How to manage your blood pressure!
We have all heard about blood pressure and are always warned about keeping a check over it. So let’s first understand what is blood pressure exactly?
Imagine gushing water flowing through a pipe…what if there is a leakage, the water flows out just like you see in sprinklers. Why does it happen? Water exerts a force over the wall of the pipe. Simple, isn’t it? That’s exactly what blood pressure is, the pressure exerted by blood on the walls of blood vessels through which it passes. This is usually expressed in terms of the systolic and diastolic pressure as per contraction and relaxation of the vessels.Normal resting systolic / diastolic blood pressure in an adult is approximately 120 mmHg/80 mmHg.
So, why worry about your blood pressure? Because, high blood pressure is a silent enemy staying in there, at times without symptoms and popping out as a huge danger. High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Rare symptoms include dizzy spells, dull headaches and frequent nosebleeds.
So what’s the solution? AWARENESS! Read on to enlighten yourself on everything you need to know about managing your blood pressure.
There may be no specific cause for high blood pressure, but several factors and conditions may play a role in its development -
- • Smoking
- • Obesity
- • Lack of physical activity
- • Excessive Salt intake
- • Less intake of Fruit and Vegetables
- • Too much alcohol consumption
- • Stress
- • Old age
- • Genetics
- • Family history of high blood pressure
- • Chronic kidney disease
- • Adrenal and thyroid disorders
- • Sleep apnea
Incorporating simple lifestyle changes can help to lower blood pressure and the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Watch your weight and waist –
Weight and blood pressure go hand in hand. It is often seen that there is an increase in blood pressure with an increase in weight. Increased weight may lead to sleep apnea, which further causes a sudden drop in oxygen levels shooting the BP high.Weight management is thus the most effective way to stay healthy with a healthy BP. Shedding a few kilos can help reduce blood pressure significantly.
Many studies have also shown that excess weight around the waist has been found to be associated with hypertension and is a risk factor because it tends to surround various organs in the abdomen.
Get Moving –
Studies have shown that regular physical activity - at least 30 minutes daily can lower the blood pressure but it's important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, the blood pressure can rise again. Gradually increase the pace and frequency of physical activity.
The best exercises for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing and strength training.
Choose the Right Foods -
Follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet–
- • Incorporate more amounts of fruits and vegetables as they are good sources of potassium which reduces the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
- • Incorporate whole grains as they are naturally low in fat and high in fibre.
- • Incorporate low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish and nuts
- • Reduce or eliminate foods that are high in saturated fats, processed foods, full-fat dairy products, and fatty red meat.
- • Reduce or eliminate desserts and sweetened and carbonated beverages
- • Maintain a food diary and monitor what you eat.
Reduce Table Salt–
Even a small reduction of table-salt in the diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.
Tips to reduce salt (sodium) intake-
Read food labels to check for low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages
Avoid processed foods as they usually have a high amount of Sodium.
Use herbs or spices to add flavour in food.
Substitute salt with lime juice, vinegar or tamarind.
Consuming high amounts of alcohol results in a spike in blood pressure and can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications and supplements.
Kick the Butt!Quit it!
Smoking results in an increase in blood pressure and remains high for several minutes after you finish as the intoxicants inhaled lingers in the blood system for a longer time. That saying goes well here ‘You burn a cigarette from one side, it slowly burns you from the other!’
Happy you is a healthy you!
In today’s fast-paced world, it is difficult to slow down and relax which causes day-to-day stress. Stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure as stress usually leads to unhealthy food intake, drinking alcohol or smoking.
Take some time out to think about reasons that stresses you and consider how you can eliminate or reduce that factor and find ways to fix the problem.
Indulge in activities which make you happy.
Keep a check!
Monitoring blood pressure levels regularly can help you keep a tab on the health condition. Blood pressure monitoring apparatus is available widely. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring and get started. Visit your doctor regularly. Also, ensuring timely intake of medications and supplements is essential for blood pressure management.
Remember that, blood pressure is a life-style condition which has to be managed with a proper diet and lifestyle changes. It is essential to monitor it regularly.