more likely to go on to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Now, this doesn’t mean that high blood pressure can directly cause diabetes, but it certainly means that having high blood pressure puts you more at risk.

So what can you do about it? More on that below, but first the study.

 

New study of high blood pressure and diabetes

Researchers at Oxford University looked at the health records of 4.1 million people, “an electronic health record system, covering approximately 9% of the U.K.population”, according to the research paper. These people did not initially have diabetes, but those with high blood pressure were more likely to have developed diabetes by the time they were followed up (up to 11 years later).

And the higher their blood pressure, the greater the risk. For example, for every 20 point (20 mmHg) increase in usual systolic blood pressure, the risk of developing diabetes went up by 58%.

The researchers also put together and analysed 30 previous studies into high blood pressure and diabetes and found a similar pattern.

This connection between high blood pressure and diabetes was similar for men and women, old and young (those included in the study were between 30 and 90 years old), and was also similar for those with normal weight and the obese. (The increase in diabetes risk due to high blood pressure was less dramatic for older folk and those who’re most overweight, but they have a much higher risk of both high blood pressure and diabetes anyway.)

So, all in all, it looks like diabetes is definitely something to watch out for if you have high blood pressure – and you’re more likely to develop it the higher your blood pressure is.

 

Does high blood pressure itself increase your risk of diabetes?

Well, this is the big question.

According to the author of the study, Professor Kazem Rahimi, “We can’t say for certain that one causes the other, but this study helps to connect the dots, showing that if you have high blood pressure there is a significantly greater chance of developing diabetes.”

He continues: “At a minimum we know for certain that the link exists, but is high blood pressure a cause of diabetes or just a risk factor? We still don’t know.”

 

Or are there common underlying causes for both high blood pressure and diabetes?

It’s also possible that other health issues which are associated with high blood pressure could independently put you at more risk of diabetes.

For example, high blood pressure is associated with chronic inflammation in the body as well problems with the lining of the blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction). Both these factors not only make you more likely to develop high blood pressure (and obesity) but Professor Rahimi speculates that they may also put you more at risk of diabetes.

It’s useful to look at the factors which underlie all these health issues though. It’s already well known that having an unhealthy diet, not getting enough exercise and being chronically stressed make you more likely to develop both high blood pressure and diabetes (possibly because these also lead to chronic inflammation). So your lifestyle plays a huge role in your susceptibility to high blood pressure and diabetes.

 

How can you reduce high blood pressure and your risk of diabetes?

Well, one option is of course to get straight on high blood pressure-reducing medication. Professor Rahimi does mention this option in his publication (referring to specific types of blood pressure-reducing medication) but acknowledges that more research is needed to determine if it would be effective.

He also mentions that lifestyle changes, such as encouraging people to drink less alcohol and exercise more, could potentially reduce the amount of people developing diabetes.

Indeed, as mentioned above, things like eating unhealthily, drinking too much, not being active enough, and being stressed are well known to put you at greater risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, and worsen their associated symptoms and side-effects.

So lowering your blood pressure and your risk of diabetes is fairly simple. As Dr Richard Elliott, research communications manager at Diabetes UK, says: “We know that the best way to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy balanced diet and taking part in regular physical activity.”

Lowering your blood pressure naturally like this will also mean you get to avoid the unpleasant side-effects that can often be associated with blood pressure-lowering medicines. And common sense tells us that it’s far more effective to deal with the underlying causes rather than just treating the symptoms.

 

Lower your blood pressure (and diabetes risk) naturally and effectively

OK, that’s all well and good, but what kinds of foods and drinks should you be going for? What’s the best (or easiest) way to get more exercise? And how can you find time to de-stress?

You can browse some of the other posts on this website for more information (see the ‘recent posts’ section or use the website search bar at the top left).

You can also have a look at our new guide for lowering your blood pressure naturally: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide covers everything you need to know about improving your diet, stepping up your activity levels and re-learning how to relax.

To keep it simple, it’s laid out in 9 steps. You just follow the advice for each step – take it a week at a time or a month at a time, whatever suits you – and you’ll be on your way to lower blood pressure and better health in general.

Not only is the guide easy to follow but it’s also enjoyable to follow, with lots of tasty food and drink suggestions, and useful tips and insights on lifestyle changes. Little things that – put together – can make a big difference.

Remember – whatever you do to lower your blood pressure will also lower your risk of diabetes.

And if you don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes and want to make sure you never do, then this guide will keep you on a healthy track.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

 

(Post by Alison)

 

References:

https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/15-1161RR_Rahimi_JACC100615.pdf

https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/201509_%20Blood_pressure_diabetes

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/29/study-gives-strongest-link-yet-between-blood-pressure-and-diabetes

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/inflammatory-foods-worst-inflammation_n_2838643.html

Causes of Hypertension

If you want to tackle the problem it helps to know the cause. That’s certainly the case with high blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension). The causes of hypertension can be neatly summed up in 5 main categories:

  • poor diet
  • lack of exercise
  • stress
  • age
  • genetics

The first three causes of hypertension can be easily dealt with as outlined in How to Lower High Blood Pressure. Or to put it succinctly – get moving, eat the good stuff, and learn to relax.

The last two causes of hypertension are a bit more complicated – but can be dealt with too.

 

Age as a cause of hypertension

Starting with aging – it’s a fact that as we age our circulatory system doesn’t work as good as it used to. Our veins tend to narrow and harden pushing our blood pressure up.

But don’t despair. There are still are range of things you can due to stave off the ravages of time. Simply eating better, exercising and relaxing (see above) can keep you looking and feeling younger than your age along with your blood pressure levels.causes of hypertension

In particular, eating foods that contain lots of antioxidants can help reverse the effects of aging on your circulatory system – cleaning out your veins and lowering your blood pressure. Antioxidants are found in many things but especially fresh fruits and vegetables and green tea.

(Vegetables and fruits which are red or blue in colour contain particularly powerful antioxidants which have been shown to help lower blood pressure so be sure to include some of these.)

So aging can’t be stopped, bet the damaging effects of aging can be slowed down and even reversed in many cases :-).

(Image credit jpellgen via flickr.com)

 

Genetic causes of hypertension

The most stubborn cause of hypertension is your genetic makeup. Some families seem to suffer hypertension and some families don’t. I belong to the former camp – both my parents suffered from high blood pressure and I too am prone to it too.

However I managed to bring my blood pressure down despite my genetic propensity to develop hypertension via the methods outlined above.

Being genetically predisposed to having high blood pressure is not the same as saying your are condemned to it. It just means that you have to work harder at getting it down and keeping it down. It means that people who have no ‘hypertensive genes’ in their genetic makeup can get away with things that you can’t.

To sum up – the causes of hypertension can be dealt with and overcome without needing to be on a daily round of prescription medications. It takes some attention and commitment to life a healthier life but if you make the switch you’ll be happy you did.

A healthy stress-free life is a happy life. 🙂

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally – whatever the causes of your hypertension

As I’ve said, it’s not difficult to make simple changes in your diet and lifestyle to start lowering your blood pressure. Having a structure to follow can work wonders though – it’s much easier to make the changes you need when you’ve got a clear plan on how to do so. Above all, it’s more realistic and often healthier to make changes in a step-by-step manner.

For this reason, I’ve put together a guide to lowering blood pressure naturally – without needing hypertension medications – which goes through everything you need to know in an easy-to-follow nine-step course.

Given that there are several causes of hypertension, I’ve found that the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide contains simple and proven strategies for lowering your blood pressure and keeping it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

How to Lower Blood Pressure the Easy Way

how to lower blood pressure the easy way

Simon Foster

These days, a lot of people are searching for how to lower blood pressure the easy way – i.e., quickly and without major hassle. I’m happy to tell you that there are a few ways to lower your blood pressure. And each of these approaches is related to the causes of hypertension.

 

Is taking medications the easy way to lower blood pressure?

high blood pressure medication side effectsIn some ways, you might think that taking blood pressure-lowering drugs is the easy way to lower high blood pressure. However, there are many side-effects associated with these drugs. Not only that, there’s no actual statistical proof that taking them helps you live longer. Which means taking blood pressure-lowering medications isn’t really the easy way to lower blood pressure – and certainly isn’t an effective way.

 

Is there an easy way to lower blood pressure?

Well, there’s no quick-fix to lowering blood pressure. Taking anti-hypertension medication might seem like a quick fix. Indeed, such medicines might well be successful in damping down your high blood pressure. However, they only treat the symptoms and not the actual cause of high blood pressure – so they’re not really a ‘fix’ at all.

In my opinion, how to lower blood pressure the easy way amounts to making changes in your lifestyle which will naturally reduce your blood pressure.

There do exist quite a few effective ways to reduce blood pressure as alternatives to anti-hypertensive medications. Each of these methods works insofar as it is linked to the causes of your hypertension.

 

Lower blood pressure the easy way (the three easy ways!)

The three main causes of hypertension are lack of exercise, high stress, and deficient diet. When you know how to deal with the three causes directly then you know how to lower high blood pressure without the use of anti-hypertensive medications.

 

Stress (relax to lower your blood pressure)

Talking about stress first of all, many people will concur that we live in an increasingly stressful world. A lot of people now experience high stress without even knowing it.

Thankfully there are methods of lowering stress to better levels as well as blood pressure. Meditation and yoga are the standard methods, you could say, and if you stick with them, they’re certainly effective in helping you manage your stress levels and thus your blood pressure.

Slow breathing: not only an easy but a very fast way to lower blood pressure

However, doing slow breathing exercises with the assistance of an audio recording like Breathe-Slow is becoming very popular. The American Heart Association did a big review of alternative therapies for lowering blood pressure in 2013 and found that practicing slow breathing regularly – even for just fifteen minutes a day – succeeded in lowering blood pressure significantly.

In fact, in terms of how to lower blood pressure the easy way, slow breathing exercises are probably the best. This is because doing slow breathing can actually lower your blood pressure almost immediately. Of course, once you find yourself getting stressed again, your blood pressure will go back up. But studies show that if you do slow breathing regularly – most days – then it can bring your ‘habitual’ blood pressure levels down.

Christian Goodman exercise program

Another stress relief technique is Christian Goodman’s three exercises – I review them at this link (in brief, they’re pretty good but not cheap and you can find similar relaxation exercises online cheaper or for free).

The bottom line is this: lessen stress and you will lessen blood pressure because it is a known fact that stress is one of the major causes of hypertension.

Having said that, stress is not factor in everyone’s high blood pressure. We’re all different after all. So the other two factors may be important for you instead / as well.

 

Food and drink (eat and drink more healthily)

Looking at bad diet, it’s indisputable that eating choices in the industrial world aren’t the healthiest. Eating fried and fast food with an excess of salt, trans fats, bad (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and also foods full of white flour and sugar, is increasingly a major cause of hypertension. In fact, eating a lot of any processed food – even ready-made meals – is generally bad for your blood pressure.

Switching to a more healthy diet with sufficient fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains can significantly lower blood pressure your blood pressure in time.

Exercise (get moving)

lower blood pressure the easy eayThese days we almost all spend too much time driving our cars or slouched in front of the computers and televisions, physically inactive. We no longer pass sufficient time getting sufficient exercise. A lack of exercise is one of the major causes of hypertension.

The solution is straightforward: get some exercise. You could start with simply a short walk a couple of times daily to lead off if you feel unfit. Work your way up to a more stringent regime when you believe you are prepared. You will look better, feel better and be on the road to eliminating one of the major causes of hypertension.

 

Lower blood pressure the easy way: the natural way

From the above you can see that how to lower blood pressure the easy way without needing anti-hypertensive medications isn’t rocket-science. The important thing is to stop worrying about it – and just put it into your life!

Go for a stroll, pause for fifteen minutes and practice a slow breathing exercise, create a healthy meal for yourself – and you’re on your way to a lower pressure life. Make it part of your life and you will never have to fret about how to lower your high blood pressure again. Your BP will be down and you can look ahead to a more stress-free future.

I know from experience that this is easier said than done though, and sometimes it can feel a bit daunting to make these changes.

To make it easier, my partner and I have compiled all our research into a guide on how to lower your blood pressure naturally.

lower your blood pressure the easy way and naturallyThe guide covers everything I’ve just been talking about on how to lower your blood pressure through stress reduction, changes in diet and being more active.

It takes you through all this in simple easy-to-follow steps, which enable you to lower your blood pressure and keep it low through effective and enjoyable changes in your lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters. With each chapter, you’ll go further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications. Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

The guide currently comes with a free set of guided slow breathing audio tracks to help you relax and lower your blood pressure on the spot.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

High Blood Pressure The Genetic Link

high blood pressure the genetic linkThe fact is that genetic factors play a large role in your susceptibility to developing high blood pressure later in life. So if you have high blood pressure the genetic link may well be a factor.

Take for instance my own case. Both my parents were dogged by high blood pressure despite living a relatively healthy lifestyle. Now I struggle with high blood pressure as I age. Surely there is a large genetic factor in that equation.

On the other hand, some people seem genetically immune to high blood pressure. A former girlfriend of mine is one such example.

She used to drink alcohol and smoke tobacco with enthusiasm. She was adverse to exercise and her diet was far from exemplary. On top of that she was often and easily stressed.

Being in her mid-forties, reason would suggest she was a likely candidate for high blood pressure. But oddly enough, she was more concerned about developing too low a blood pressure. Her systolic pressure was often below 100.

The only explanation I can offer for this phenomenon is that she was simply genetically programmed to have low pressure – and no amount of substance abuse, bad diet, or lack of exercise seemed to alter this fact.

Simply put, some of us are genetically programed to be susceptible to high blood pressure. Some of us are not.

Note I wrote ‘susceptible’, not determined.

 

High blood pressure the genetic link – what to do?

Having high blood pressure in your family doesn’t mean you have to suffer it too. But it does mean that you will have work a little harder at keeping your blood pressure withing healthy limits.

That certainly applies to me and perhaps to you too. If I lived the lifestyle of my former girlfriend mentioned above my blood pressure would have gone through the ceiling and my cardio-vascular health levels would be seriously compromised.

Today I enjoy blood pressure readings that often fall below the 120/80 benchmark – but it’s not because I’m lucky, or am genetically programmed for low blood pressure, or because I take medication daily.

I am genetically susceptible to high blood pressure but I keep it down through exercise, diet and avoiding high levels of stress.

For example:

I’m currently staying on my yacht in Saint Martin in the West Indies. There are many sailing boats here from all over North America and Europe. Almost without exception everyone gets ashore on their dingies powered by outboard motors.

I row. It’s not that far and it’s great exercise.

I start everyday with a bowl of oatmeal and a banana along with some dietary supplements such as multi-vitamins, calcium and magnesium. It helps keep my body happy and my blood pressure down.

I’ll often do stress-relieving exercises, like 15 minutes of slow breathing in the evening before bed ensuring a good sleep.

Combined and practiced daily this approach keeps my blood pressure healthy and safe – despite my genetic propensity to be hypertensive.

In short, there is a healthy option to hypertension medications and their sometimes not so pleasant side effects. The high blood pressure genetic link is not a life sentence to endless medications or endless hypertension.

If I can do it – anyone can :-).

 

UPDATE: I’ve now written a book about how to lower your blood pressure naturally. It’s based on my own experience and experiments – and also an awful lot of research by my partner.

Click here to find out more about it.

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

high blood pressure - the genetic linkThe guide also comes with a set of audio tracks for practicing slow breathing. When lowering your blood pressure naturally, it’s good to take a broad approach so changing your diet, making sure you’re active, and keeping calm are all important.

You can find out plenty about all of these in my book. But don’t worry about being overwhelmed by information – the book is organized into 9 simple steps which are easy to follow, and which you can go through at your own pace.

Hope this helps. Remember, even if you have high blood pressure the genetic link doesn’t mean you are stuck with it!

P.S. I’m no longer living on my boat but in my house in Wales, though I’m continuing to do everything I mentioned above – and my blood pressure is still in a healthy range. Yours can be too 🙂

P.P.S. I just wrote an article on the latest research into the genetics of high blood pressure here if you’re interested: Is high blood pressure hereditary?

High Blood Pressure Causes

What are high blood pressure causes? As they say, that’s the 64 thousand dollar question.  According to medical science, the causes of the vast majority of high blood pressure cases remains ‘unknown’.

high blood pressure causesThat doesn’t mean that they don’t have a clue. Not at all. it just means they can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was this or that that causes a person to develop high blood pressure. Indeed, the causes of high blood pressure are neither that simple nor evident. (It’s a lot more than simply eating too much salt ;-))

But anyway you look at it is always comes back to this: genetics. The indisputable fact is that some people have high blood pressure ‘in the family’, other don’t. (I firmly belong to the former group).

Here’s an example from my life, today:

My girlfriend is a heavy smoker (although she’d probably deny that ;-)), she gets easily stressed; can be very high strung at times; her diet is far from exemplary from a healthy blood pressure perspective. In short, her lifestyle has all the ingredients of a high blood pressure victim.

But the fact is, her blood pressure is usually too low and she can even suffer from dizzy spells sometimes as it can dip below 90/60. High blood pressure simply isn’t in her genes and there is probably nothing she could do to get it.

Me, on the other hand, non-smoking, OK diet, and comparatively relaxed and calm disposition was banging in at 195/120 last winter (before I got it down through natural methods of diet and exercise i discuss in this blog.)

So what gives? The fact is, my girlfriend’s family doesn’t have a history of blood pressure whereas mine does. I am genetically predisposed to develop high blood pressure whereas she is not. It doesn’t seem fair but that’s just the way it is.

Mind you, I am not saying that if you are genetically predisposed to get high blood pressure there is nothing you can do about it. I’m living proof that you can lower your blood pressure regardless, without even going on medications. Being genetically predisposed towards hypertension means you have to exercise greater diligence and expend further effort to ensure your blood pressure levels remain within a healthy range.

I also don’t mean to imply that genetics is the only cause of high blood pressure. If you are a chain-smoker, live on the couch, and are obese through a diet of processed foods and heavy salt consumption then it is highly likely that you have high blood pressure and your high blood pressure causes are due to your lifestyle.

Yes, a poor lifestyle can lead to hypertension and a healthy lifestyle can lead to lowering blood pressure levels.

Genetics plays its role in determining how hard you have to work at maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. I have to work hard at it. My girlfriend can get away with all sorts of transgressions.

If you’re like me, take heart. You don’t have to suffer high blood pressure or the depressing side effects of many blood pressure medications. I’m living proof that a change in diet and exercise can bring your body back in balance, regardless of the particular high blood pressure causes.

 

Whatever your high blood pressure causes, you can deal with them

In case your wondering exactly how I’ve done it I must give most of the credit to Kevin Riley’s guide to lowering blood pressure naturally through changes in diet and lifestyle – Get Natural!

Following the Get Natural! program and taking 15 minutes off a day to do slow breathing exercises with the BreathEasy audio tapes is pretty much all that I need to get a dangerously high blood pressure of 190+ / 120+ back down to the 120-130 / 80-90 range. Tidy! (as we say here in Wales).

UPDATE: New guided slow breathing program and blood pressure book available!

Neither BreathEasy nor Get Natural! are available now. So I’ve high blood pressure causes - lower your blood pressure naturallycreated my own slow breathing audio program as well as a comprehensive guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally (the latter with the help of my keen researcher partner).

Just click here for more details:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

Breathe-Slow audio program

high blood pressure causes - slow breathing can helpI’m currently giving the Breathe-Slow audio program away free when you buy the guide (and vice versa). So you get a complete blood pressure-lowering package. It’s all available as an instant download so you can get started on lowering your blood pressure immediately.

Seriously. Slow breathing is the fastest way to lower your blood pressure without medication so it is worth trying. And making a few changes in your diet and other aspects of your day-to-day lifestyle can also work wonders. All the positive changes support each other and help you improve your blood pressure and your general health synergistically 🙂

– – – – –

P.P.S. Being in the ‘high blood pressure circuit’ with this blog I’ve been getting solicitations from vendors of a device called RESPeRATE. (Why all the capitalized letter I have no idea – must have been thought up by some marketing bigwig.)

Has anyone tried them?

They seem to be based on the same slow breathing exercise principle as BreathEasy (see link above) but with more of a technical approach. And not cheap!

Here’s some of sales info from UK pharmacy websites:

From Boots –

How does Resperate help to lower blood pressure?

Resperate guides your breathing from the typical range of 14 to 19 breaths per minute down to what is called the “therapeutic zone” of just under 10 breaths per minute. This enables the muscles surrounding the small blood vessels in your body to dilate, and relax. Blood flows more freely and pressure lowers.

Resperate should be used for just 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week. Within 3 to 4 weeks of use, a significant all-day reduction in blood pressure can be achieved.

Resperate contents:

  • Resperate device & breathing sensor
  • Headphones
  • user manuals
  • 4 x AA batteries

Price £199.99 at www.boots.com/en/Resperate_873109/

From ChemistDirect –

How RESPeRATE lowers your blood pressure:

RESPeRATE’s breathing sensor automatically analyzes your individual breathing pattern and creates a personalized melody composed of two distinct inhale and exhale guiding tones.
Simply listen to the melody through the headphones, and your body’s natural tendency to follow external rhythms will enable you to easily synchronize your breathing to the tones.
By gradually prolonging the exhalation tone to slow your breathing, RESPeRATE leads you to the therapeutic zone of less than 10 breaths per minute.
Within a few minutes, the muscles surrounding the small blood vessels in your body relax, blood flows more freely, and your blood pressure is significantly reduced.
While your breathing returns to normal after each session with RESPeRATE, the beneficial impact on your blood pressure accumulates. Within 3 to 4 weeks, you’ll see a significant, lasting reduction in your blood pressure.

What results can you expect?

More than 10 clinical trials1-9 have demonstrated the effectiveness of RESPeRATE in significantly lowering blood pressure. RESPeRATE can lower blood pressure by up to 36 points systolic and 20 points diastolic (top 10% reductions), with average reductions of 14/8 points.10
Lower your blood pressure with RESPeRATE. With regular use, you’ll get a significant, lasting reduction in blood pressure.
Price: £159.00 at www.chemistdirect.co.uk/resperate–free-omron-mx2_1_152128

Like I said, not cheap, but if it works I suppose it’s well worth it. After all, what’s the value of your health?

If anyone has tried one of the RESPeRATE devices please let us know in the comments section what you think of it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my blurb on high blood pressure causes. Let me know what you think. All comments welcome.

Take care,
Simon Foster