World Hypertension Day: Keep a Check on your Heart Health
By Nmami Agarwal
When the pressure of blood pumped via your arteries is higher than normal rate leads to Hypertension. The constant hypertension (high blood pressure) over the time can damages blood vessel which eventually becomes more difficult to be handled by your circulatory system and often leads cause further countless health problems. Hypertension at times is also called the “silent killer” as it continues to proceed without any major symptoms for years unnoticed and untreated. Keeping a regular check on your blood pressure level is the only way to seize it out.
Somehow, the accurate reason of hypertension still remains unknown to medical science but few of them such as high stress level, excess salt consumption, genetic tendency and unhealthy diet are most common reasons. Whereas, obesity, smoking and binge drinking increases the odds of hypertension.
Even if the blood pressure is high most of the people do not come across any such specific symptoms. Symptoms of hypertension are present in those patients who have an extremely high blood pressure including fatigue, severe headaches, shortness of breath, vision problem, difficulty in breathing, chest pain and irregular heartbeat.
Steps to be taken to control hypertension
It’s not easy to change your eating and lifestyle habits but doing so really help to maintain and lower down your hypertension (blood pressure). Simply, take care of you daily nutritional requirement, eat low sodium food, while reducing high fat and calorie intake to maintain your weight.
- Consider boosting your potassium level: Potassium helps balancing the level of sodium in your body and lessen the effects of it on blood pressure. Rather than supplements, potassium rich foods are the best source of to maintain the optimum level. Foods like fruits and vegetables such as banana, oranges, grapefruits, apricots, cantaloupe, potato, cooked spinach, mushrooms, peas, pumpkin and green leafy vegetables and high potassium nuts and seeds include hazelnuts, chestnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seed paste (tahini), and sunflower seeds.
- Reducing the amount of salt: Excess amount of salt or sodium in your diet can seize your body fluid and results in increased blood pressure. This is the reason why doctors recommend you to limit the intake of salt. Therefore, to stay on a right track prefer low-salt/ foods and read nutrition facts labels carefully to determine the amount of added salt or sodium packaged in processed foods. Some tips to reduce salt or sodium from your diet:
- Read food labels before purchasing: If possible than opt for low sodium alternatives which you normally buy, by referring to the food labels at the backside.
- Limit the consumption of processed food: High amount of sodium is present in the processed food than the natural foods. So, try avoiding processed food to maintain your optimum levels
- Don’t add extra salt in your plate: 1 teaspoon of salt is equal to 2,300 mg of sodium which is enough to add taste to your food. Use spices and herbs to add extra flavor in your food.
- Limit your alcohol consumption: Excessive consumption of alcohol is allied to hypertension hence; the reduction of alcohol is a significant dose to lower down the level. Women of all ages and men who are older than 65 years should maximize themselves to have one drink a day, while men aged of 65 years and younger should stick up to two drinks a day.
- Eat more of the fruit and vegetables and less fat: People diagnosed with hypertension are recommend to eat low saturated and total fat. Recommend fruits and vegetables are: fruits such as mangoes, apricot, pineapple and grapes packed with potassium, magnesium and fiber and veggies such as carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and green veggies full of fiber, vitamins and minerals other than that, whole-grain and high-fiber foods, pulses, beans, nuts, omega-3-rich fish twice in a week, and low-fat dairy products and non-tropical vegetable oils, such as olive oil.
Note: Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans-fats and animal fats.
Cut back on caffeine: Caffeine leads to a dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. In case of high blood pressure, do consult your doctor whether you have to limit or stop the consumption of caffeinated beverages. If you think caffeine is somewhere affecting your blood pressure, cut back on caffeine.
Words of wisdom
Increased exercise is another way to lower down and maintain your BP level as it reduces your stress levels. On the other hand limiting or quitting smoking is also a great way to take your blood pressure on a healthy range. Last but not the least; it’s a good idea to consult your doctor to keep a check on your blood pressure level so that if diagnosed with hypertension will be able to take steps to minimize your risk of further illnesses.
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