The classic definition of blood pressure is “ the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels“. The main function of the heart is to pump blood into the arteries which carries blood to the various parts of the body.
Hence it becomes very essential to control blood pressure. Now, the question is how to control blood pressure?
What you think are the cause of change in pressure? Pressure can increase than the normal or also fall. High blood pressure is called hypertension and low blood pressure is termed as hypotension.
Both conditions are not advisable. But if we have to say which is the worst condition so in that case hypertension is more dangerous than hypotension.
When pressure is high heart has to work hard to pump out blood to the body. If this continues for long duration then it contributes to the hardening of the vessels, known as atherosclerosis’.
When we measure our blood pressure, its reading always has two numbers. Top number is systolic pressure that is when heart is contracting and diastolic pressure is when heart is relaxing. The pressures are categorized as follows:
Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above
High blood pressure in people over age 60: 150 and above over 90 and above
How is blood pressure diagnosed?
It is advisable to check your blood pressure each time you visit your physician. One reading of increased pressure will not confirm that you are hypertensive.
The best way would be to take five days consecutive readings of your pressure if readings stay at 140/90 mm Hg or above (systolic 140 or above OR diastolic 90 or above) then your physician might want to start you on drugs to control blood pressure.
If, while monitoring your blood pressure, you get a systolic reading of 180 mm Hg or higher OR a diastolic reading of 110 mm HG or higher, wait a couple of minutes and take it again.
If the reading is still at or above that level, you should seek immediate emergency medical treatment. It is advisable to do lifestyle modifications also if you have a family history of high blood pressure.
What are symptoms of high blood pressure:
Shortness of breath
Causes of high blood pressure:
Blood pressure is a non communicable disease. It is one of the outcomes of bad or poor lifestyle. There are many more reasons for getting high blood pressure.
High intake of salt
Excess of processed foods
Lack of physical activity
Genetics Or heredity
For any of the above reasons if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, do not panic.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Ways to lower your blood pressure:
Loose few extra kilos (especially from your waistline): Weight is directly proportional to increased blood pressure. There are many researched which has proved that increased weight will increase your blood pressure. It is also important to watch your waistline.
Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters).
Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters).
Eat healthy Food: Eat more of fresh fruits and vegetables at the same time also watch out the fat intake. Avoid eating processed foods which are loaded with preservatives, colouring agents and artificial flavouring substances.
Stick more to fresh home cooked food. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Eating foods which are high in potassium will help to maintain blood pressure.
Reduce Salt in the Diet: No extra topping up of salt. Keep salt intake as minimum as possible. Also eat consciously so that there is no invisible or hidden salt going in your diet. Soda-bi-carb, baking powder, Eno, Eating soda, preservatives will highly involve in fluctuating your blood pressure.
Exercise Regularly: Daily exercise for 30-45 minutes will definitely contribute to lower blood pressure. The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure.
Stay Away from Alcohol: Alcohol is one of the major factor to ause high blood pressure. It increases the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blooding ultimately raising the blood pressure. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg when had along with meals. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol or empty stomach.
Reduce Stress: Stress is harmful for overall health. Chronic stress is an important contributor for raise pressure. Acute stress or occasional stress can also contribute to high blood pressure if you react to it by eating junk and unhealthy food, Eating chocolates and sweets, drinking alcohol or smoking. Find out ways where you can reduce your stress and help your body. ( http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-relieving-stress )
Cut back on caffeine: Caffeine can raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it, but there is little to no strong effect on blood pressure in habitual coffee drinkers. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.
I would like you all to go to this website and check what are the alternatives to medicine for high blood pressure.
Preventing Occurrence of High Blood Pressure
Healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent occurrence of high blood pressure. It is important to check your blood pressure regularly. Not only for adults but also for kids. Children should have their blood pressure checked starting at 3 years of age. If prehypertension is diagnosed, then it should be taken seriously to avoid progressing to high blood pressure.
Preventing severe complications High Blood Pressure:
If you are diagnosed as a hypertensive, it is utmost important to take required regular treatment from you physician. Treatment plan would be only lifestyle changes for a prehypertension patient but for uncontrolled hypertension, your physician might start you on medicines as well as lifestyle changes. If you are pre hypertensive than you can always reverse it with changing your lifestyle to be more healthier and thereby control you high blood pressure and prevent future complications of coronary heart disease, kidney disease, stroke.
Complications of High Blood Pressure
When blood pressure stays high over time, it can damage the body and cause complications. Some common complications and their signs and symptoms include:
Aneurysms: When an abnormal bulge forms in the wall of an artery. Aneurysms develop and grow for years without causing signs or symptoms until they rupture, grow large enough to press on nearby body parts, or block blood flow. The signs and symptoms that develop depend on the location of the aneurysm.
Chronic Kidney Disease: When blood vessels narrow in the kidneys, possibly causing kidney failure.
Cognitive Changes: Research shows that over time, higher blood pressure numbers can lead to cognitive changes. Signs and symptoms include memory loss, difficulty finding words, and losing focus during conversations.
Eye Damage: When blood vessels in the eyes burst or bleed. Signs and symptoms include vision changes or blindness.
Heart Attack: When the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart doesn’t get oxygen. The most common warning symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain or discomfort, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.
Heart Failure: When the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Common signs and symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath or trouble breathing; feeling tired; and swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck.
Peripheral Artery Disease: A disease in which plaque builds up in leg arteries and affects blood flow in the legs. When people have symptoms, the most common are pain, cramping, numbness, aching, or heaviness in the legs, feet, and buttocks after walking or climbing stairs.
Stroke: When the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden onset of weakness; paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs; trouble speaking or understanding speech; and trouble seeing.
People practice yoga to lower blood pressure. you can check the following site and try few poses and asanas
These days people suffer from high blood pressure at very young age. So it has become very important for everyone to keep record of their pressure and do not neglect its symptoms. Sometimes it is just frequent headache.
Visit your physician and get your pressure checked and be assured of your good health. As we are moving towards modernization the risks for high blood pressure is just growing.
So say no to processed food and packaged foods and stick more to fresh foods and home cooked foods.
RD Neha Kava
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