High blood pressure, medically termed hypertension, is a silent killer. This is because it often never reveals any signs or symptoms, yet it is regarded as one of the leading causes of death.
About 30% to 40% of Nigeria’s 200 million population is said to be living with high blood pressure. That’s between 60 to 80 million people.
Experts warn that high blood pressure, if not properly handled, can lead to complications such as stroke, kidney failure, heart failure, and ultimately death.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure refers to the force being exerted against the walls of the blood vessels as the heart beats or pumps blood. If the pressure or force from the flow of blood gets too much on the artery walls, it can cause major damage to it, resulting in complications.
Our blood pressure is highest when our heart pumps blood; this is referred to as systolic pressure. The moment of rest in-between, as the heart relaxes and refills, is referred to as diastolic pressure.
A blood pressure reading of 120/80mm Hg or lower is deemed normal, while a reading of 130/80mm Hg or more is regarded as High.
Once you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you must be in constant touch with your doctor. You must abide by his counsel, and you must take your medicines religiously because your survival and well-being depend on them.
In addition, you need a lifestyle overhaul, such as experts state as follow:
Regular physical activities are a sure means of lowering high blood pressure levels. Experts advise that engaging in physical activities for at least 30 minutes daily can help lower pressure.
Experts say as you engage yourself more in daily exercise, you will increase your heart and breathing rates, which in turn strengthens your heart and enables it to pump blood with lesser effort. This decreases the pressure on your arteries and reduces your blood pressure.
Swimming, walking, jogging, cycling, stair climbing, etc, are some appropriate activities that you can engage in.
Shed excess weight
Losing excess weight is another effective lifestyle change that aids in controlling high blood pressure. This is because, as the body weight increases, so does the heart pressure.
Obesity can also cause breathing difficulties when sleeping, which can cause blood pressure spike.
When you have manageable weight, your heart won’t have to work extra hard at trying to pump blood around the body.
Losing excess weight could also help in getting rid of artery-clogging and thickening fats, and blood flow will be enhanced as a consequence.
Cut out stress
The life of a typical adult is filled with stress. Dealing with daily life challenges can be very demanding, as it takes its toll on every part of our lives, especially our health.
It is therefore important for us to try as much as possible to cut down on anything that burdens us or weighs us down.
Try unwinding after a stressful day by taking a walk, reading a book, watching a comedy, or listening to some good music.
Smoking causes a whole lot of damage to health and well-being generally. The chemicals in tobacco can cause a build-up of plaques in the arteries, thereby inhibiting blood flow.
It is therefore important to stay away from smoking completely, to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Secondary smoking or secondhand smoke can also inflict the same level of damage. This makes staying around smokers or in smoke zones inappropriate for those battling hypertension.
Quit alcohol intake
Excessive alcohol intake can cause increased blood pressure. It can also cause extra weight gain, thereby increasing your chances of struggling with high blood pressure.
Adopting a no-alcohol lifestyle is deemed best. However, for those finding it difficult to quit completely, a limit of two drinks per day for males, and one for females is recommended, according to researchers.
Watch what you eat
What we allow into our system determines, to a large extent, the state of our health and general well-being. To keep your blood pressure in check, there is a need to cut off some elements of your diet completely and replace them with other helpful ones.
Some of these are:
• Sodium: salt is the major source of sodium in our body system. And since salt triggers an increase in our blood pressure rate, it’s important to cut down on it as much as possible. Doubling up on your potassium intake, instead, could be more helpful as it helps to reduce the effect of salt in our system and eases blood vessels tension
• Processed foods: processed foods are responsible for a large chunk of the excess salts in our system. Doing away with canned soups, pizzas, chips, and other processed snacks could be the clincher in your hypertension struggles.
• Caffeine: cutting back on caffeine intake could also be a helpful lifestyle change as it has been found to further worsen already increased blood pressure
Never skip sleep time
A poor sleeping routine could impact your blood pressure negatively, as the heart’s work rate reduces when you sleep and therefore helps to lower your blood pressure.
It is important to cut out anything that can hinder a quality night’s rest and if you have problems with sleeping at night, seek the help of a healthcare professional.
Hypertension is one of the leading causes of death. The fact that it mostly creeps up on people without showing any signs makes it hard to control.
It is therefore important to invest in a home blood pressure monitor to be able to know the condition of your health.