Hypertension or blood pressure disorder is a silent killer and one of the leading causes of death in India. It is a disorder that causes multiple effects and affects numerous organs of the body. The cascading effects can lead to kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, etc. There is an urgent need to keep a check on your blood pressure and address the same with medical management. Please note that there is no definite cure for blood pressure disorder and the same needs to be managed clinically. If left untreated or unmanaged the same can develop into a fatal disease. Following are some of the ways by which you can manage hypertension or even prevent it.
Regular physical activities lasting at least half an hour should be done at least four days in a week. This can reduce blood pressure by 4-9 (mm Hg). However, it is highly important to be consistent as the blood pressure can rise when one stops exercising. Exercising assists in avoiding the growth of full blown hypertension for those who have prehypertension or slightly high blood pressure. Walking, cycling, jogging and swimming are best exercises to lower blood pressure.
Taking a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products, very low saturated fat and cholesterol shall reduce blood pressure by around 14 mm Hg. Few tips below:
- Carry a Food Diary:Making a note of all you eat for even a week can bring unforeseen information on our actual eating habits. Watch out your eating habits i.e. What, when , why and how much.
- Consider enhancing potassium:Potassium can reduce the effect of sodium onto blood pressure. Fruits and evegtables are best sources of potassium instead of supplemets. Speak to your doctor about level of potassium that best suits you.
- Smart Shoppers:Watch out the food labels while shopping and adhere to your healthy diet plan while dining out also.
Lower sodium intake:
Blood pressure can lower down by 2-8 mm Hg by even a little reduction of sodium in our diet. The effect of intake of sodium is different on different groups of patients. In general, one should limit sodium below 2300 mg daily. For people who have greater salt sensitivity, a lower intake of sodium i.e. 1500 mg daily is appropriate.
For food and beverages we normally buy we shall choose low sodium alternatives. Below tips can be considered:
- Lesser processed foods shall be eaten: It is a fact that low sodium amount is found naturally in food whereas there is added sodium in processed foods.
- Do not add salt: 1 teaspoon of salt contains 2300 mg sodium. We shall use herbs and spices to add flavor to our food.
- Go easy on sodium: In case if a drastic reduction in intake of sodium does not seem possible, we can gradually cut down on it over time.
Role of caffeine is yet debatable. Caffeine may raise blood pressure to 10 mm Hg within occasional drinkers, however, it makes little or zero effect on the blood pressure of habitual ones. However, there seems a possibility of slight rise in blood pressure due to caffeine.
Monitoring blood pressure at home and regular doctor visit:
Monitoring blood pressure at home keeps us alert. However, keep your doctor informed about it. One may visit their doctor half yearly or annually only if their blood pressure is under control, however, a more frequent visit is required to the doctor for those whose pressure isn’t under control