Hypertension – The silent killer

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A household word today; hypertension or high blood pressure is the most prevalent chronic disease in India and round the world .One in every 4 adults has it, and it is a major risk factor for heart and kidney diseases, stroke and heart failure.

Hypertension is simply an indicator of the speed at which blood smoothly passes through your veins and the amount of resistance the blood meets while it’s pumping .

 

Two prevalent types:

Primary hypertension– it may develop as a result of environmental or genetic causes and may develop gradually over a period of many years.

Secondary hypertension– this type tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. It’s mostly caused by underlying conditions or medications like sleep apnea, kidney problems, thyroid problems, illegal drugs, alcohol abuse.

Hypertension is termed  the ‘silent killer’  because it often gives no warning signs or symptoms until blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.

 

 

Factors you can control / Lifestyle modifications

Many causes lead to increased blood pressures but the answer lies in following a natural lifestyle based on more plant foods ; more servings of fruits and vegetables; less animal and processed foods (the highest carrier of sodium ) Why ? The more unnatural the digestive load on the body the higher the pressures on the circulatory system

  • Maintaining a healthy weight- hypertension is closely related to excess body weight and weight reduction is often followed by fall in blood pressure. A healthy balanced diet according to the individual’s size, gender and activity level will help.
  • Regular exercise- improves circulation, thereby effectively reducing blood pressure (2)
  • Reducing salt intake- Read your labels . The body needs sodium found in natural foods not sodium chloride aka table salt .Cutting back on it helps.
  • Consuming potassium rich foods- Potassium counteracts the effect of sodium and helps prevent high blood pressure. It is easily available from the diet, so supplements aren’t necessary. Many fruits and vegetables are good sources. Eg. avocado, spinach, sweet potato, pomegranate, coconut water, banana. Look out for labels with hidden salt and its derivatives .Increasing potassium also found in fruits (with skin) ; whole grains, pulses etc
  • Drinking alcohol raises blood pressure to unhealthy levels . Avoiding or drinking way below moderation is highly recommended(3)
  • Bust that stress- Stress can make pressures go up. Chronic stress is one of the prime cause. Stress management techniques such as stretching , yoga , being in nature, hobbies, positive relationships go a long way to deal with this issue. Plenty of sleep helps too. A light chamomile tea post dinner works wonders.

 

Many causes lead to increased blood pressures, but the answer lies in following a natural lifestyle based on more plant foods ; more servings of fruits and vegetables; less animal and processed foods (the highest carrier of salt)

Good – lean protein, whole grains (quinoa, oatmeal), fruits (Banana, avocados, kiwis, berries), green leafy vegetables, garlic and herbs, olive oil

Bad – salt (canned/frozen/processed foods, pickles), alcohol, coffee, high fat meats

 

A green juice recipe when taken in daily is effective in dealing with hypertension

Green glow juice

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

1 tomato

Half apple

8-10 spinach leaves

Juice of Half lime

Bunch of coriander

Rock salt (optional)

Recipe:

  1. Put all the ingredients except lime juice and salt in a blender and grind them. Strain the mixture.
  2. Add fresh lime juice and rock salt. Stir well.

 

Enjoy a relaxed body beat …..

 

References:
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/402794
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/94/4/857.short
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-1716.1960.tb01953.x/full
http://physrev.physiology.org/content/47/2/178.short
https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/49778
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/195419
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673684900606

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