Many people do not treat their “high blood” because they don’t feel anything and that this level is normal for them. I strongly disagree! This wrong concept of hypertension later leads to disaster. Don’t you know that researches have shown that persistently elevated BP even without symptoms leads to microscopic changes in the blood vessels so that after some years, this becomes a big problem? Most significant changes are hardening of the small blood vessels, also called arteriosclerosis. A persistently elevated BP takes its toll on the heart as it has to pump with more effort because of the strong pressure in the blood vessels. This results in heart enlargement and eventually to heart failure.
Remember: A constantly elevated blood pressure may not produce any symptoms at all since the body has already adjusted to it. It is when there is a sudden change or shift of blood pressure that you will get symptoms like dizziness and headaches. So don’t take your BP for granted! BP monitoring is necessary especially those diagnosed with hypertension and prescribed with maintenance antihypertensive medications.
LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION TO MANAGE HYPERTENSION
|Modification||Recommendation||Approximate decrease inSystolic blood pressure|
|Weight reduction||Maintain normal body weight(BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2)||5-20 mmHg|
|Adopting the DASH eating plan(Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)||Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products with low saturated and total fat content||8-14 mmHg|
|Reduce salt in the diet||Salt intake should be less than 6 gms NaCl||2-8 mmHg|
|Physical activity||Regular aerobic activity (brisk walking at least 30 mins/day, >4x per week)||4-9 mmHg|
|Moderation of alcohol consumption||Men: < or equal to 2 drinks/dayWomen: < or equal to 1 drink/day||2-4 mmHg|
|Smoking cessation||Reduces overall risk for cardiovascular disease|
*From the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation & Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7). 2003.
WHERE IS THE SALT?
(Hidden sources of salt or sodium-containing food as seen on food labels)
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