Having a basic understanding of blood pressure is important, especially if you end up with a diagnosis of hypertension. Some things to know include what the readings mean and how they affect your health. Knowing this is important to help prevent or manage high blood pressure.

What is Blood Pressure?

This refers to the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. Each time the heart beats the pressure increases, and as it relaxes before the next beat, it lowers. The high point is the systolic and the low point is the diastolic. These two readings help determine the state of a person's health. The main readings to keep in mind are:

* 120/80 or lower being optimal

* 120/80 – 139/89 being pre-hypertensive

* 140/90 or higher is high blood pressure

The risk of developing this dreaded condition depends on a lot of factors. When there are known causes, it is referred to as secondary high blood pressure. In many cases, there are no known causes for developing the condition. When this happens, it is identified as primary high blood pressure.

Treating Hypertension

There are a number of treatment options for hypertension. These will depend on other factors such as:

* Whether you have been diagnosed with stage 1 of stage 2 hypertension

* Your age

* Your overall physical health

* Any pre-existing medical conditions

* If you are female, whether or not you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant

Medical intervention is meant to achieve a number of things, namely:

* Reduce the heart rate so that it beats slower and reduces the flow through the vessels

* Help to remove excess fluids and salt from the body. Diuretics is the main type of medication used to achieve this.

* Some medications cause vessels to relax and even widen so that the stress on the arteries is reduced.

Natural Treatment Options

For those who want to avoid prescription medication, there are many natural options. Some of these can be found right in the kitchen cabinets. A number of manufacturers make it their business to make and sell all-natural treatments for various ailments.

Like many prescription meds, natural alternatives work to do the following:

* Improve heart health

* Improve circulation

* Improve and control blood pressure

One reason why many people with hypertension turn to natural alternatives is to avoid the side effects of prescription medication. Some drugs can themselves lead to other medical conditions over time. This is especially true since the treatment regimen generally lasts for life.

Controlling and managing the condition also depends on lifestyle changes. The two most important changes are to reduce the intake of salt and to become more active. Other recommended changes include:

* Reducing alcohol intake

* Eating less processed foods

* Losing weight

* Quitting smoking

With a combination of the above methods, it is possible to keep hypertension under control. It is important however to be guided by a medical professional when dealing with the condition. Whether using a natural approach, or a combination of methods, it's important to periodically check your readings.

This is necessary to help you know if the chosen treatment is working. In some cases, when treating high blood pressure, doctors may need to reduce the dosage or change medication based on results. Even with natural treatments, periodically checking blood pressure levels is important.