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“They” Say Garlic Helps To Reduce Blood Pressure. Is It True?

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High blood pressure or hypertension is a common yet alarming public health issue. It is also known as “silent killer” as it often has no warning signs or symptoms at an early stage. According to National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011, 1 out of 5 Malaysian adults is an undiagnosed hypertensive patient!

What Should I Be Careful Of When Self-Checking Blood Pressure?

Here are some useful tips to have your own blood pressure checked correctly:

1. Make sure the cuff fits
Measure your upper arm and choose a blood pressure monitor machine that comes with suitable cuff size. It is INCORRECT to think that the tighter the cuff is the better it is. Right cuff should be fitting just nice around upper arm.

2. Be Still
Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, smoke or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.

3. Sit Properly
Sit with your back straight and supported on a chair. Do not cross your legs or arms. Keep your arm supported on table with the upper arm at heart level.

4. Take Multiple Readings
Take 2 or 3 readings with at least one minute apart and record all the results.

5. Measure At The Same Time Daily
Try to take your readings at the same time everyday, preferably in the morning and evening.

6. Calibrate Blood Pressure Monitor Machine
Calibrate blood pressure monitor machine at least every 2 years to ensure its accuracy.


Interesting Facts About High Blood Pressure
1. High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Symptoms In Its Early Stages
It is usually discovered at a doctor’s visit when routine blood pressure reading is taken. Symptoms in the later stages include dizziness, headaches and nose bleeds. That is why public should have one home-monitoring blood pressure machine at a home for regular monitoring.

2. High Blood Pressure Is Concerning During The Late Stages Of Pregnancy
Pregnant mums are always required for frequent monitoring of blood pressure to avoid complication such as eclampsia when life-threatening convulsions could happen.

3. Blood Pressure Increase With Age
In general, women develop high blood pressure later than men due to regulation of estrogen that will decrease significantly when reaching menopausal stage. Ageing changes to the heart and blood vessels also contribute to the increment of blood pressure. This explains the different blood pressure guideline with different age group and co-morbidities.

4. It Is Important For Patients With Diabetes To Take Care Of Blood Pressure
The cut-off point for optimal blood pressure reading is lower for groups of patients with diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes. Good blood pressure management can help to delay or minimize complication such as kidney failure, stroke and others.

5. Potassium is critical for healthy blood pressure, but be-careful if you are taking certain blood pressure reducing medication such as ACE Inhibitors (eg. Perindopril)

Potassium helps to relax the arterial wall and keep blood pressure in the healthy range. Good high potassium foods such as bananas, eggplant and baked potatoes are some alternatives. However, certain blood pressure reducing medication can increase level of potassium. Too much potassium can cause trouble to your heart and circulation. Consult a pharmacist before taking any supplement or natural therapies for blood pressure management.


“They” Say Garlic Helps To Reduce Blood Pressure. Is It True?

Garlic is well known by many due to its benefits to our general health. Recently, wild garlic or its Latin name, Allium ursinum has been developed as the “new star” of garlic due to its naturally odorless property, yet it contains all of garlic’s active properties. Wild garlic is found mainly in the hills and mountains of central Europe. Unlike regular garlic, the active substances in wild garlic are cultivated from its green leaves.


Wild Garlic Improves Blood Pressure Control

Supplementation of wild garlic appears to reduce blood pressure with respectable magnitude in people with high blood pressure. Wild garlic acts as reservoir of sulfur, which can be used to make the signaling molecules that can help to relax the blood vessel.

Wild garlic produces more allicin which makes it having a better blood pressure lowering properties comparing to normal garlic. The recommended amount for wild garlic is merely one gram per day whilst regular garlic requires 4-6g per day in reaching the same effect. Not only that, wild garlic helps to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol production which will protect against the formation of plaques and blood clots. The anti-oxidant properties of wild garlic reduce inflammation in blood vessel in helping to maintain healthy blood pressure.

Patients undergoing menopausal symptoms, stress or anxiety, first stage hypertension that can be improved through lifestyle modifications are groups who can try on wild garlic supplementation in helping blood pressure management.

Pregnant or breastfeeding mum should avoid wild garlic supplementation without doctor or specialist’s consent. Wild garlic possesses blood thinning effect, and hence patients whom take blood thinner such as aspirin should be extra careful and consult their pharmacists before initiating supplementation.


High Blood Pressure Can Be Prevented


Perhaps you are categorized in the group of people who are at greater risk in developing high blood pressure. However, keeping your weight at a healthy level, compliment with exercising can help you to prevent high blood pressure. Go for smoking cessation programe that is available in accredited pharmacies if you are smoking. And most importantly, learn on effective stress management and food label reading. Ask your nutritionists or dietitians in helping to identify those “hidden salt” in your diet.

You can make a difference to your health.

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