Hypertension: demystifying the silent killer

Hypertension is simply the term medical practitioners use for high blood pressure. This is a medical condition that can impact quality of life. Typically, a person is said to suffer from hypertension if their resting blood pressure is above 120/80 mm Hg.

High Blood Pressure is a silent killer. It shows no warning signs or any symptoms. Overtime if it is untreated, it can cause health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.

A blood pressure below 120 over 80 [120/80] is the ideal blood pressure for you wishing to have good health. At this level, we have a much lower risk of heart disease or stroke.”

Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of life-threatening conditions, including kidney disease, vascular dementia and heart failure.

Cause(s)

The toll that our hectic & demanding lifestyle that we endure, takes on us, often leads to hypertension. In fact, it is one of the leading diseases globally in the past few years. The time, effort and money we will invest in treating this condition, doesn’t exactly support the cause.

A lot of factors affect blood pressure. These factors are the amount of water and salt in the body, conditions of the kidneys, nervous system, blood vessels, acute stress, intense exercise, and levels of body hormones.

Hypertension occurs only when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Your blood pressure measurement takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping.

If thе force оf уоur blood pushing аgаinѕt thе walls оf уоur blood vessels iѕ consistently tоо high, high blood pressure develops. This deadly condition, puts extra stress on your blood vessels and vital organs.

The excessive pressure on your artery walls caused by high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, as well as organs in your body. The higher your blood pressure and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage.

Categories

1) Mild hypertension  (140/90mm Hg)

2) Moderate hypertension (>140/90 mm Hg)

3) Severe hypertension ( >180/120 mm Hg)

Symptoms

High blood pressure is not usually something that you can feel or notice, and it can go undiagnosed because there are usually no symptoms. The Symptoms are only noticeable if your condition is severe

The following might signal its presence.

  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Ear noise or buzzing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nosebleed
  • Tiredness
  • Vision changes
  • Severe headaches
  • Blood in urine

Remedy/ Treatment

Lifestyle choices help in treating and preventing of high blood pressure. There are several ways in which hypertension can be controlled, without the help of medication.

A few of this are:

  1. Exercise regularly and move your body – The overall effects of exercise in regulating blood pressure are immense. Just 20-30 minutes of daily physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, in a few days.

However, if you have had a sedentary lifestyle for an extended period of time, do consult your healthcare practitioner before you start a workout routine.

  1. Follow the DASH diet – Have you heard of the DASH diet? The ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’ is a specially curated diet for those suffering from the condition of hypertension. It is relatively easy to follow and does not disrupt your routine. The diet has been known to reduce blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg systolic. Here are a few ways by which you can start with DASH diet:
    • Get rid of foods with high fat content, processed edibles, full fat dairy products and red meats.
    • Take a lot of fruits, veggies and whole grains. These can be taken either in solid or liquid forms
    • Consume more lean meats like chicken, fish & nuts.
  2. Reduce your salt intake – the consumption of salt plays a vital role in the capacity of the body when it comes to maintaining a healthy blood pressure. A high sodium level means more water retention, leading to increased blood pressure. Beware, that besides what we add to our food, processed foods contain a high amount of salt, we need to be avoid completely.

Use alternative ingredients to flavour your food such as herbs and spices, instead of salt.

  1. Lose the extra baggage – your body weight is always a critical factor when it comes to any sort of health issue. Experts say that the waistline of a person should not exceed 40 inches for a man & 35 inches for a woman, in order to avoid & control health issues such as high blood pressure.

If you suffer from such conditions and are overweight, losing just 4.5 kilograms is known to have a significantly positive effect on health.

  1. Say no to cigarettes and nicotine – Every cigarette that you smoke increases your blood pressure, which lasts for several minutes as an aftermath.

So you can only imagine the stress that the body has to go through. If one is a chain smoker, the blood pressure remains increased all the time, making it almost permanent. Smokers tend to be at the mercy of additional risks such as strokes and heart disease.

  1. Stay calm – Include calming techniques such as yoga and meditation, into your routine. This helps control stress levels, which in turn plays a huge role in regulating healthy blood pressure in patients.
  2. Moderating alcohol consumption
  3. Take more fruit and vegetables, less fat
  4. Reducing and maintaining weight
  5. Stress reduction

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