Hypertension, High Blood Pressure: Causes, Symptoms, Role of Salt to HBP and Control Measures – Before we move ahead into the full details about Hypertension, let us understand what blood pressure is all about.
- 1 What is blood pressure?
- 2 What is high blood pressure?
- 3 Why should I be concerned?
- 4 How can I control my blood pressure?
- 5 Eat smart
- 6 Get active
- 7 Don’t drink too much
- 8 Check your meds
- 9 Stop using tobacco
- 10 Relax
- 11 Role of salt in hypertension
- 12 Hypertension, High Blood Pressure Causes, Why it kills faster and Control measures
What is blood pressure?
With every beat, your heart pumps blood through your veins and arteries. Blood pressure measures the force that your blood puts on the walls of these blood vessels. Your blood pressure reading provides two numbers:
The larger number, called systolic pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The smaller number, called diastolic pressure, measures the pressure between beats, when the heart is resting.
A blood pressure reading lists your systolic pressure “above” the diastolic pressure. For example, if your systolic pressure is 117 and your diastolic is 70, your healthcare provider might say your blood pressure is 117 over 70. This would be listed as 117/70mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
What is high blood pressure?
Everyone’s blood pressure goes up and down throughout the day, depending on your activity and stress level. For adults, blood pressure should be less than 120/80.
If your blood pressure regularly is 140/90 or higher, your healthcare provider may say you have high blood pressure or hypertension.
If your blood pressure is routinely above 120/80 but lower than 140/90, you may be diagnosed with prehypertension.
Why should I be concerned?
High blood pressure can cause problems throughout your body:
- It stretches and weakens the walls of your blood vessels.
- This causes scarring, which can act like a net to catch cholesterol, blood clots and plague.
- This build-up narrows your blood vessels, making it more difficult for oxygen-rich blood to reach your organs and tissue.
- This makes your heart work harder to pump blood.
All of this damage increases your risk of life-threatening health problems, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
How can I control my blood pressure?
Making a few changes to your daily habits can be all that’s needed to lower your blood pressure:
Limit the amount of sodium (salt) in your food to 1,500mg or less every day. Don’t forget to check food labels on items like canned soup and frozen dinners which can have unexpectedly high amounts of sodium.
Eat bananas, potatoes, grapefruit and other healthy foods that are high in potassium. This can counter the effects of sodium.
Eat foods with less cholesterol and saturated and trans fats
To lower your blood pressure, getting 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity three to four times a week.
- Walking quickly (3 miles per hour or faster)
Don’t drink too much
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
Women of any age and men older than 65 should have no more than one alcoholic drink a day. (One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.)
Men age 65 and younger should have no more than two drinks a day.
Check your meds
Ask your healthcare provider if any prescription or over-the-counter medicines including birth control pills, could be increasing your blood pressure.
If your healthcare provider prescribes blood pressure medicine, create a routine that will you remember to take it.
Stop using tobacco
Smoking or chewing tobacco raises your blood pressure and releases chemicals that damage blood vessel walls. Work with your healthcare provider or find a community program to help your break the habit.
Find ways to reduce stress such as exercising, meditating or talking with a friend or family member.
Role of salt in hypertension
“I just need to cut down on my salt intake” The recommended daily limit is 5g of salt, which is a bit more than a teaspoon.
“Salt is not a big deal if you don’t have hypertension” Too much salt can lead to hypertension and eventually, heart attack and stroke.
“Himalayan salt is healthier than table salt” Table salt, sea salt, Himalayan salt, kosher salt and rock salt are equally high in sodium.
“You shouldn’t add any salt to your food if you suffer from hypertension” Only add salt after tasting your food. Oft for less salt and substitute with dry herbs, lemon, chilli, garlic and spices for flavour.
“Food without salt is bland and tasteless” Rather than adding salt, use herbs and spices to enhance the natural flavour of food. Garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander are excellent flavor enhancers.