According to the WHO, hypertension, which is most commonly known as high blood pressure, is estimated to affect more than one in three adults aged 25 and over, or about one billion people globally.
It is one of the most important precipitators of heart disease and stroke – thereby making it the number one cause of premature death and disability around the world.
High blood pressure is largely preventable through the adoption of lifestyle modifications at early stages. Following are some ways to keep hypertension at bay:
Healthy diet – A healthy and balanced diet is essential to keep a check on BP. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a good way to avert hypertension. The DASH diet contains plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products which are low in fat, fish, whole grains, poultry and nuts; the diet is also low in red meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sweets. These items make the DASH dietary pattern rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein and fiber and low in cholesterol and fat.
Stress management – Research shows a direct link between stress and raised blood pressure. In modern days due to erratic lifestyle, long working hours, frequent break up of relationships, stress is on all-time high. There is no time for relaxation. Everybody is leading a super busy life. Thus, it is important to lessen and manage mental stress through relaxing techniques like deep breathing exercises, spending time on yourself, social networking, yoga, and meditation.
Exercising regularly – Aerobic exercise, and possibly resistance training, have been found to lower one’s BP. If one has prehypertension (systolic pressure between 120 and 139 mm HG or diastolic pressure between 80 and 89 mm Hg), exercise can surely help him/her in averting develop hypertension.
Limiting the sodium intake – One has to cut down on sodium through the reduction of the salt added to food and eliminate trans fats from their diet. Sodium content is directly proportional to blood pressure. One should not add extra salt to their meals. One good way of keeping a check is to use salt shakers; it keeps a restraint on the amount
Limiting alcohol consumption and smoking – These have been directly linked with a higher risk of hypertension and must be strictly avoided. If one is a heavy drinker or chain smoker, he/she should start with reducing the amount and then finally quit.
Hypertension is mostly a silent disease and it often goes unnoticed due to the vagueness of its symptoms, which include occasional headaches, confusion, buzzing in one’s ear amongst others. Thus, it is important to keep monitoring one’s BP regularly. Timely anticipation and detection of the silent disease is required to avoid any fatal consequences.