Hypertension, better known as high blood pressure is one of the most common ailments prevalent in India, mostly found in the urban rather than the rural population.
Earlier, it was quite common among the older generation but now due to extreme lifestyle changes, the younger generation is no longer spared from it. In the United States alone, young people in the age group of 20 and above are rapidly falling prey to this lifestyle disease.
Simply put, high blood pressure occurs when your heart works extra hard to pump blood through your blood vessels to get them to your vital organs, consistently higher than the recommended level.
This can lead to heart failure and a heart attack. May 17th is World Hypertension Day and experts have put together some tips for those of you who are facing this condition, giving you the opportunity for improved living on a daily basis.
- Weight loss: Maintaining the ideal body weight for your age is key to keeping chronic diseases at bay. Losing a significant amount of weight can lower blood pressure and may also allow you to decrease the amount of blood pressure medicine you were prescribed. Moreover, healthy weight loss contributes to the feel-good factor where you feel lighter, thanks to the pounds you’ve shared.
- Cut down on Sodium: A good way to check complications of high blood pressure is to reduce the salt intake in your food. Processed foods are notorious for adding copious amounts of salt to their foodstuffs and this has largely contributed to hypertension reaching epidemic proportions in the developed and the developing world so keep an eye peeled for nutrition facts on food labels. What you can do is add lesser salt and more herbs and spices to give your food that flavor you’ve been longing for!
- Roll back on alcohol consumption: Heavy consumption of alcohol definitely puts you at risk of having high blood pressure. The risks are increasingly higher when you’re a sufferer since alcohol is known to reduce effectiveness and even have adverse side effects when taken alongside medication.
- Eat heart-friendly foods: Your heart loves Omega- 3 fatty acids which means it craves fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines. It also loves walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews. It’s fond of many types of berries too – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc.
Add to that some good ol’ fat-free/ low-fat milk and yogurt, bananas, oranges, and oatmeal. Who says a diet has to be boring? Just don’t forget to enjoy them in moderation!
- Meditate on a tranquil heart: Traditional Indian health practitioners have known way before western medicine made breakthroughs in this regard, that meditation is good for the heart.
Studies have suggested that meditation can provide remarkable health benefits in this regard, even reducing blood pressure.
Being diagnosed with high blood pressure is not the end of the world. Perhaps it can be the wake-up call this generation needs so much; to pay attention to the warning signs, to exchange our increasingly maddening lifestyles for a conscious living so we can better appreciate what it truly means to be healthy.