Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but can cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. High BP can lead to heart disease and stroke — leading causes of death in India. The fact is that in 90% patients there is no known cause for hypertension and this makes it even more important to be alert.
High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. One in three Indian adults has high blood pressure. Anyone, including children, can develop it.
As acute stress, intense exercise and other factors can briefly elevate blood pressure even in people whose blood pressure is normal, a diagnosis of hypertension requires several readings showing high blood pressure over time.
Blood pressure does vary throughout the day, lowering during sleep and rising on awakening. It also rises in response to excitement, anxiety and physical activity.
The disease burden of high blood pressure is a growing problem worldwide, in part because of a rapidly ageing population. Other key contributors include lifestyle factors, such as:
· Physical inactivity
· A salt-rich diet associated with processed and fatty foods
· Alcohol and tobacco use.
High blood pressure itself is usually asymptomatic, meaning that patients do not experience any direct symptoms of the condition. This is why hypertension is often referred to as "the silent killer," as it can quietly cause damage to the cardiovascular system.
Lifestyle changes are important for both treatment and prevention of high blood pressure, and they can be as effective as a drug treatment. These lifestyle changes can also have wider benefits for heart health and overall health.
The lifestyle measures shown to reduce blood pressure and recommended by experts include:
· Salt restriction
· Moderation of alcohol consumption
· High consumption of vegetables and fruits and low-fat
· Reducing weight and maintaining it
· Regular physical exercise
· Stress reduction
Smoking can also raise blood pressure, and because of its wider effects on heart health and the rest of the body, giving up smoking is highly recommended for people with high blood pressure.
The DASH diet
Standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, DASH has been specially formulated to help people lower blood pressure. It is a flexible and balanced eating plan based on research studies which says the diet:
Lowers high blood pressure
Improves levels of blood lipids (fats in the bloodstream)
Reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
As a rule of thumb, you should always see your doctor if you suspect something isn’t right. You can get in touch with our Cardiology department at 04682314000 or find us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/muthoothealthcare.