This World Hypertension Day, read on to know more about how to prevent hypertension and ways to treat it
High blood pressure or hypertension if uncontrolled can cause several complications – heart disease, stroke, kidney disease etc. You need to work towards controlling your blood pressure in order to prevent the long-term ill effects of hypertension. If you already have hypertension, changing your lifestyle can go a long way in controlling your blood pressure. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining it is the best way to prevent hypertension.
“Setting a time table, which includes stress management, relaxation, time for workouts, staying away from oily, fatty food and unhealthy junk foods, sticking to the age old conventional diet that includes grains and cereals – all can help prevent hypertension and also from the risks of other diseases and complications,” avers Dr Vijay Surase, interventional cardiologist, Jupiter Hospital, Thane.
At times lifestyle changes are not enough. In addition to low-salt diet and exercise, you may need medications for your blood pressure. Your doctor is the best person to decide upon which medications are suitable for you. Diuretics or ‘water pills’ are prescribed for water and sodium elimination. Beta blockers may be given to lower the workload on your heart and open your blood vessels.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers medications – all help relax the muscles of your blood vessels; some slow your heart rate. Renin inhibitors slow down the production of renin, an enzyme produced by your kidneys, which helps lower your blood pressure.
Alpha blockers, alpha-beta blockers, central-acting drugs, vasodilators are other medications prescribed for lowering your blood pressure. A combination of low-dose medications has been found to be more effective than one single drug. It is important not to stop your hypertension medications abruptly. You have to take your medication as advised by your doctor.
Supplements of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), calcium, cod-liver oil, cocoa, coenzyme Q10, omega-3-fatty acids, garlic etc may help decrease your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor before you start taking them.
- Eat a nutritious diet. Eat healthy foods. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods may help. Eat less saturated fat and total fat. Potassium in diet; fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, soy products etc can help prevent and control high blood pressure
- Reduce salt in your diet. Around 1,500 milligram sodium in a day is the recommended amount for people with hypertension. For healthy individuals, 2,300 mg/day or less of salt consumption is adequate. Try and avoid the habit of sprinkling salt on your foods and reducing the intake of processed foods, which contain added salt
- Maintain your weight. In case you are overweight or obese, try and lose weight to reduce your blood pressure. Obese individuals are more prone to blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease
- Regular physical exercise for at least 30 minutes every day helps lower blood pressure and helps maintain weight. Yoga asanas, especially Shavasana helps in relaxation and lowering your blood pressure
- Stress is the main culprit for causing high blood pressure. Reduce the amount of stress, manage your stress with yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation exercises
- Do not smoke
- Limit your alcohol consumption – one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men
- Monitor your blood pressure at home. Regular monitoring helps keep a check on your blood pressure numbers