World Hypertension Day: High blood pressure can easily damage the body for years before symptoms appear

Hypertension affects a quarter of the world’s population and is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality. Hypertension in young adults is now increasingly common in up to 1 in 8 adults. Early life factors, including genetics, ethnicity, and lifestyle contribute to high blood pressure. Because the duration of uncontrolled hypertension determines the amount of damage to the heart, kidneys, and brain, the health hazards associated with these young hypertensives will naturally be higher in their middle age.

Determination of hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) can simply be defined as a condition in which the blood column on the walls of blood vessels is too large. According to the latest NICE guidelines, hypertension is observed when in young adults (<40 гадоў) сісталічны артэрыяльны ціск (САД) > 140 mm Hg Art. and diastolic blood pressure (DBP)> 80 mm Hg.

What are the risk factors for hypertension?

Hypertension results from a combination of factors such as genetics, diet, lifestyle and age. Lifestyle factors include smoking, too much alcohol, stress, being overweight, too much salt and not getting enough exercise. Of these, the three main risk factors for hypertension in young people were smoking, mental stress and obesity.

Why is hypertension harmful ..?

High blood pressure (hypertension) can easily damage the body for many years before symptoms appear. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to disability, poor quality of life or even a fatal heart attack or stroke.

Healthy arteries are flexible, strong and resilient. Their inner shell is smooth so that blood flows freely, providing vital organs and tissues with nutrients and oxygen. High blood pressure (hypertension) gradually increases the pressure of the blood flowing through the arteries. Arteries that are narrowed and damaged by high blood pressure have problems with the blood supply to vital organs such as the heart, brain and kidneys.

Too little blood flow to the heart can lead to chest pain (angina), heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) or a heart attack. Hardness of the arteries caused by prolonged hypertension can affect the brain, leading to stroke, the kidneys – to chronic renal failure, and the retina – to vision loss. Similarly, poor blood supply to the penis due to arterial stiffness from high blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction in men, adversely affecting their quality of life.

How to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

Follow the waist line and lose weight:

Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you are overweight or obese can help lower your blood pressure.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of active activity per week. Evenly distribute the exercises for 4-5 days a week. Reduce time spent sitting or lying down, and reduce long periods of immobility with some exercise

Eat healthy:

Eat foods rich in fiber, lean meats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Increase the variety of plant foods consumed.

No smoking:

Smoking increases the risk of hypertension and heart disease by 2-4 times. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you smoke, quitting smoking will reduce heart disease.

Reduce sodium in the diet:

Limit salty processed (canned / frozen) foods. They often have a lot of sodium. Prepare and eat more food at home where you can control the amount of added salt (sodium).

Reduce stress:

Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Accidental stress can also lead to high blood pressure if you respond to stress by eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Monitor blood pressure at home and see a doctor:

Home monitoring can help you monitor your blood pressure by making certain changes to your lifestyle, such as exercise, yoga, that will alert you and your doctor to possible health complications.

The author is an interventional cardiologist and honorary consultant at Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai. Views are personal.

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