High blood pressure is termed as hypertension. It indicates a high flow of blood into our vessels. This increased pressure for a prolonged duration is associated with several disorders related to the heart, eyes, brain and kidneys. Some of the most common symptoms of hypertension is a headache, dizziness, chest pain, nose bleeding, shortness of breath and visual changes. These symptoms may be related to any disorder, therefore it is better to regularly get yourself monitored.
Hypertension is categorised under two types - Primary and Secondary Hypertension. Primary hypertension is often referred to as essential hypertension. This type might occur due to genetic effect, lifestyle, environmental changes and physical changes within our body. Secondary hypertension may occur due to kidney disorders, alcohol abuse, cancer, thyroid malfunctioning and congenital heart issues.
A blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg indicates a healthy level. If the levels are high, then lifestyle and dietary modifications are recommended. In the case of higher levels, medications may also be required at times.
Let’s discuss some of the tips by which hypertension can be easily prevented and managed.
- Dietary Habits - Diet plays a very crucial role in the prevention and management of any health disease or illness. Similarly, it is easy to reduce the risk of developing hypertension by keeping a check on our food choices. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, and whole pulses should form a major chunk of our diet. Avoid consumption of sugary, refined or maida based foods, processed, packaged and ready-to-eat foods. People should also avoid excess salt consumption and it is better to keep a check on overall sodium intake per day. Most people prefer consuming foods which are specifically good for lowering high blood pressure like berries, beetroot, oatmeal, dark green leafy vegetables, low-fat yoghurt, banana, coconut water, olives, pomegranate, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
- Physical Activity - Sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity is associated with an increased likelihood of developing high blood pressure in the later stages. This is because an active lifestyle not only reduces our stress levels, and boosts metabolism but also keeps our blood sugar and cholesterol levels within the safe range.
- Avoid Stress - Stress is one of the major underlying causes of hypertension. High cortisol levels in our body amplify the hypertension risk. Therefore, practising meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises help reduce stress, relax the mind and calm our nerves down. This is essential to maintain healthy blood flow within the blood vessels and prevent any fluctuations.
- Avoid Tobacco And Alcohol Consumption - Smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol abuse also contribute to developing hypertension. They can raise our blood pressure by causing the hardening of the blood vessels.
To summarise, it is essential to keep a check on our blood pressure levels because of increasing ubiquity. The prevalence rate of hypertension is approx. 20-40% among urban population and 12-17% among rural. About 214 million people are expected to suffer from hypertension in India in the year 2025. High blood pressure further affects the normal functioning of our heart. Prolonged hypertension is associated with complications like damaged arteries, heart failure, heart attack, cardiomegaly, renal dysfunction and reduced supply of blood to our brain. But the good news is that hypertension is not difficult to manage and prevent.