Hypertension or high blood pressure is a very common condition.
If you have high blood pressure, you are most probably taking a daily pill and your doctor has recommended that you lower your salt consumption, lose weight, and exercise.
You better follow your doctor’s advice. Hypertension is a very serious problem with potentially severe consequences.
What is Hypertension?
Every time the hearth beats, it pushes the blood through the arteries. This is the “systolic” blood pressure. Between each contraction, the heart relaxes and the pressure drops, and this is called the “diastolic” pressure. Blood pressure varies a lot from person to person and depends on many factors, including age. The normal reading for an adult should be around 120 (systolic) and 80 (diastolic). Blood pressure goes up in a normal individual when he is subject to stress or physical activity, but in a person with hypertension, blood pressure is elevated even when he is at rest.
Consistently elevated blood pressure is one of the most prominent dangers for a heart attack and greatly enhances the risk of a stroke. Hypertension is appropriately called “the silent killer” because many people often don’t know they have it until heart problems arise. There are usually no symptoms until the condition becomes very severe. At that point, headache, confusion, nose bleeding, shortness of breath, tingling of hands and feet, and a general feeling of discomfort can be an indication that something is wrong. Otherwise, hypertension is discovered only during a routine medical check up.
Most often, hypertension is related to lifestyle.
Weight problems, inactivity, stress, and bad eating habits are all factors that can greatly affect hypertension. Drinking too much alcohol and caffeine and smoking are also habits with a very adverse effect. But lifestyle changes are often difficult to achieve. Exercising can be hard for many, even if it is a necessary sacrifice.
Dieting is also very important, not so much in the sense of depriving yourself of certain types of food, but in eating the right things. High blood pressure is often directly related to excessive sodium and reduced potassium levels. Eating the proper foods for a balanced nutrition can help enormously in controlling your blood pressure. There is no magic formula, but medical research can point us in the right direction.