Watch out for these lesser-known high BP dangers

Having high blood pressure is a risky business. It has a devastating effect on your heart, causing heart attacks, heart disease, congestive heart failure and atherosclerosis. But did you know it’s equally as devastating to your brain and your kidneys?

When you have high blood pressure, it weakens and narrows the blood vessels in your brain and prevents proper blood flow. That’s why it’s linked to dementia. In some cases, it may even cause blood vessels to rupture or leak, which is why it’s also linked to an increased stroke risk.

In fact, a recent statement published by the American Heart Association in its journal Hypertension suggested that the link between high blood pressure and brain disease is more serious than we all thought…

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Hypertension connected to several brain diseases

The American Heart Association reviewed several studies and confirmed that, yes indeed, high blood pressure is connected to several brain diseases, including stroke, vascular cognitive impairment (changes in brain function caused by a lack of blood flow) and Alzheimer’s disease. And the risk of eventual brain disease is especially high if you have high blood pressure when you’re middle aged.

Now, eventual brain damage should be enough motivation for you to get your BP down. But if it’s not, you should also know that high blood pressure can take a serious toll on your kidneys too.

High blood pressure causes kidney failure

In fact, high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney failure. That’s because it can lead to kidney scarring that damages your kidneys so bad, they’re eventually unable to filter your body’s wastes, resulting in kidney disease. High blood pressure can also lead to a life-threatening kidney aneurysm, which can rupture and cause you to bleed out.

No wonder high blood pressure is called the silent killer. It can permanently damage not one, not two, but three of your vital organs.

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Simple ways to control you BP

The good news is, you can prevent these serious brain and kidney complications by lowering your blood pressure… and the sooner you do it, the better. Here are a few simple but effective tricks you can try to get your BP to behave:

  • Eat celery. Celery is the single best food for lowering your blood pressure. That’s because it contains known blood-pressure regulators like fiber, magnesium and potassium. It also contains phytochemicals that relax your blood vessel walls and allow blood to flow more freely.
  • Spend more time in nature. Did you know that the simple act of spending a few minutes a day at a park could lower your blood pressure? It sound strange, but it’s true. That’s because you’re more relaxed in nature. So really, anything that relaxes you (meditation, yoga, etc.) could help you in your quest for better blood pressure.
  • Cut back on potatoes. A 20-year study published in the British Medical Journal found that people who ate four or more servings of potatoes per week were more likely to have high blood pressure than those who ate one or less servings per month.
  • Cook with coconut oil. A five-week study conducted by researchers in Brazil showed that adding coconut oil to your diet could lower your blood pressure. And if you combine coconut oil with exercise, researchers found you could really watch your high BP vanish into thin air.
  • Try cherry juice. A study conducted earlier this year by researchers at Northumbria University in the UK found that drinking 60 ml of Montmorency cherry juice combined with water can lower your blood pressure by seven percent— just as much as prescription drugs do.
  • Exercise your heart out. Of course, exercise is the best way to lower your blood pressure naturally. Try getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. If you do, you’ll experience astonishing blood pressure benefits.

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  1. “High blood pressure (hypertension).” The Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  2. “High blood pressure and brain health are linked.” MedicalXpress. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  3. F. Shanahan, et al. “Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose.” Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 28551.
  4. Borgi, E.B. Rimm, W.C. Willett, J.P Forman. “Potato intake and incidence of hypertension: results from three prospective US cohort studies.” BMJ, 2016.
  5. “High blood pressure lowers significantly after drinking tart Montmorency cherry juice.” Northumbria University-Newcastle. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and