High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most common disease today. Nowadays every third person is suffering from high blood pressure.
WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION)?
When your blood pressure reaches an unhealthy level, it causes high blood pressure or hypertension. Our heart is a kind of muscle that pumps blood around the body and sends it throughout the body. Our heart pumps oxygen rich blood around our body to supply our muscles and cells, which is the main cause of blood pressure.
When you check your blood pressure level, it takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and what is the blood resistance amount, when the heart is pumped. Actually, blood pressure is measured in terms of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure — refers to pressure in the arteries above; and
Diastolic blood pressure — indicates pressure in the arteries below.
A healthy person’s systolic blood pressure is in between 90 to 120 millimeters. Whereas, the diastolic blood pressure is between 60 to 80 mm. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that nearly two-thirds of people over 65 years of age in U.S. have high blood pressure. If high blood pressure is not treated on time, it can cause many health problems including heart failure, visual impairment, stroke or kidney disease.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
There are mainly two types of high blood pressure, including —
A. Essential High Blood Pressure:
It is also called primary hypertension. This type of blood pressure doesn’t develop over time and there is no concrete reason for it. This type of hypertension is found in most people.
B. Secondary High Blood Pressure:
Secondary hypertension may be more severe than primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension may occur due to several reasons, such as congenital heart defect, thyroid problem, kidney disease, side effects of drugs, use of illicit drugs, excessive alcohol consumption etc.
WHAT CAUSES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
These may be the following reasons for high blood pressure —
1. Growing Age:
The problem of high blood pressure increases with age. The higher your age, the higher the blood pressure risk.
Over-weight and obese people are more likely to develop high blood pressure than normal weight people. Lose weight to avoid hypertension as obesity increases the risk of hypertension twice.
3. Family History:
If a close member of your family has high blood pressure, your chances of getting blood pressure are increased further.
4. Mental Stress:
Mental stress can have a serious effect on your blood pressure. People, who have been under mental stress for a long time have a higher risk of high blood pressure.
People with diabetes carry a higher risk of hypertension. In people with type-1 diabetes, high blood sugar is responsible for high blood pressure. On the other hand, people with type-2 diabetes are at risk of high blood sugar as well as other factors, such as high blood pressure due to certain medications, overweight, obesity and some cardiovascular diseases.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of high blood pressure than women of the same age, who are not pregnant. This is the most common problem during pregnancy.
7. Lack of Physical Activity:
High blood pressure risk increases, if you don’t exercise. So, if you want to reduce the high blood pressure risk, then get into the habit of regular exercise or physical activity. Regular exercise relieves the problem of hypertension. Exercise relieves our mental stress. Walking or aerobics are good exercises.
A person, who smokes has a higher risk of high blood pressure than a non-smoker. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood. Due to which the heart has to be pumped quickly and the blood pressure increases. Smoking also damages our blood vessels.
Quitting smoking can help with the problem of hypertension.
9. Alcohol Consumption:
According to researchers, systolic blood pressure is higher in regular drinkers than those of non-drinkers.
10. Excess Salt Intake:
Research has found that people who eat more salt, their chances of high blood pressure are equally increased. Instead blood pressure is lower for those, who eat less salt.
11. High Fat Food Intake:
A diet high in fat increases the risk of high blood pressure. The problem is not how much fat is eaten, but rather what type of fat should be eaten. Fats from plants such as avocados, olive oil and omega oil are good for you and your body. At the same time, trans-fats are bad for your health along with the food you get from animals.
12. Gender Factors:
In general, high blood pressure is more common in adult men than in adult women. However, after the age of 60 it occurs equally in both men and women.
CAUTION WHILE MEASURING BLOOD PRESSURE:
Let rest for five minutes before measuring blood pressure. If you have smoked or taken caffeine-containing liquids half an hour before blood pressure, your reading may be incorrect. For the right check of blood pressure, request a doctor to measure blood pressure two or three times. Then see their average.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
High blood pressure or hypertension causes severe damage to the heart, brain or kidney. It is a silent killer for patients with coronary artery disease. Hypertension damages the layers of coronary artery, which causes blockage in the artery. When the blood pressure is high, the blood rapidly hits the side layers of the arteries, which also causes damage to the layers of the arteries. They get damaged. This damage in the arteries causes obstruction.
Heart muscle weakness also occurs after hypertension for a long time. Chances of heart failure may increase.
WHAT ARE THE FOODS TO REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE?
If you are a patient of high blood pressure or hypertension and want to reduce the risk of it, in addition to medical advice, adopting a right diet will also be very important and beneficial.
1. Fruits and Vegetables:
You must include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Add at least 2 to 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables in the diet per day. In addition to leafy vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, eat potassium-rich foods such as watermelon, oranges, bananas, potatoes, etc. Potassium is very helpful in maintaining blood pressure.
2. Dairy Products:
Having high blood pressure doesn’t mean that you stay away from your favorite dairy product. Rather, you should immediately switch to fat free or low fat products. Include milk, yogurt, household cheese and other low-fat ingredients in the diet and stay healthy.
3. Protein Rich Foods:
You should take plenty of protein throughout the day. Adopt protein rich foods. Add soybeans, chia seeds, flax seeds in your daily routine. As a better protein source, you can also include eggs and fish in your daily diet.
4. Whole Grains:
Eating whole grains instead of processed food will be beneficial for you. Oats, cereals, whole grain bread, pasta can be chosen. But when purchasing, check the nutrition label and sodium content.
5. Nuts, Seeds and Legumes:
Eating beans, nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, and other similar foods will also be beneficial for heart health and control blood pressure. You should include them in the diet at least 4 to 6 times a week.
6. Limit Alcohol and sugar:
If you consume alcohol, then you have to limit it, as well as reduce sugar intake. Both of these can increase your blood pressure.
There should also be distance from things containing saturated fat, carbonate and trans fat. All these can increase your problem as well as damage the heart cells.
7. Sodium Levels:
High blood pressure patients should reduce sodium intake through their diet. Sodium is not only found in salt, but is also present in processed food. Check well before purchasing such items from the market. Consume less of chips, frozen sea food, mustard, ketchup and pickle. Even a small amount of these items can increase the level of sodium in your body by 1000 mg.
Hypertension can be caused by anxiety, anger, mental disorders, irregular eating, lifestyle changes, excessive consumption of cigarettes and alcohol. Hypertension due to kidney disorder has also been seen. Obesity, stress and excessive intake of salt can cause hypertension. In addition, genetic problems also lead to hypertension. High blood pressure or hypertension can be brought to normal level with the help of some positive changes in your lifestyle (as discussed above).