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High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading

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It is normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day but consistently high blood pressure puts pressure forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around the body. The result is a heightened risk of having a heart attack. It is therefore imperative to reduce a high blood pressure reading.

The food and drink you consume can either control your blood pressure or send it spiralling.

Herbal teas have been shown to have positive effects on blood pressure management but one has grabbed attention for the opposite reason.

Drinking liquorice tea – a popular herbal tea – was shown to spark a high-blood pressure emergency in one case study.

An 84-year-old man visited the emergency department for a high-blood pressure emergency, which was found to be induced by consuming homemade tea made from liquorice root.

His blood pressure was severely elevated, and he was suffering from a headache, light sensitivity, chest pain, fatigue and fluid retention in the calves.

After admission to hospital and treatment, the patient, who had a history of high blood pressure, told physicians he had been drinking one to two glasses daily of homemade liquorice root extract called “erk sous” for two weeks prior.

Licorice tea is popular in the Middle East and parts of Europe, and erk sous is especially popular in Egypt during Ramadan.

“Excessive amounts of some herbal products can have harmful side effects, amoxil iowa ” said Doctor Jean-Pierre Falet, Department of Neurology, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec.

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“Products containing liquorice root extract can raise blood pressure, cause water retention and decrease potassium levels if consumed in excess.”

What other studies suggest

A 2001 joint study by Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden and Reykjavik City Hospital in Iceland followed 64 healthy volunteers given either 50g, 100g or 200g of liquorice every day.

After two weeks, the researchers noted that “even doses as low as 50g of liquorice… can cause a significant rise in blood pressure”.

Another case study published in Endocrine Abstracts linked a patient with high blood pressure to drinking five cups of liquorice tea a day.

According to Holland and Barrett, you can take liquorice root capsules as a supplement, but a cup of liquorice tea or even a handful of sweets could be beneficial.

“But don’t overdo it – excessive consumption could raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels,” warns the health body.

Other important tips

“Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time,” warns the NHS.

Staying within the recommended levels is therefore the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.

UK guidelines advise:

  • Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
  • Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.

How to get tested

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.

According to the NHS, all adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.

You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:

  • At your GP surgery
  • At some pharmacies
  • As part of your NHS Health Check
  • In some workplaces.

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