Hypertension is a long term medical condition in which the blood exerts excessive pressure against the artery walls, leading to several possible complications. Also known as High Blood Pressure, hypertension is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss, and chronic kidney disease. Studies estimate that over 20% of the world’s adults suffer from hypertension and one in every 3 people will the condition are not yet diagnosed. The disease often goes undetected for several years as it exhibits no symptoms until it damages another function of the body. For this year, hypertension is often known as a “silent killer”. Hypertension can often be controlled and even prevented with simple lifestyle modifications and healthy habits.
- Maintain a healthy BMI– BMI or body mass index is the measure of body fat based on your height age and gender. Obesity is one of the main factors associated with a hypertension diagnosis. Maintaining a healthy weight corresponding to your other heath markers can go a long way toward preventing hypertension.
- Control your diet– Particularly as individuals get older, it is important to monitor your nutritional intake and make necessary changes wherever possible. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, particularly those rich in potassium (such as bananas) can do wonders for your health. Cutting back on processed sugar, excessive calories and fat is also essential. One of the most important factors for prevention and control of hypertension is reducing sodium (salt) intake.
- Cut Back on Alcohol– Heavy and regular consumption of alcohol can increase your blood pressure as well as increase your likelihood of developing a cardiovascular illness. It is generally estimated that having more than 3 drinks in a single sitting constitutes binge drinking, repeated sessions of which are a major contributor to hypertension.
- Get Exercising– A sedentary lifestyle is one of the common markers of individuals diagnosed with hypertension. Moderate amounts of physical exertion will not only improve your overall fitness and help you maintain your weight goals but can reduce your risk of developing hypertension significantly. Atleast 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise is recommended for most healthy adults.
- Monitor your Blood Pressure– One of the major causes for hypertension related death is due to late diagnosis and treatment. Hypertension by itself may not exhibit any warning signs or symptoms and it is therefore important to know your rate of risk and monitor your blood pressure accordingly. Talking to your doctor about your risk factors and family’s medical history will help you gain an accurate understanding of how often to check your blood pressure.