Do you know that more than one in three adults worldwide is suffering from hypertension? Many of us even do not know that we have high blood pressure because it does not always cause symptoms. As a result, it leads to more than nine million deaths every year, including about half of all deaths due to heart disease and stroke. This year on World Health Day the focus is on this global health problem of HYPERTENSION.

The cases of hypertension or high blood pressure are increasing day by day and with it the risk for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure as well. This are lot of factors which are responsible for this problem of high blood pressure which includes modernisation, increased stress levels, hectic lifestyle, environmental changes and the most important is erratic and unhealthy eating habits.

In this modern world, people do not have time to prepare healthy food, forget about preparing they do not have time to eat food. Everybody looks in for easier options like packed foods, junk foods which are not only deficient in essential nutrients, but also very high in salt and calories which are major factors for high blood pressure.  But do not worry; high blood pressure is both preventable and treatable by greater awareness, lifestyle modifications, creating healthy habits and regular monitoring.

The following recommendations help in lowering the risk of high blood pressure and the complications associated with it;

  • Eating a balanced diet: A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low in fat and high in fibre is important for the good health. A healthy diet provides anti-oxidants and nutrients for overall development of body.
  • Reduced salt intake: One needs about 500 milligrams of salt everyday for body to function. Most people take in about 10 times that amount daily. The recommended amount of salt for people with high blood pressure is about 1500 milligrams a day. Any reduction in your salt intake will help. Avoid preparations which are very high in salt like pickles, sausages, packed and preserved foods.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight: Obesity is one of the major causative factors for hypertension. A little reduction in weight has successful effect on lowering of blood pressure in obese cases.
  • Regular physical activity: Regular exercise strengthens the heart and helps normalize blood pressure. Because it increases insulin sensitivity and stabilizes blood-glucose levels, it is one of the most effective treatments for insulin resistance, which often heralds hypertension.
  • Avoid alcohol: Alcohol contains calories and may contribute to unwanted weight gain — a risk factor for high blood pressure. Also, alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness and increase the side effects of some blood pressure medications. Heavy drinkers who cut back to moderate drinking can lower their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) by 2 to 4 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) by 1 to 2 mm Hg. 
  • Avoid tobacco chewing and smoking: Smoking injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries, thus increasing blood pressure.



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