World Hypertension Day 2020: Understanding Hypertension; Know Ways To Control High Blood Pressure
World Hypertension Day 2020: Most patients with hypertension have 'essential' hypertension i.e. hypertension not secondary to another disease. Essential hypertension is not curable. The complications of hypertension, in general, are preventable but not reversible.
World Hypertension Day 2020: Healthy diet and lifestyle can help control blood pressure
- High blood pressure can be controlled effectively with healthy lifestyle
- A healthy diet can help control high blood pressure
- Exercise for minimum 30 minutes for a healthy heart
Hypertension is one of the most common risk factors leading to complications like heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and kidney failure. It is estimated that 2 out of every 5 Indians has hypertension. Most patients with hypertension have 'essential' hypertension i.e. hypertension not secondary to another disease. Essential hypertension is not curable. The complications of hypertension, in general, are preventable but not reversible. Essential Hypertension persists for life and therefore, managing hypertension is a lifelong commitment.
World Hypertension Day 2020: Understanding and Living with High Blood Pressure
Having the right perspective helps one to deal with hypertension. When diagnosed with hypertension, a patient has only two choices - ignore it or control it. Ignoring it and failing to control BP will inevitably lead to irreversible complications over time. When complications such as heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, or kidney failure occur, a patient not only has to suffer the consequences which impair the quality and quantity of life, but also the social and economic costs of these problems. In addition, the patient now has to take steps to treat not only the hypertension but also the complications.
Check your Blood Pressure (BP)
Most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms. That is why hypertension is called the 'Silent Killer'. The only way to detect hypertension is to have a health professional measure your BP. It is recommended that all adults should have their BP checked at least once a year, and more frequently as one gets older.
Overall, whether you achieve and maintain good control of BP is important - how you achieve it is secondary. Adopt any and every scientifically - proven method to reach your goal.
Lifestyle changes help in every patient with hypertension. In addition, most patients will require medications to control BP.
For patients with mild hypertension, lifestyle changes are tried initially and medications are introduced if BP is not at target levels. However, for patients with higher levels of BP, lifestyle changes and medications are introduced simultaneously.
Whether or not you need medications is based on whether you are at target BP or not. Also, the types and number of medications required and their dosages are influenced by a number of factors, and are best left to your Physician.
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Simple lifestyle changes to help control BP
There are several simple and effective lifestyle changes that impact hypertension - these measures help in prevention as well as control.
Eat less salt: Limit your total salt intake (in all forms) to 1 tsp per day. Avoid processed food.
Eat more potassium: Consume a diet rich in potassium. Patients with kidney dysfunction, however, should restrict potassium intake.
Eat a healthy 'DASH' diet: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, with reduced content of saturated and total fat.
Weight loss: Aim for ideal body weight. This requires a healthy, calorie - restricted diet combined with regular physical activity. Aim for healthy waist circumference values (<94 cm in men and <80 cm in women).
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Regular aerobic exercise (e.g. minimum 30 minutes of moderate dynamic exercise on 5-7 days per week)
Change Unhealthy Habits
Limit alcohol use: Restrict alcohol consumption to <14 units per week for men and <8 units per week for women. Avoid binge drinking.
No tobacco: Complete cessation of tobacco use in any form.
Caffeine: Reduce caffeine consumption to a minimum.
Get enough sleep: Try to get 6 - 8 hours of sound sleep every night.
Manage stress: Try meditation or deep breathing sessions daily.
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(Authored by Dr Girish S Godbole, Consultant Cardiologist, Vikram Hospital, Bangalore)
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