High Blood Pressure Symptoms You Can Reverse Naturally

Did you know that most people with high blood pressure or hypertension have no symptoms, even when their blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels?

What if I told you that a health condition affects about 72 million — or one out of every three — American adults under old guidelines? And what if I told you that under new guidelines, that number will rise to about 103 Americans? I’m talking about a highly common, yet preventable, condition called high blood pressure, also known as hypertension — which is why you need to pay attention if you have high blood pressure symptoms. (1)

High blood pressure (HBP) isn’t just a problem in and of itself, but it also leads to other dangerous health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, chronic heart failure and kidney disease.

Did you know that most people with high blood pressure or hypertension have no symptoms, even when their blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels? In fact, many U.S. adults with high blood pressure still don't know they have it. Scary, I know.

The good news is that even mainstream medicine will agree with me when I say that diet and exercise are the most important tools for preventing and treating high blood pressure naturally and successfully.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms & Life Expectancy

What is high blood pressure exactly? It’s a common disease in which blood flows through blood vessels and arteries at higher than normal pressures.

Hypertension costs the U.S. $46 billion each year, which includes the cost of healthcare services, medications to treat high blood pressure symptoms and missed days of work — a number that’s expected to rise with the American Heart Association releasing new standards for what constitutes high blood pressure. Standard medical treatment for elevated blood pressure is to prescribe dangerous beta blockers, ACE inhibitor drugs and diuretics, along with convincing the patient to restrict salt in the diet. Although these things can help, they don’t get to the root of the problem and can actually cause more problems. We’ve been encouraged to fear salt when it comes to our health, but this recommendation of extreme salt reduction for high blood pressure symptoms remains controversial, questionable and even destructive for good reason. (2)

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure happens when this force is too high. Scary, but true: Most people who have this condition display zero signs or high blood pressure symptoms, even when their blood pressure readings are at dangerously high levels.

When blood pressure is measured, there are two numbers that result, which measures two different pressures. The top number is systolic pressure, the blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. The second or bottom number is diastolic pressure, the blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

Under the previous guidelines, blood pressure ranges include: (3)

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension) is anything less than 90/60

  • Normal: Less than 120/80

  • Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89. “Prehypertension” means blood pressure is higher than normal but not yet at the point of being considered true “high blood pressure.”

  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99

  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above

  • If you get a reading that’s very high, above 180/110, chances are this is inaccurate and you should have another reading done.

However, now there are new guidelines lowering the threshold of what’s considered high blood pressure. The American Heart Association has now lowered stage 1 high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80. What does this mean? It means “that 46 percent of U.S. adults, many of them under the age of 45, now will be considered hypertensive.” (4) That’s not all: (5)

Under the guidelines, formulated by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, the number of men under age 45 with a diagnosis of high blood pressure will triple, and the prevalence among women under age 45 will double.

The new guidelines from the American Heart Association are as follows:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;

  • Elevated: Systolic between 120–129 and diastolic less than 80;

  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130–139 or diastolic between 80–89;

  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;

  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

Frequently, there are no high blood pressure symptoms as blood pressure increases, but some warning signs for very high blood pressure can include chest pains, confusion, headaches, ear noise or buzzing, irregular heartbeat, nosebleeds, tiredness or vision changes.

When high blood pressure symptoms do develop, it’s normally because the condition has progressed to a dangerous point. This is called hypertensive crisis which means a systolic/top number higher than 180 OR diastolic/bottom number higher than 110.

Hypertensive crisis is considered a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Emergency medical treatment is needed. At this point symptoms are usually present including:

  • Severe headaches

  • Severe anxiety

  • Shortness of breath

  • Nosebleeds

At the age of 50, total life expectancy is about five years longer for people with normal blood pressure than for those who have hypertension. That’s just another worthwhile reason to get your high blood pressure symptoms under control and keep them under control.

Also keep in mind that the readings above are intended for normal adults over 18 years old. If you have diabetes, kidney disease or a short-term serious illness your readings will be interpreted differently. If you have diabetes (another very common problem) or chronic kidney disease then high blood pressure is defined as 130/80 or higher.

High Blood Pressure Root Causes & Risk Factors

Knowing what triggers high blood pressure can help you prevent or reverse it. Like with most other chronic diseases, the reason someone develops HBP has to do with several factors.

HBP seems to run in families, but it’s also highly dependent upon the type of lifestyle someone leads. Women are at an increased risk when taking control pills, during pregnancy, or if taking hormone therapy medications to control menopause symptoms. Obesity or being overweight increases the odds because this puts more pressure on the heart and arteries.

Men and women are equally likely to develop HBP during their lifetimes, but interestingly men are more likely when they’re younger. Before turning 45, men are more likely to have HBP than women but then this flips after age 65, when women’s risk becomes higher than men’s. When children younger than 10 years old have HBP it’s usually a side effect of another condition. This can include a kidney problem, medication use or type 1 diabetes.

High blood pressure has a real laundry list of risk factors. The good news is that the majority of these hypertension risk factors are well within your control. They include: (6)

  • Age — High blood pressure risk increases as age increases. It’s more common in men through the age of 45. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65.

  • Family history — High blood pressure tends to run in families.

  • Race — High blood pressure is especially common among African-Americans and often develops at an earlier age than it does in Caucasians. Serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, are more common among African-Americans suffering from high blood pressure.

  • Being overweight — The higher your body weight, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls and your blood pressure.

  • Not being physically active — People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity and exercise also increases the risk of being overweight, which are some of the reasons a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous.

  • Tobacco use — Whether it’s smoking or chewing tobacco, both immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily. Additionally, the chemicals in tobacco damage the lining of your artery walls, which causes your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke can also raise your blood pressure.

  • Too much alcohol — Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect blood pressure negatively.

  • Too much sodium in your diet — Too much salt or sodium in your diet causes your body to retain more fluid, which increases blood pressure.

  • Too little potassium in your diet — Potassium is a mineral that helps balance the sodium content of your body’s cells. If you don’t consume enough potassium or retain enough potassium, you can accumulate too much sodium in your bloodstream. That’s one reason why you want to avoid low potassium.

  • Stress — High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.

  • Certain chronic conditions — Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.

  • Pregnancy — Sometimes pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is most prevalent in the adult population, but children are also at risk. Sometimes children can experience high blood pressure symptoms that are caused by problems with the heart or kidneys.

However, more and more children who experience high blood pressure are dealing with this chronic issue at a way too young age because of poor lifestyle habits. When I say poor lifestyle habits, I’m referring to an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise, which both directly relate to the increase in childhood obesity and childhood hypertension.

Complications of High Blood Pressure

More than 360,000 American deaths in 2013 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That equates to a highly disturbing and concerning nearly 1,000 deaths each day.

High blood pressure increases your risk for dangerous health conditions, such as: (7)

  • First heart attack: About 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attacks have high blood pressure.

  • First stroke: About 8 of every 10 people having their first strokes have high blood pressure.

  • Chronic heart failure: About 7 of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.

  • Eye problems: High blood pressure can cause thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes, which can result in vision loss.

  • Metabolic syndrome: High blood pressure symptoms increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, a combination of three or more of the following health issues: abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure or low HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

  • Memory issues: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can affect your ability to think, remember and learn. Trouble with memory or understanding concepts is more common in people with high blood pressure.

  • Aneurysm: Increased blood pressure can cause your blood vessels to weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can be life-threatening.

High Blood Pressure vs. Low Blood Pressure

Risk of both low blood pressure and high blood pressure normally increases with age due in part to normal changes during aging. Here is how low and high blood pressure stack up.

High Blood Pressure

Frequently, there are no high blood pressure symptoms as blood pressure increases. Some warning signs for very high blood pressure, however, can include:

  • chest pains

  • confusion

  • headaches

  • ear noise or buzzing

  • irregular heartbeat

  • nosebleed

  • tiredness

  • vision changes

Here are some more alarming facts about high blood pressure and high blood pressure symptoms:

  • About 70 million American adults (29 percent) have high blood pressure — that’s nearly 1 out of every 3 adults.

  • Only about half (52 percent) of people with high blood pressure have the condition under control.

  • Nearly 1 out of 3 American adults has prehypertension — blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal but not yet in the high blood pressure range.

  • Heart disease remains the number one killer in the U.S and many other nations. In the U.S. alone, about 7 million people die each year from various illnesses that are mostly caused by high blood pressure, since this boosts the odds of heart failure/heart attacks and stroke.

  • High blood pressure costs the nation $46 billion each year. This total includes the cost of healthcare services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.

  • High blood pressure is most common in African American adults, although it’s still high among every nationality. African Americans tend to get HBP earlier in life, have more severe cases with more complications, and are more likely to put off getting treatment compared to Caucasians.

  • Other risk factors for HBP include having compounding medical problems (kidney disease, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea for example), taking prescriptions that increase blood pressure, having a family history of heart disease, being overweight and being pregnant or on birth control pills.

  • High blood pressure is riskiest when it’s left unmanaged for a long period of time, which is why early detection and intervention is key to preventing permanent damage.

Low Blood Pressure

How can you tell if you have low blood pressure, high blood pressure or normal blood pressure?

  • Low blood pressure or hypotension: Less than 90/60

  • Normal: Less than 120/80

  • Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89

  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99

  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above

Here are some stats on low blood pressure:

  • Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is almost never serious.

  • Low blood pressure is concerning when blood pressure drops suddenly and the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply. This can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness.

  • Sudden drops in blood pressure most commonly occur in someone who’s rising from a lying down or sitting position to standing. This kind of low blood pressure is known as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Another type of low blood pressure can occur when someone stands for a long period of time. This is called neurally mediated hypotension.

  • Blood flow to the heart muscle and the brain declines with age, often as a result of plaque buildup in blood vessels.

  • Estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of people over age 65 have postural hypotension.

As long as you don’t experience symptoms of low blood pressure, there is no need for concern. Most doctors consider chronically low blood pressure dangerous only if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms, such as:

  • dizziness or lightheadedness

  • fainting (called syncope)

  • dehydration and unusual thirst

  • lack of concentration

  • blurred vision

  • nausea

  • cold, clammy, pale skin

  • rapid, shallow breathing

  • fatigue

  • depression

Low blood pressure can occur with:

  • Prolonged bed rest

  • Pregnancy

  • Decreases in blood volume

  • Certain medications, including diuretics and other drugs that treat hypertension; heart medications such as beta blockers; drugs for Parkinson’s disease; tricyclic antidepressants; erectile dysfunction drugs, particularly in combination with nitroglycerin; narcotics and alcohol. Other prescription and over-the-counter drugs may cause low blood pressure when taken in combination with HBP medications.

  • Heart problems

  • Endocrine problems

  • Severe infection (sepsis)

  • Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) — anaphylactic shock is a sometimes-fatal allergic reaction that can occur in people who are highly sensitive to drugs such as penicillin, certain foods such as peanuts, or to bee or wasp stings. This type of shock is characterized by breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat and a sudden, dramatic fall in blood pressure.

  • Neurally mediated hypotension

  • Nutritional deficiencies — a lack of the essential vitamins B12 and folic acid can cause anemia and anemic symptoms, which in turn can lead to low blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms Diet