Hypertension or high blood pressure also known as a silent killer is a widely prevalent chronic hea’th condition. Hypertension alone or sometimes associated with other medical correlations including obesity. diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels is responsible for a large number of complications plus cardiac events (heart attacks), kidney failure and strokes. The major target organs which get damaged due to long standing uncontrolled hypertension is the heart, kidneys. eyes, brain and the vascular system.
Symptoms of hypertension includes the onset of a headache, a feeling of dizziness or mild unsteadiness while walking, neck pain etc. A large majority of hypertensive patients remain asymptomatic. So, unfortunately, by the time the hypertension or the associated complications are diagnosed, the damage is already done and it may be difficult to reverse the involvement of the affected organs.
Blood pressure is known to gradually increase with age. However, we are now seeing people in their twenties and thirties with high BP rather than presenting symptoms dunng their forties and fifties which was the picture about one or two decades ago. This shows that there has been definite changes in our way of life over the past 20-40 years which is responsible for the increased prevalence of hypertension.
High blood pressure generally correlates to a BP of more than 140 mm Hg systolic with a BP of more than 90 mm Hg diastolic. The category of people with BP recording between 120-1 40 mm Hg systolic and 80-90 mm Hg diastolic are classified under pre hypertension.
There is substantial evidence for a significant role of prevention strategies to postpone or delay hypertension and thus, its subsequent complications especially in people with pre hypertension. These interventions are also a part of the lifestyle modifications for all hypertensive patients too, alongside medical therapy. The lifestyle changes can contribute to a significant improvement in overall health as well.
The major target organs which get damaged due to long standing uncontrolled hypertension is the heart, kidneys, eyes, brain and the vascular system
Recommended Lifestyle Changes
Eat a healthy balanced diet. Consuming adequate quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high fibre, lean proteins, eating less of high trans fats and saturated fats and also dense carbohydrates are measures to improve diet as a whole. The DASH diet (dietary approach to stop hypertension) benefits indudes all of the above and also focuses on increasing consumption of low fat dairy products and salt restriction. Limit salt intake to less than two grams per day. Avoid processed foods because they are generally high in salt. Avoid adding extra salt at the table and also limit the use of sauces for seasoning.
Moderate intensity physical activity of at least 30 minutes duration for at least five to six days in a week is very beneficial. Any physical activity will help – brisk walking, swimming, jogging, and running on a treadmill, playing football, tennis or badminton. All these activities are good for the heart. Exercise with a small group as the social interaction acts as a great motivator. Exercise has a tremendous direct benefit on the blood pressure and also helps in weight reduction. Obesity, especially abdominal fat, is of primary importance in the development of metabolic syndrome. Maintaining close to ideal body weight has proven benefits. Weight reduction and the larger problem of subsequent weight maintenance are always difficult later on.
When you kick the habit of smoking, blood pressure is reduced and this prevents its complications. Getting rid of this habit ¡s made dear to all patients and periodic counselling definitely motivates them.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol and any other form of stimulants play a major role in development of high BP and avoidance of these stimulants is recommended.
Try to reduce stress in everyday life, both at home and at work. Follow these beautiful lines, Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.’ Live for yourself, also live for others. Yoga, meditation, simple exercises and brain games for your mind, taking up a hobby and spending quality time with family are known stress busters. Changes in your regular day-to-day life are very essential for both physical and mental wellbeing.
The above mentioned recommendations are proven, effective ways to a healthier lifestyle and will definitely play a role in preventing and reducing high blood pressure.