Blood pressure is a measure of blood flow forcing against the walls of the arteries. Hypertension is a medical condition when the systolic blood pressure measures more than 140mmHg and diastolic measures more than 90mmHg.
The World Health Organization considers hypertension as a serious epidemic. According to the last estimate by WHO, 40% of the adults aged 25 and above had been diagnosed with hypertension. In 1980, 600 million people around the world had Hypertension, by 2008, there were 1 billion people with hypertension.
Causes of Hypertension:
- Cholesterol: Cholesterol imbalance is caused mainly by lack of physical inactivity and obesity. This is recognized by Higher LDL, Triglycerides, total cholesterol and lower HDL. Cholesterol can build up within the arteries causing narrowing of arteries. Over the years this would require increased effort on heart for the blood to flow through arteries. Hence, Obesity and physical inactivity are related to hypertension.
- Lifestyle choices: Stress is directly related to hypertension. Several studies suggest that smoking, alcohol associated with stress can increase the chances of individual developing hypertension.
- Diabetes: Over 60% of the diabetic patients develop hypertension.
- Diet: Excess salt and lower potassium in diet can increase the risk for hypertension.
- Age: Studies suggest that hypertension risk rises with age.
- Sex: Traditionally men are more likely to develop hypertension than women. But that trend is declining, now both the sexes are about the same risk for developing hypertension
Lifestyle changes to control Hypertension:
- The ideal diet for controlling high blood pressure is to control the salt, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol consumption.
- Studies suggest that 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times a week is beneficial to heart. Few of the ideal exercises are brisk walking, dancing and running.
- Reducing or stop tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Yoga/meditation/hobby: Managing stress is essential in controlling high blood pressure. Experts suggest that yoga or meditation and developing a hobby help reducing stress.
- Diabetes: managing diabetes will reduce the risk for hypertension.