• Define ‘blood pressure’ & how it is measured
  • What are the risks associated with hypertension?
  • Discover common reasons for elevated blood pressure
  • Techniques to reduce the risk of hypertension

 Blood Pressure: Systolic/ Diastolic

Systole- during the contraction of the heart.  Systolic BP is the amount of force the heart is pushing against to push the blood out of the heart into the system. Diastole- during the relaxation / filling of the heart

Diastolic BP is the resting tension in the circulatory system and is related to the perfusion of blood into the organs

 BP Measurement

Normal resting BP’s: 120/ 80 mmHg or less;

Pre-hypertension BP’s:120-139 / 80-89 mmHg ;

140/ 90 is considered Hypertension Stage I

160/ 100 is considered significant hypertension Stage II

180/ 110 is considered emergent and immediate medical attention is recommended

 Blood pressure Factors related to High BP & Stroke:   A family history of high blood pressure

Age – The incidence of high blood pressure rises in men after age 35 and in women after age 45

Gender – Men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women

Ethnicity – Approximately 33 percent of African-Americans have high blood pressure, compared to 25 percent of Caucasians. Having diabetes for ten years or more triples the risk of an ischemic stroke

Risks of High Blood Pressure. Stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction or ‘heart attack’, kidney failure, vision loss, other organ failures

Risk of Stroke in Hypertensive Patients: Six year study & the incidence of stroke with over 27,000 subjects, 45 to 73 years old, living in Sweden.  Among treated hypertensives, the incidence of stroke:

BP levels ≥140/90 mmHg:   289 per100 000 person-year

BP levels ≥160/100 mmHg: 705 per 100 000 person-year

Estimated ≈45% of all strokes among subjects with treatment for hypertension might be attributed to uncontrolled BP , Adequate hypertension control may prevent a substantial proportion of first-ever stroke among treated hypertensives

Leading Causes of Hypertension: Excessive body weight, other contributing factors include: Psychosocial Stress, fatigue, high intake of alcohol, nicotine & sodium, sedentary living (Inactivity), drugs, family history of high BP, high intake of fructose,  and the intake of chemical contaminants such as BPA or Bisphenol A from plastics.

Hypertension & HFCS (Fructose)

4,528 adults, 18 yrs or older: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2003 and 2006 with no history of hypertension

Diet surveys median fructose intake was 74 grams per day or ~2.5 sugary soft drinks a day

Link between hypertension & high fructose intake even though they varied the factors like age, level of activity, intake of calorie & salt. Participants with 74 grams of fructose or more responded with 36% higher risk of having HTN. From Diana Jalal, MD University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center in Aurora, CO. Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3445941

Bisphenol A (BPA) in Food or Beverage Containers May Elevate BP’s

The study shows soy milk drunk from a can, the BPA levels in the urine rose dramatically within two hrs as well as their BP’s.   On days when they drank the same beverage from glass bottles (no BPA linings),  there was no significant change in their BPA levels or BP’s.  As BPA levels rose, so too did systolic BP’s an on average of 5 mm Hg. For every 20 mm increase in systolic BP doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Authors speculate that BPA may disrupt thyroid hormones that lower BP’s http://tinyurl.com/zybtrad

 Preventing Stroke

Persons with hypertension are about 3 or 4 times more likely to have a stroke (Gorelick, PROGRESS and HOPE. Lancet Neurol. 2002)

If steps are taken to control stroke through medications or lifestyle changes, at least 40% of the strokes can be prevented   (Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6771220)

  • Avoid excessive amounts of salt (> 2.3 gm /day; US avg >3.4 gm/day)
  • Consuming less trans fats
  • Eating fewer calories will help you lose weight, especially when you also enjoy regular physical activity
  • Eating more dietary sources of potassium and magnesium helps control blood pressure in most people
  • Focusing your diet on low-fat dairy fruits, vegetables, whole-grains & high-fiber foods
  • Reducing intake of high-fructose corn syrup

Walking Lowers the Risk of Developing High BP

Osaka Gas Company in Japan examined the risk of hypertension in their employees and the time they spent walking to work.   For every 10 min of walking, they reduced their risk by 12%, so 30 min walk reduced the employees’ risk of hypertension by 36%!


  • High BP’s increase the risk of stroke and other organ failure
  • Maintaining appropriate body weight is one of the best ways to lower the risk of hypertension
  • Consistent exercise & managing stress –  both help reduce the risk of hypertension
  • Avoiding excessive salt, calories, and high fructose corn syrup. Minimize eating foods or drinks that may contain BPA or other contaminants
  • Increased intake of dietary sources of magnesium & potassium minerals may lower BP in some
  • Emphasize fresh, whole, plant-based foods