Hypertension, more commonly known as High blood pressure, is one of the most prevalent diseases in our world. As soon as a person hits 30, they have to start worrying about their heart’s health and be more careful about their blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The majority of our population starts suffering from increased blood pressure in their 30s. There are several reasons behind this common health issue faced by the mass.
A major threat associated with hypertension is that, unlike other diseases, this one does not always have symptoms. Several times, a person would feel completely fit throughout the week and might suddenly suffer from increased blood pressure. Hypertension often causes heart attack and heart failure hence is one of the most fatal diseases known to mankind. A recent report based on the cardiac health of the USA revealed that as much as 50% of its population is suffering from hypertension.
There are several ways by which one can keep their blood pressure in control and take care of their body. But, the foremost thing one could learn for their good is to measure blood pressure even when a doctor isn’t around. So before we learn to control our blood pressure, let us first learn how to measure it and keep a track of it.
How is blood pressure measured?
The blood pressure of our bodies is usually measured in the unit “per mm of hg”. It is measured with the help of an instrument called a sphygmomanometer. To measure blood pressure, one also requires a stethoscope.
Here are the steps one needs to follow to measure blood pressure:
- Tie the cuff of the sphygmomanometer near the cubital fossa (opposite side of the elbow) and make sure it is tight.
- Make sure the two green (usually) pipes coming out of it are parallel to your brachial artery.
- Keep the belly of the stethoscope on the cubital fossa, wherever you can hear the beat.
- Tighten the valve of the sphygmomanometer and start increasing the pressure, by pumping the bulb.
- Increase the pressure to a point that you stop hearing the beat. Now let the pressure fall to a point that you hear the beat again.
- The pressure at which you lose the beat is the systolic pressure and at which you hear it again is your diastolic pressure.
- Normal systolic pressure is 120 mm of hg and normal diastolic pressure is 80 mm of hg.
Any figure above the normal blood pressure (for example 130 / 80) is considered high blood pressure
How to control blood pressure?
Hypertension is mostly caused by one’s daily habits. People who keep themselves seated at most times of the day consume high-calorie food are at a higher risk of hypertension.
1. Daily exercise:
For fitness, one needs to move their body as much as they can. Someone who is into a profession where they are not required to move from their seat should make an effort to take a long walk once a day. They can even choose to walk to their workplace if it is possible.
A 40-minute session involving Jogging, a bit of exercise, warming up, etc is the best and the easiest way to keep one’s blood pressure in control. One could also turn to habits like using stairs instead of elevators, walking to the workplace, doing household chores like washing utensils, etc, gardening, riding a bike, getting involved in outdoor sports, etc.
2. Weight management:
Obese people are at a higher risk of not just hypertension but also several other heart-related diseases. For someone who is overweight (consider checking the BMI), must make sincere efforts to lose weight.
Even if someone loses 5-10 pounds, they can reduce the risk of hypertension to a large extent. There are several ways to lose weight. In the previous paragraph, we have mentioned how a 40-minute workout session in a day can help one in keeping their heart-healthy.
Another way to a step towards health is to eat healthily. The diets that are prescribed for overweight people, intended to help them in losing weight also happen to not let their blood pressure rise.
3. Less sugar less refined carbohydrates:
Those who want to lose weight must make it a key point to cut down on their intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates. This will not just help them in losing weight but as we mentioned previously, will also help in controlling the blood pressure and prevent it from rising.
Studies suggest that Sugar (fructose) increases one’s blood pressure more than salt does. Reports have shown that sugar can easily increase one’s blood pressure by 5.6 mm Hg diastolic and 6.9 mm Hg systolic in 8 weeks.
Hence dieticians and doctors prescribe a low fat and low carb diet to those who suffer from hypertension or those who are at the risk of hypertension.
4. Focus on potassium:
Just like sugar, salt happens to increase one’s blood pressure. Hence, one should try to reduce their salt intake. Salt contains sodium. Try to focus on food items that provide you potassium and not sodium. Potassium reduces the effects of salt in our body and also reduces the tension in the blood vessels.
5. Say no to processed food:
One should make it their life’s key learning to consume as little processed food as they can. In this list comes, the deli meats, canned soup, pizza, chips, etc
In this article, we talked about how every single person above the age of 30 in our society is at risk of hypertension. We have listed some ways to control the blood pressure and prevent it from rising, like consuming a potassium-rich diet, consuming less processed food, consuming less sugar and carbohydrates, maintaining weight, and exercising daily.