According to an article that was published in the Gulf News in 2018, about 30 per cent of adults in the UAE have high blood pressure. This figure was based on three separate studies that were conducted in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. It is expected to increase even further in the coming years due to the lifestyle, diet, stress and other factors.
Called the “silent killer”, hypertension is a condition about which there needs to be greater awareness. Less than 50 percent of those who have the condition are aware that they have it. It is generally diagnosed only when it seriously affects the quality of life of the patient. About 10 million people across the globe die every year due to hypertension. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the condition is diagnosed in time and proper treatment is taken.
These facts highlight the need to spread general awareness about this disease, its symptoms and general precautions that could be taken to minimize its impact on the health of patients.
Hypertension is the term given when a person has high blood pressure, and the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels as it circulates is very high consistently. Such high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels and the heart for years without the person even realizing it. This can result in the formation of blood clots, thus blocking blood circulation and causing strokes and heart attacks. Strokes and heart attacks can lead to paralysis, dementia and even death.
In some cases, there is no particular cause for hypertension and this is called ‘primary’ or ‘essential’ hypertension. In other cases, hypertension is ‘secondary’ to an underlying condition, like a hole in a blood vessel or kidney problems.
What can be done?
Many behavioral patterns are considered to be factors that increase the risk for hypertension. These include smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and a bad diet. A family history of hypertension also increases risk of having hypertension. Adopting a good diet and exercise regimen can significantly lower the risk of developing hypertension and help keep hypertension under control if you have it already.
Steps you can Take to Reduce High Blood Pressure
1.Watch your Weight: Conventional wisdom says that higher the weight, higher your blood pressure. Being overweight can also lead to sleep apnea and this can further contribute to high blood pressure levels. In general, for every kilo you use, your blood pressure drops by 1 mmHg. You also need to keep a close eye on your waist measurement. Men with waist measurement exceeding 40 inches and women with waist measurement greater than 35 inches have higher risk of experiencing hypertension.
2. Regular Exercise: We might think that we are too busy to exercise but when we learn of the benefits that this can offer to our health, sparing 30 minutes to exercise on a daily basis does not seem like much. Exercising regularly can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure and prevent you from developing high blood pressure if you don’t have it.
3. Follow a Healthy Diet: A healthy diet that comprises plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products will help to keep hypertension at bay. Foods that are high in potassium like lima beans, peas, oranges, spinach and apricots are considered to be highly beneficial.
4. Reduce Salt intake: Do your best to limit or even avoid foods that have a high salt content like deli meat, packaged soups, instant puddings, salad dressings etc. The intake of sodium on a daily basis should not exceed 2300 mg. Carefully examine sodium content of all packaged foods you buy and use less salt when cooking.
5. Quit Smoking: Smoking a cigarette can increase your blood pressure for many minutes even after you finish. So, smoking in any form, whether it is cigarettes, cigars, electronic smoking, sheesha or in any other form something you should try to avoid.
6.Reduce Stress: Chronic stress can lead to elevated levels like high blood pressure. Though the exact correlation is still to be known, reducing or avoiding stressors or learning how to cope with them in a healthier manner can lead to lower blood pressure levels
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