What is hypertension?

Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure which happens when the blood pressure of a person is higher than 140 over 90 mmHg (millimetres of mercury).

CAUSES

Modern lifestyle factors are contributing to the growth of high blood pressure in the world. The causes include obesity, stress, smoking, lack of physical activity, extra consumption of salt in the diet, alcohol consumption, old age, genetics, kidney disease, adrenal and thyroid disorders.

A change in lifestyle is required for the prevention of this silent killer.

SYMPTOMS

Though hypertension does not have any proven symptoms, some people get nose bleeds, headaches and shortness in breath because of high blood pressure. This usually happens when it reaches a life threatening stage.

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT HYPERTENSION?

The best way to prevent hyper tension is by going to the doctor and getting tested every year. It is very important to be prepared for such diseases which have no visible symptoms and can be life threatening.

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor will be able to detect hypertension while measuring your blood pressure. There are 4 categories of blood pressure:

• NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE: When your blood pressure is below 120 over 80 mmHg.

• PRE HYPERTENSION: This occurs when the blood pressure is ranging from 120 over 80 mmHg to 129 over 89 mmHg.

• STAGE 1 HYPERTENSION: In this stage, the blood pressure ranges from 140 over 90mmHg to 159 over 99 mmHg

• STAGE 2 HYPERTENSION: The blood pressure in this stage is 160 over 100 mmHg or higher.

TREATMENT

The doctor will keep you on medications for Hypertension and you must remember to not skip any dosage. During treatment, you must keep a few things in check! You should:

• Manage your weight

• Lessen the intake of salt

• Manage the stress in your life

• Incorporate physical activities in your daily routine

• Quit smoking

• Limit alcohol consumption

• Comply with medical prescriptions

NUTRITION

People with high blood pressure should follow the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) which is a diet promoted by the US based National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to prevent and control hypertension.

The DASH eating plan includes more of vegetables, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. It also includes whole grains, proteins, poultry, fish and vegetable oils. It limits sodium, sweet, sugary beverages and red meats. This diet is low in saturated and trans fats and is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber and protein.

The DASH eating plan includes more of vegetables, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. It also includes whole grains, proteins, poultry, fish and vegetable oils. It limits sodium, sweet, sugary beverages and red meats. This diet is low in saturated and trans fats and is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber and protein.

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