Let’s Talk About Blood Pressure
Blood pressure or BP is so common that one in eight Indians has BP. It is one of the leading causes of heart diseases. Blood pressure, however, is completely controllable. But the hindrance lies in lack of awareness. A lot of people with blood pressure don’t even know that they have the condition. This can lead to severe complications.
World Heart Day, observed around the world on 29th September, is an ideal occasion to ponder over various factors that contribute to heart diseases. Blood pressure, as we have already mentioned, tops the list of causes that leads to heart diseases.
Let’s take a look at the ways in which blood pressure contributes to heart disease, how it can be controlled, what is the ideal blood pressure range and what those numbers indicate.
Blood pressure and heart disease
High blood pressure causes a lot of strain on the coronary arteries that carry oxygenated blood to the heart muscle. As a result, over a period of time, the arteries get narrowed by the accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances that are together known as plaque. This slows the blood flow to the heart and the condition is called atherosclerosis.
Blood clots become more common when the arteries get hardened. When the blood flow to the heart is interrupted either due to the accumulated plaque or blood clot, it results in the damage or death of a part of the heart muscle. Known as heart attack in common parlance, doctors call this myocardial infraction.
Know Your BP
Let’s take a look at the three blood pressure ranges, what they mean, and what you need to do about them.
90/60mmHg to 120/80 mmHg: Normal: Follow a balanced diet & exercise regularly
< 90/60mmHg: Low BP: Consult your doctor to avoid complications
> 120/80 mmHg: High BP: As per doctor’s advice take medication and make necessary lifestyle changes
How is BP measured and what do the numbers indicated?
Traditionally, BP is measured with the help of a BP apparatus. Nowadays, with the advent of technology, a lot of digital machines are available to gauge BP.
BP is recorded as two numbers: systolic blood pressure & diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic BP, the first number, indicates the amount of pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls when your heartbeats.
Diastolic BP, the second number, indicates the same when your heart rests between beats.
How to control your BP
If your BP is slightly above the normal range and you want to control it or if you want to take preventive measures against BP, you can do it by making the following lifestyle changes.
Reduce weight: Along with weight increases your blood pressure. Shedding those extra kilos and reducing the bulging waistline can help you reduce weight and lower your BP.
Exercise regularly: Well, one of the best ways to reduce your weight is to exercise. Studies suggest that 30 minutes of exercise daily can reduce your BP by about 5 to 8 mm Hg.
Eat a healthy diet: The first step to a healthy diet is to shun junk foods, of all types. Include whole grains, vegetables and fruits in your diet.
Reduce your salt intake: Salt causes your BP to go high. From pickles to papad, you consume a lot of salt every day. Just say goodbye to rich-in-salt foods.
De-stress: Stress causes your BP to shoot up. Find ways to relax and be calm. Read, listen to music, watch movies, talk to friends…
Say no to smoking: The cigarette you smoke can increase your BP for several minutes; quit smoking.
Limit alcohol intake: Excessive drinking elevates your BP.
Monitor your BP at home: There are different gadgets that will help you monitor your BP at home easily.
When it comes to your heart health, it’s absolutely necessary to control your blood pressure. Consider this World Heart Day as the right occasion to start habits that help you keep your blood pressure levels under control.