May 17, 2021 1:20:54 pm
In our quest to lead a healthy life, especially now in the pandemic, we consciously try to read up on ways in which we can support our body and understand it better. On World Hypertension Day today, we need to understand this condition, which can cause a range of other health problems such as stroke, vision loss, dementia, heart attacks and chronic kidney disease.
According to Dr Samanjoy Mukherjee, consultant, senior interventional cardiologist, cardiac science at HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, New Delhi, another name for hypertension is high blood pressure. “A lot of people who suffer from hypertension are not aware they have it, as there can be no symptoms. Often, people only find out after suffering a heart attack or stroke,” he tells indianexpress.com.
* Age: With age, the risk of hypertension increases. Older people are more prone to high blood pressure. Until about the age of 64 years, high blood pressure is more common in men, but women are more likely to develop it post 65.
* Salt intake: Extra salt and inadequate potassium in the diet cause more fluid to be retained in the body, directly increasing blood pressure.
* Obesity and overweight: With increasing weight, more blood is needed to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, which somehow leads to an increase in the risk of high blood pressure.
* Poor dietary habits: Decrease the intake of salt. It is advisable to eat green leafy vegetables and fruits.
* Alcohol consumption and tobacco use: Smoking or chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol immediately raises the blood pressure temporarily. Chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of artery walls, causing them to narrow and increase the risk of heart disease.
* Stress and anxiety: Due to busy life, people are not getting time for themselves and are suffering from stress and tension which further leads to hypertension problems.
* Genetics: A family history of hypertension.
High blood pressure has no symptoms until other organs are seriously affected. You can, however, watch out for:
– Severe headache
– Blurred vision
– Nose bleeding
The best treatment is to make healthy changes to your lifestyle. One needs to take a step-wise approach beginning with diet, weight loss, and lifestyle changes along with medications as required, the doctor advises.
If you occasionally feel you have elevated blood pressure, your doctor may suggest a few medicines that will bring down the blood pressure to normal.
Healthy foods to include in the diet
1. Banana: Easy-peel fruits aren’t just sweet and low in sodium, they are also rich in potassium which helps lower blood pressure. To incorporate more bananas into your diet, add them to your cereal, cake, bread, smoothies and milkshake.
2. Spinach: This green leafy delight is low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients like potassium, folate, magnesium — key ingredients for lowering and maintaining blood pressure levels.
3. Celery: Medicine practitioners have used celery for reducing high blood pressure for ages. Eating as few as four celery stalks a day can reduce high blood pressure. It contains phytochemicals known as phthalides that relax the muscle tissue in the artery walls, enabling increased blood flow and, in turn, lowering blood pressure.
4. Avocados: The oleic acid found in avocados can reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Avocados also contain potassium and folate, which are essential for heart health. They are rich in vitamins A, K, B & E and are loaded with fiber.
5. Beetroot: This veggie is rich in nitrates, which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow. Drinking a glass of beet juice can yield a five-point drop in blood pressure.
“Most people avoid consulting a doctor due to the commonality of the symptoms experienced in heart diseases. It is important to seek medical help if experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, pain in the neck, rapid or irregular heartbeat,” Dr Mukherjee advises.
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