Hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries persists for a long period of time.
Our blood pressure can be expressed in two ways:They are the systolic blood pressure (pressure in the arteries during contraction of the heart muscle) and the diastolic blood pressure (when the heart muscle is at rest pressure in the arteries at the time).
Normal systolic blood pressure in a healthy adult should be between 80-120 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure should be between 60-80 mm Hg.
But these values can vary depending on various factors (age, physical activity, gender, environmental temperature).
Why is high blood pressure called a silent killer?
In many cases, people with high blood pressure are unaware of it. This is because high blood pressure does not show any obvious symptoms.
The danger here is that you may unknowingly develop various complications in your body organs as well as increase your risk of death.
Bleeding from the nose
Presence of blood in the urine
Chest pain are some of the few symptoms, but they are more likely to be caused by prevailing high blood pressure conditions.
Therefore, the only way to accurately diagnose high blood pressure is to have a systematic measurement of blood pressure.
Blood pressure is very easy to measure. It is also quick and painless.Using a digital blood pressure monitor, you can even measure your own blood pressure.
However, it is essential to have a qualified doctor measure your blood pressure, as it is important to identify the risks associated with high blood pressure in advance and seek medical advice.
Are you aware of the various factors that contribute to high blood pressure?
There are many different factors that contribute to high blood pressure. We can divide these risk factors into two main categories. They are irreversible factors and changeable factors.
Irreversible factors are:
Age (Generally over 55 years)
Gender (Higher risk for males than females)
Ethnicity (Common in people of African descent)
Family history of blood pressure
Also, if we consider the changeable factors:
Excessive alcohol use and smoking
Unhealthy eating patterns
Who are the most at risk for high blood pressure?
People from families with a history of high blood pressure
Men have more risk than women
People with kidney diseases
People who are less active
People with an unhealthy diet
People who are overweight or obese
People who drink alcohol excessively
People with high blood cholesterol levels
People with diabetes
People who smoke
People with stress conditions
If you belong to one of these groups, you need to be extra careful.
What are the risk conditions that can occur if the high blood pressure is not managed properly
Heart attackHigh blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack by 4-5 times.
Kidney failureAre major conditions, and these can even lead to fatality.
Once you have high blood pressure, you cannot completely cure it. But it can be controlled.
However, if you have reached high levels, you can avoid high blood pressure by making certain lifestyle changes.
Regular blood pressure check
Controlling blood pressure
Changing lifestyle and eating habitsare needed because pre-risk preparedness is very important.
So now let’s check some dietary habits and lifestyle practices that can help you reduce high blood pressure conditions
By limiting sodium (salt) rich food (marmite, salted snacks, sausages). Therefore salt consumption should be limited to one teaspoon per day (when buying processed food, refer to the food label to get an idea about the salt content).
Limit excessive consumption of instant food (noodles, doughnuts, pizza), and also you should think about the amount and the number of times you consume them.
Consume non-refined rice, whole wheat flour and oats like grains instead of refined rice and refined wheat flour.
Have more nonstarchy vegetables such as snake gourd, drumstick, brinjal, cauliflower, cabbage and green leaves like gotukola, mukunuwenna, kankun, sarana and spinach.
Add fruits like mango, banana, guava and papaw.
As fruits and vegetables contain more potassium, eat them in at least 5 varieties per day. Spinach, sweet potato, banana and avocado contain high amounts of potassium.
Also, it is good to eat legumes like mung bean, chickpea, cowpea and soya bean.
Have omega 3 containing food like salmon, herring and sprats.
Consume 1% fat-containing milk (without full cream milk), yogurt and other Ca-rich food.
Limit saturated fat-containing food (coconut oil-rich food, beef, pork, cheese, butter) For deep frying, use coconut oil and avoid vegetable oil. Also, avoid the use of the same frying oil again and again.
Not only dietary habits but also it is very important to have proper lifestyle practices.
By engaging, adequate physical activities of at least 30 minutes per day or 30-45 minutes for 3/4 days per week.It helps to maintain a proper weight and very important to prevent high blood pressure.
Also, to be physically active you can engage with activities like jogging, walking and aerobic exercises.
Also, you should avoid smoking and should limit your alcohol consumption.
Try to maintain your stress levels properly.You can engage in activities such as listening to music, meditation or any other hobby that makes you relaxed.So, try to maintain a healthy life without high blood pressure by following these proper dietary habits and lifestyle practices
Nutrition Society – Wayamba University of Sri Lanka