World Health Day 2016 : Beat DiabetesGive your heart some love Hypertension is also called the silent killer because many individuals walk around with no clue that their blood pressure is high as it does not present with obvious symptoms. It is only by having your blood pressure measured that you can know your status. It’s in this spirit that the 2016 theme for World Hypertension Day is ‘Know Your Numbers’.
1.What is blood pressure?
It is the measure exerted by our blood on the blood vessel walls when it passes through the arteries.
2.What is normal Blood Pressure?
Since we all have blood flowing in our arteries and veins transporting gases and nutrients throughout the body, we all have blood pressure. The normal blood pressure is 120 Systolic and 80 Diastolic or 120/80
3.What is Hypertension or High blood pressure?
When the arteries and veins are constricted or lose their natural elasticity they become narrow. Smaller vessels mean that the heart has to work harder to pump the blood and that causes the blood pressure to increase.
A reading of anything over 140/80 is considered high blood pressure in adults. When these numbers go beyond 180/100, it is considered an emergency.
4.What causes hypertension?
The most common cause of hypertension is linked to poor lifestyle and diet choices. This is usually characterised by the following:
- Being overweight
- High salt intake
- Lack of exercise
- High alcohol intake
Other common causes include:
- Old age
- Kidney disease
- Adrenal and thyroid disorders
5.Can hypertension be prevented?
Yes. One simple way is through monitoring one’s lifestyle.
- Follow a healthy diet eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, moderate amounts of whole grains and high fibre, and a minimal amount of meat
- Cut down on salt and commercial spices. Get into the habit of seasoning food with natural herbs and natural spices.
- Cut out unhealthy fats
- Cut out processed foods e.g. packet soups, stock cubes salty snacks etc.
- Keep a healthy weight for your height (BMI 18-25)
- Get active by exercising for at least 30min five times a week
- Quit smoking (e-cigarettes included)
- Drink moderately
- Learn stress management techniques
- Reduce caffeine intake
Even when you have been diagnosed with hypertension, making the above changes may help to reverse the condition or at least manage it.
6.What are the dangers of Hypertension?
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to the following:
- Weakened Heart
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart failure
- Damage to the eyes affecting eyesight
7.How can you check your blood pressure?
By visiting your doctor, clinic or hospital. Pharmacies like Dischem, Clicks and others also offer BP screening at a nominal charge.
With these simple changes you can prevent and manage high blood pressure and enjoy improved quality of life. You deserve it.