Monday, August 11, 2008

Hypertension – A Slow Poison

Can youth suffer from high blood pressure? No way!! High blood pressure is just for old people!

If this is what you believe, you are not totally different from most of the people in this planet who associate hypertension or high blood pressure with aging. You also probably wouldn't believe that one in 5 youngsters is suffering from this incommunicable disease! This may sound odd to you but this is an unfortunate fact.

In the 21st century, most of the parts of our society are affected by this condition. Nowadays it is best for the parents to get their and their teens blood pressures checked every once in a while. It will be a very critical step in ensuring the health of your kids.

What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is defined as the pressure or force your blood exerts against your blood vessels as the heart pumps. The pressure typically rises as your heart pumps (systolic pressure) and falls when the heart relaxes (diastolic pressure). The normal blood pressure for a normal adult should be 120 over 80 mm Hg. A blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 mm Hg, on the other hand, can already be considered high.
There are no specific symptoms to discover this condition. Many times one comes to know about his high blood pressure incidentally during an unrelated medical examination. This state of raised blood pressure can remain dormant for years with out one feeling any major symptoms till they become very serious. This dormant state later can manifest with complications like heart diseases (angina, stroke, myocardial infarction) and kidney diseases. Therefore hypertension is known as a “Silent killer”.

Still the most common symptoms observed when the blood pressure rises are headaches, dizziness, impaired vision and gastrointestinal disturbances. However the extent of symptoms depends upon the rise and the length of time this condition is present.
Blood pressure can be influenced by a number of factors. Among these are the degree of rest, physical activity or stress, heredity, a person eating habits, lifestyle, emotions and medications being taken.

Here are some ways to get control of this blood pressure:
Dos for hypertensive people

Strive to maintain your weight height ratio. Basal metabolic rate decreases as the age increases therefore do not set very high goals for yourself. Try to have a balanced diet. Do not go on starvation or crash diets to lose weight as its effect may reverse.
Always concentrate on the quality of food then the quantity. In a diet the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat for hypertensive people is an important consideration. eg protein should contribute 20% from the total energy, fat – 15% and rest can come from carbohydrates.
In case of carbohydrates, emphasis on foods high in complex carbohydrates such as dietary fibre rather than simple sugars (any kind of processed, preserved or fast foods- pasta/noodles etc). Increase fibre in your diet by including lots of fruits and salads. Make sure that you have at least two fruits per day.
Since you are hypertensive, decrease the intake of salt/sodium. Avoid using more than 2 – 3grams of salt per day .However the extent of salt restriction depends on the rise of blood pressure. Try to have at least a bowl of salad before dinner without salt. You can add a variety of condiments and flavoring agents such as lemon, vinegar, herbs, onion and garlic to improve the palatability of salt free food.
Adequate potassium intake can be a part of the treatment. Good sources of potassium like tomato, chickoo, watermelon, banana, leafy vegetables, bitter gourd, brinjal, potatoes, apricots and legumes can be included in the diet. However hypertensive person with kidney disease should avoid a high intake of potassium as it puts an excessive load on the kidney.
You can have 1- 2 cloves of garlic early morning with one glass of lukewarm water everyday.
Rest is very important; you should take at least 6 – 7 hours of sound sleep.
Adopt a regular exercise routine. Regular exercise can give you lot of benefits. It can help prevent you and your kids from becoming overweight and aid in shedding off those excess pounds, thus keeping your heart and blood vessels in top condition. However, it is always better to check with your doctor before you start any kind of exercise program. Also, consult an experienced personal trainer or coach prior to beginning a weight lifting program. This can help prevent injuries.
Have your blood pressure checked regularly.

Don’ts for hypertensive people
Do not use:
Salt at the table (use salt lightly in cooking)
Salt preserved foods such as salted or smoked meat (ham, bacon, sausages etc), salted or smoked fish.
Shell fishers such as shrimp, crab, lobster.
Highly salted foods such as potato chips, salted nuts, popcorn, highly salted biscuits and other salted snacks.
Food with sodium as preservative such as ketchup, chilli sauce, soya sauce, garlic sauce, pickle and various chutneys.
Baking powder, baking soda or anything containing these.
Flavour enhancers like ajinomoto. This means Chinese foods.
Bread, pav and processed cheese.
Alcohol. Heavy drinking may lead to the development of the disease.
Smoking is never considered a healthy habit. What's worse is that smoking and high blood pressure is a deadly combination. The combination of these two can lead to a heart attack or stroke later on in life.

These few modifications will not only help you to get a control on your systolic and diastolic pressures but will also help to reduce your body weight and get you in shape.


Chus said...

This works!: Dash Diet

Dietician Deepshikha Agarwal said...

Hypertension is more related to stress .u can now stress your body by eating wrong foods or by living a wrong lifestyle . it all ends up creating a complication that is hypertension.if you have any other query feel free to ask
Stay fit