Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review

Blood pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body and the resistance it faces in doing that by the blood vessels. Hypertension or high blood pressure is medically defined as a persistent rise in systemic arterial blood pressure.

Hypertension is a major health problem due to its high prevalence, frequent underdiagnosis and the severity of its complications which include stroke, blindness and kidney disease. The risk of high blood pressure typically increases with age therefore it is sacrosanct that blood pressure is checked regularly especially for those at high risk.

Who is at risk for high blood pressure?

People with a family history of high blood pressure
Women who take contraceptives justify this
People over age 35
People who take alcohol in excess
People who eat foods with high salt or fat content
Inactive people like who and who


Let exercise be your best friend:

From the preventive point of view, did you know obesity puts you at risk of having hypertension among other medical conditions such as Diabetes mellitus?, exercise will help you lose some weight and keep you active. Weight loss is associated with an approximately 2.5/1.5 mm Hg drop for each kilogram lost. Exercises like jogging, cycling, walking and swimming can benefit reduction in blood pressure and make your heart stronger

Watch what you eat:

High fat diet especially trans-fat like fried foods, margarine, baked goods, processed snack etc. should be abstained from rather get your fat from high fat foods that are exceptionally healthy and nutritious like avocados, nuts, whole eggs and dark chocolate or a low-fat diet.

Subsequently increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Potassium rich fruits and vegetables like bananas, oranges, apricots, cooked spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers and peas in combination with a low-fat diet can reduce help BP by up to 11/6 mm Hg. Also cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates as excessive sugar gives your blood vessels more work to do in a bid to excrete it from the body.

Reduce your salt intake: Salt consumption raises the amount of sodium in the bloodstream which in turn causes hemodynamic changes that raise blood pressure especially when the kidney is unable to excrete the increased salt.

Definite advice on calling a halt from addition of salt to food– while cooking and at the table – should be given to reduce salt intake to 1 teaspoon per day. Reducing salt intake can cut BP by approximately 5/3 mm Hg.

Don’t Stress Yourself:

Excessive mental (in form of anxiety) and physical stress has been found to release the stress hormone Cortisol. While this DO is often overlooked it has proven beneficial over time. Manage your stress levels by getting enough sleep, pick up relaxation techniques like meditation, and also try to resolve stressful situations if you can.

Reduce your alcohol intake:

Excessive drinking can increase blood pressure to unhealthy levels due to cortisol release. While studies have shown red wine to be a cardioprotector it is effective only in moderation. Alcohol, particularly when taken in a binge pattern, is associated with increased risk.
Reduce or quit caffeine intake: Caffeine is capable of causing a temporary but deleterious increase in blood pressure especially for normotensive and hypertensive people alike.

Avoid a sedentary lifestyle: also termed the sitting disease a sedentary lifestyle predisposes you to an increase in blood pressure, obesity, diabetes mellitus, cancer so sit less and move more. Read on other negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle here
Quit smoking: Nicotine the major component of cigarette smoke raises blood pressure by at least 6%. More damaging, tobacco can damage arterial wall lining causing arteries to narrow and increasing blood pressure

For most people with hypertension the daily ingestion of drugs can be mentally overwhelming however do not attempt quitting your meds or skipping doses over time. UNCONTROLLED HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE KILLS. Hypertension is not a terminal illness so you need not be overly worried as long as you follow your physician`s counsel. People with hypertension can live perfectly healthy lives as long as they live healthy lifestyles and use their medication properly. These lifestyle changes are beneficial for people at high risk of hypertension and those with hypertension alike.

On today's World Hypertension day, I ensure you to make sure you measure your blood pressure though regular checkups, control it via lifestyle modifications and following your physicians advice and you will be sure to live a long and healthy life.

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