Understanding High blood Pressure January 14th, 2021
Understanding High Blood Pressure
Globally, there are around 1.13 billion people around the world who suffer from high blood pressure as per the World Health Organization estimates. In India, around 207 million people suffer from this condition based on the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4). Another nationwide survey called the Great India Blood Pressure Survey revealed that one in every three Indian adults suffer from this condition.
High blood pressure is one of the most common, but potentially a life-threatening medical condition if it gets serious or remains untreatable. It is also known as hypertension in medical terminology. It is often called a silent killer as there are visible symptoms to alert you.
Understanding the Term High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is defined as the measure of the force of blood moving through your circulatory system. It has two readings – the top number called systolic pressure and the bottom number called diastolic pressure. It is written like this:120/80. If any or both of these numbers are high, then it is termed as high blood pressure.
Causes and Risks of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can result from many factors such as family history/genetics, obesity, smoking, consumption of excess salt or alcohol, lack of exercise, stress, old age and unhealthy dietary practices. Pre-existing medical conditions, surgery and recovery from anaesthesia can also increase blood pressure.
If high blood pressure remains undiagnosed or uncontrolled, it could adversely impact your health in several ways. You become vulnerable to risks such as heart diseases, heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, vision problems, depression and sexual dysfunction.
Managing High Blood Pressure
The good news is that high blood pressure is easily manageable by incorporating the following positive changes in your lifestyle:
- Eat Healthy Food
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes – try to include these foods in large portions on your plate. Avoid junk and processed foods as much as possible as they are loaded with sugar and saturated fats.
- Reduce the Intake of Salt
WHO states that salt intake of less than 5 grams (less than a teaspoon) a day can be instrumental in reducing blood pressure. Also, make sure that you consume only iodized (fortified with iron) salt to regulate your thyroid hormones which can be further helpful in controlling blood pressure.
- Exercise Regularly
High blood pressure can be easily brought under control by staying active and maintaining healthy body weight. You can include exercises such as walking, swimming, jogging, cycling or any other activity that you enjoy or as your medical condition allows.
- Quit Smoking
The chemical in cigarettes can seriously damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure. It is a red flag for your blood pressure and overall health, so quit it.
- Cut Back on Alcohol and Caffeine
Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine as these both are also known to elevate blood pressure.
Blood pressure should be a part of your routine medical check-up even if you don’t feel any unusual symptom. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe you medicines and advise you on making healthy lifestyle changes.