Hypertension: Future Paths?

In today’s hectic world, fraught with complexities and complications, high levels of stress and anxiety have become very commonplace. A medical condition associated with this is hypertension, or what we commonly call high blood pressure. Because of this condition, the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. This condition is most commonly observed in individuals above the age of 50. This is a major causal symptom for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, vision loss and chronic kidney failure. There are two types of hypertension, the primary high blood pressure, that is caused by lifestyle choices like drinking, excessive weight and so on, or secondary blood pressure, that is caused by an identifiable bodily cause.

How does one identify the initial stages of hypertension? This condition is usually characterized by frequent headaches, lightheadedness, altered vision, anxiety attacks and so on. Hypertension can effectively be prevented as well with a few simple pointers like maintaining a healthy BMI Index and body weight, engaging in regular and brisk physical activity, consuming a balanced diet, limiting alcohol intake, and a few other such elements.

However, once diagnosed, how can one tackle hypertension and keep it in check? Management of hypertension is a multi-fold process that requires adequate exercise, a nutritious diet, and medical care.

As far as exercise is concerned, those suffering from hypertension must undertake regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — which can lower blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury. It's important to be consistent with respect with this exercise regimen, because if this exercise is stopped, blood pressure can rise again. If suffering from slightly high blood pressure (prehypertension), exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. And, if already suffering from hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. However, those activities that are very strenuous are to be avoided, since they can be detrimental.

Dietary care is also very important for hypertension. Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

It isn't easy to change eating habits, but with these tips, anyone can adopt a healthy diet:

  • Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.

  • Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements.

  • Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you're dining out, too.

Also to be remembered importantly is to reduce the sodium intake in food. Those suffering from hypertension should take care to consume less than 2300 mgs of sodium. This helps to keep the high blood pressure in check.

Apart from these, certain general steps like limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking, cutting back on caffeine, monitoring blood pressure regularly through the course of visits to the doctor and so on can definitely help one in effectively managing hypertension and ensuring its control.

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