Hypertension or high blood pressure is a chronic medical condition caused due to the elevated stress and strain associated with modern day lifestyle.
Due to the elevated blood pressure in the arteries the heart requires to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels leading to many other cardiovascular complications.
Since, hypertension is a chronic condition, which exhibits little or no symptoms until too late, simple lifestyle changes can actually make a lot of difference. Read on to know what all it takes to have a normal blood pressure.
Watch your waistline
Obesity is the biggest risk factor of hypertension. The larger your waist size the greater is the chance of having high blood pressure and developing heart and hypertension related other complications. Losing a few kilograms can help people with mild hypertension go off the medication.
For Asian men and women a waistline measuring over 36 inches and 32 inches respectively can actually be an indicator of heightened hypertension risk.
So, thinking of working it all out on the weekend as the hectic week long work schedule leaves you with no time to exercise. Caution! Instead of having a positive effect on the body such a practice could actually backfire.
This is just like being hungry the whole day and stuffing yourself up with whatever comes your way during that one meal, which the stomach finds difficult to digest and rejects instantly.
Before starting with any kind of exercise consult your doctor. Usually doctors recommend a 30 minute of work out, however this can vary if you are suffering from other ailments. High-intensity workouts could actually be risky for hypertension patients. Try low-intensity exercises. Even an early morning walk or doing a bit of household chores can be beneficial. Exercise need not always mean spending time in the gym; it is all about being physically active.
The first thing that comes into one’s mind when diagnosed with hypertension is `my food would taste bland without salt`. True, sodium is a big no, no for high BP patients. But then it`s not important to go without salt from day one.
To start with limit your sodium intake. Decreasing the amount of salt you take over a period of time so that the taste palates have enough time to adjust to your new food habits. If asked to avoid salt completely go for herbs and spices to add flavor to your food. Go for home cooked food and keep processed food at bay as the packed food have greater amount of sodium content.
The recommended amount of sodium is 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon) a day or less. For people above 50 the recommended amount is 1,500 mg a day or less.
Other than restricting sodium, go for a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Reduce saturated fat to no more than 6% of daily calorie, carbohydrates to 55% and dietary cholesterol to 150 mg. Increase the amount of fiber intake.
Also consider boosting potassium, as the mineral can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. However, check with your doctor before going in for a potassium rich diet as it would not be a good option for people with kidney problems. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements.
Quit smoking, limit alcohol
Most people smoke and drink in an effort to ward off the day long stress, though the effect it temporary, what they actually neglect is the fact that most tobacco products tends to increase the blood pressure potentially causing more harm.
Binge drinking i.e. taking over three to four glasses of alcohol could shoot up the blood pressure drastically. Smoking can raise your BP by 10 mm Hg or more for up to an hour after you smoke and if you are a chain smoker your blood pressure may remain constantly high. Even secondhand smoke can put one at risk of hypertension.
Reduce stress and get a good night`s sleep
Stress is yet again a major trigger of BP. Try and work out on the factors causing stress. Seek professional help if needed. Practicing yoga or other relaxation techniques can help in dealing with stress.
People suffering from sleep disorder are also at risk of hypertension as sleeplessness triggers stress hormones, which in turn activates the sympathetic nervous system leading to increased blood pressure. A good night`s sleep helps calm the body and mind thus reducing stress.
Monitor BP regularly
Hypertension which off late has been dubbed as a silent killer by medical practitioners for showing no symptoms until too late or with other medical conditions, getting a regular medical checkup is necessary. The only way to know that you have high blood pressure is by getting it measured by a professional, as people usually don`t feel ill.
Depending on your condition a monthly to once in three months review may be required. Having a BP monitoring instrument at home and regularly self-monitoring the condition can help you keep the blood pressure stable. !