High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the fastest growing health problems in the world. It increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. You may not show any symptoms of high blood pressure. That’s why it is given the name “silent killer”. According to WHO, hypertension is one of the prevalent cause of premature deaths in the world.
This disease is not limited to adults only as children can also be suffering from high blood pressure.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure (BP) is the force with which the blood hits the artery walls when the heart circulates blood through the body. BP keeps on fluctuating throughout the day but if it stays elevated for a long time then it can cause problems. Blood pressure is recorded in mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). On an average people who have a healthy blood pressure usually have less than 120/80 mm Hg. The top number (systolic) shows the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats. The lower number (diastolic) indicates the pressure as the heart rests between the beats.
A consistent low BP state is called hypotension. In this state blood pressure is lower than 90/60 mm Hg. Pressure that is consistently elevated, exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg is hypertension or high BP.
Both have many causes and may last for longer duration. Long-term hypertension poses a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Long-term hypertension is more common in comparison to long term hypotension and often goes undetected because of infrequent monitoring and the absence of symptoms.
- Severe headache or migraine
- Fatigue or confusion
- Chest pain
- Vision problems
- Blood in the urine
- Severe anxiety
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
It is estimated that currently 20-40% Indians in urban areas and 12-17% in rural areas suffer from BP. The percentage of high blood pressure patients in India are expected to go up to 22.9 for men and 23.6 for women by 2025.
Various factors put Indian patients at a risk of hypertension. These factors include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Chewing tobacco
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lower consumption of vegetables and fruits
- High consumption of dietary fat
- Usage of higher amount of salt in food
The blood pressure can be dangerously high or low. It is important to maintain normal blood pressure to lead a healthy life. It acts as a force that enables our blood to flow around the circulatory system, thus, allowing the essential nutrients and oxygen to get delivered through our arteries to the tissues and organs.
To reduce the risk of BP, it is advisable to exercise regularly. People who exercise daily have a lower risk of suffering from BP than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Other tips to lower the risk of BP are:
- Follow an active lifestyle
- Monitor your blood pressure weekly
- Prefer less salt in your food
- Have more fruits and vegetables
- Increase your daily water intake
- Follow a healthy diet like dash diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
If you control your BP then many complications that arise because of high blood pressure like heart failure, chronic kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, and possible vascular dementia can be delayed or even prevented.
Follow these diet tips and take a step towards healthy life.