Let’s first take a look at what drives your blood pressure. Unlike a river, which flows continuously downstream, blood flow is pulsatile, with ebb and flow driven by pumping heart muscle. This cycle repeats itself 60 or so times each minute, every time your heart beats. With each heartbeat occurring about once per second, the heart squeezes, or contracts, within a split-second. The rapid contraction forces about 90 cc of blood (approximately 1/3 cup) up, pushing the aortic valve open, and blood passes up into the aorta and rapidly distributes upward to the brain (via the carotid arteries on either side of the neck), the arms, and downward to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. The force of heart contraction and its rapid distribution to the body is measured as systolic pressure, or the top number in blood pressure. As the 90 cc or so of ejected blood distributes rapidly throughout the body, pressure in all the arteries drops over the ensuing half second, and the aortic valve closes. Th...
Being that February is National Heart Month I’d like to use this blog to address the relationship between high blood pressure and heart disease . It has been well documented that high blood pressure contributes to heart disease. This includes coronary artery disease and the resulting angina and heart attacks. Additionally, changes in heart muscle due to high blood pressure can lead to heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. The changes in heart muscle due to high blood pressure are similar to those in a body builder. We have all seen the “pumped up” body builder stiffly walking down the street. Thickening, or hypertrophy, of the muscles in arms and legs results from lifting heavy weights. In essence, muscles get thicker and stronger so that lifting heavy weights becomes easier. The desired effect of bigger muscles is achieved but at a cost. The muscles contract just fine, but have trouble relaxing. Hence the stiff walk. This is e...
Research has shown an inverse relationship between magnesium and blood pressure. In other words, individuals with a high magnesium intake, typically have a low blood pressure.
Good sources of magnesium include:
Peas, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lima beans, squash, broccoli, spinach, and seafood
Supplemental magnesium of ~500 mg can effectively lower blood pressure. Some studies have found magnesium supplements to reduce systolic blood pressure 2.7 mm Hg and diastolic 3.4 mm Hg. Discuss all supplements with your MD!
Missed a few days? Check out out our previous tips:
February 1: Start Slimming Down Your Recipes
February 2: Switch from Canned Veggies to Frozen
February 3: Wear a Pedometer
February 4: Eat Plant Sterols
February 5: Start a Food Journal
February 6: Select Darker Lettuce for Salads
February 7: Make a Date With Your Family
February 8: Slow Down and Taste Your Food
February 9: Drink Water. . . Water. . . and More Water...
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