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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Managing High Blood Pressure

    Managing High Blood Pressure  





Managing High Blood Pressure





Hypertension is a chronic (long-term) medical condition characterized by a persistent increase in blood pressure in  arteries. That is why it is also called high blood pressure (HBP). We may have found it in many literatures  that are known as silent killer! Yes. Certainly one. Nobody wants to get to the end of life, at least not at an age where there is still a lot of work to be done. More than 50% of those with hypertension do not even know that they have it!


How is high BP managed?


Studies shows that lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and death. The good news is that you can lower your blood pressure by making some simple lifestyle changes. Even if you don't have high blood pressure right now, making some of these changes can help you keep your blood pressure healthy and prevent you from developing high blood pressure in the future


1. Lose weight (if you are overweight)


Being overweight increases the risk of developing high blood pressure; As your weight increases, your blood pressure also increases. Losing weight is one of the best things you can do to control blood pressure. If you are overweight, losing weight (even 2 to 4 kg or 5 to 10 pounds) can help lower blood pressure. For every kg of weight lost, blood pressure can be expected to drop by about 1 mmHg

The shape of your body can also influence the risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular disease. If you carry extra fat around your waist, you are at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Being overweight can cause interruptions in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), further increasing blood pressure

2. Follow a Healthy and Balanced Diet


Studies have shown that a diet rich in whole grains, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats and cholesterol can lower blood pressure up to 11 mmHg if you have high blood pressure. This food plan is known as the dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH). The main features of a healthy diet to help lower blood pressure are:


• Fruits and vegetables: aim to eat at least 5 servings a day. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and also fiber

• Reduce fat intake, especially saturated fat: choose low-fat options such as partially skim milk and low-fat yogurt. Try to minimize saturated fat (saturated fat is generally solid when cold and is found mainly in animal sources such as butter, fat and fats in meat). If you use fats for cooking, choose fats like extra virgin olive oil, sun, rapeseed or canola oil

• Whole grains: if possible, choose whole grains, such as wholemeal pasta and rice. Try 2-3 servings a day to increase your fiber intake. Try to include legumes (like peas, beans and lentils) in your diet every day

• Oily fat: oily fats (such as salmon, sardines and mackerel) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to help lower blood pressure. Try to have 2 portions of fsh per week, one of which should be an oily fsh

• Eating more potassium and less sodium: there is no evidence that taking dietary supplements such as calcium, magnesium or potassium can lower blood pressure

• Cutting  back on sugar and refined carbohydrates: To reduce the overall risk of heart disease and stroke, you should also reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and limit the amount of red meat you eat wich, can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure

• Eating some dark chocolate: Studies have shown that dark chocolate which includes 60 to 70 percent of cocoa lowers blood pressure and it contains also flavonoids that help reduce the risk of heart diseases and inflammation, by widening blood vessels

• Use the Eatwell Guide  to help you make healthier food choices: If you have high blood pressure and are considered at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) or if you already have CVD, you may want to consider adopting an integrated Mediterranean diet with 30 g of extra virgin olive oil or a handful of unsalted nuts each day

3. Cut the salt


Having a lot of salt in the diet has been shown to raise the risk of developing high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, reducing the amount of salt you eat can lower your blood pressure. Even a small reduction in salt in the diet can lower blood pressure by around 5-6 mmHg

Most people eat much more salt than necessary, and we should all try to reduce the amount of salt we have. We should not eat more than 6 g of salt per day. This includes salt added to food (in the kitchen or on the table)

6 g of salt almost equals 1 teaspoon of salt. If you have hypertention, you should try to reduce your salt intake as much as possible to lower your blood pressure. Making simple changes to the food consumpting, and the amount of salt you add to the table, can help reduce your salt intake

• A lot of the salt we eat is "hidden" in the food we buy. Foods such as processed meat products, salty snacks (chips, nuts and crackers), ready meals, soups and sauces are almost always rich in salt. In other foods, such as bread or breakfast cereals, salt levels vary widely

• To help you make healthier choices about the foods you buy, check the food labels for the salt content and choose the ones with the least salt

• Reduce the amount of salt you use in the kitchen: use more herbs and spices (but note the amount of salt in the cubes and broth sauces)

• Taste food before adding salt: Pay attention to the use of a salt substitute. Salt substitutes may not be suitable for some people (such as people with heart failure or kidney problems)

4. Stay active


If your blood pressure has risen, exercise can help you avoid developing high blood pressure. If you already have hypertention, regular physical activity can lower your blood pressure to safer levels. Regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure by around 5 to 8 mmHg. It also strengthens heart muscle and can help you lose weight. Maintaining the recommended level of physical activity will help keep blood pressure under control

Try doing some type of physical activity every day and reduce the amount of time you spend idle. A moderate intensity activity means that you better feel that you are making a little effort in the activity. You should feel warm and slightly out of breath, and your heart should beat a little faster than normal. However, moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, swimming, dancing, gardening and cycling, and you should be able to continue a conversation while you train

Try to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. This can be divided into sets of 10 minutes or more. Activities that rapidly increase blood pressure and put unwanted pressure on the heart can be inappropriate for people with hypertension, such as activities that include weight lifting, sprinting or squash. If you are not sure which type of activity is right for you and what you should do, or if you have other health conditions or your blood pressure is very high, talk to your doctor or nurse before starting a new training routine

5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink


Drinking too much alcohol increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, as well as a variety of other health problems. It can also make you fat (alcohol is high in calories), which in turn can increase blood pressure and cardiovascular risk

You should consider that by limiting the amount of alcohol beverage, you can lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. However, drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol can actually increase your blood pressure by several mm Hg. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure drugs

6. Stop Smoking


The relationship between smoking and hypertension is a little more complicated. After each cigarette, blood pressure temporarily increases. This increase lasts up to 30 minutes, but evidence suggests that smoking does not increase long-term blood pressure

Although smoking does not directly cause hypertension, it is known to increase the risk of developing and worsening cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). Therefore, if you smoke and have high blood pressure, quitting smoking is an important step in reducing your chances of developing heart disease and stroke

You are more than 4 times more likely to quit smoking if you have the support of a specialist

7. Stop Recreational drugs


Some recreational medications, such as cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines, can cause a dramatic increase in blood pressure and increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack. It is best to avoid them if you have high blood pressure

8. Cutting back on caffeine


Caffeine can cause a sharp but short-lived rise in blood pressure. If you drink a lot of coffee (4 or more cups a day) or other caffeine-rich products, consider replacing them with decaffeinated or caffeine-free options

Caffeine-rich products include:

• Coffee: an important source of caffeine for many people

Tea: black tea have more caffeine than green tea

• Some medications, such as cold and flu remedies, and some pain relievers contain caffeine. Caffeine can make these drugs more effective

9. Reduce excess stress: 


A stressful situation can cause your blood pressure to rise for a short period of time. Once the stressful situation has passed, the blood pressure will return to its previous level. However, the way you manage stress can affect blood pressure. Some people face stress by developing unhealthy behaviors (such as drinking too much alcohol, a poor diet or not doing enough physical activity). It is these unhealthy behaviors that can contribute to high blood pressure. Therefore, it is important to learn to relax and manage stressful situations

If you are concerned about coping with stress or anxiety, talk to your doctor. They can help you decide how best to manage it

10. Try Medicinal herbs: 


Try medicinal herbs: There are some calming herbs for anxiety that relax the nerves and help to lower high blodd pressure. It is recommended to drink along whith the prescribed medications, but is needed to identify the doses and components in the herbs that are most useful

11. Restful sleep: 


There is evidence that not getting enough sleep every night can be related to high blood pressure. Over time, lack of sleep can affect the body's ability to regulate stress hormones, possibly causing high blood pressure or poorly controlled blood pressure. Try to sleep at least 6 hours continuously one night, if you can, to stay as healthy as possible

12. Monitor your Blood Pressure at home regularly


Home monitoring of blood pressure can help to lower the risk of potential health complications, such as Heart diseases and stroke 


13. Take prescription medication


Depending on how high your blood pressure is and if you have other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, your doctor may also recommend taking medicines to help control your blood pressure. Although it is necessary to take blood pressure medications, it is important to try to make these changes to keep the risk of heart attack or stroke as low as possible


By making lasting lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure, improve the way your medicine works, and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Making more than one change can get even better results!


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