Each year, nearly 1.5 million people fatally fall victim to high blood pressure or hypertension. Their death could have been avoided if only they made lifestyle changes and had avoided high risks associated with high blood pressure. We have to ensure we do not add to that dreaded statistics.
Blood pressure means the pressure of circulating blood on the walls of the blood vessels. Most of this pressure is from the heart pumping blood throughout the body. High blood pressure or hypertension is dangerous since it creates difficulties for the heart to pump out blood out.
What happens next, with the heart struggling to pump out blood? The arteries harden, stroke and kidney disease can result; the threat of heart failure increases multifold. The blood pressure value that is considered normal is below 120 over 80 (120/80). Those with values higher must consult a doctor to bring blood pressure back to normal.
What exactly causes high blood pressure is not known for certain, but we do know that many factors can lead to high blood pressure:
- Chronic kidney disease (heart and kidney ailments are closely entangled)
- Excessive salt in food, and eating too much oily, sugary food
- Insufficient physical exercise, a sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption (abstinence is best to avoid all sorts of medical and mental troubles)
- Smoking (which can also cause problems for people around the smoker, through passive smoking)
- Elderly – as age advances, the heart too ages
- Genes and hereditary causes, such as a family history of high blood pressure
What are some symptoms?
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
Many people ask if high blood pressure can be controlled using natural means. Yes, indeed. It is possible to return blood pressure to normal using natural methods and without medication. This needs lifestyle changes, though. A healthy lifestyle, healthy food, regular exercise can go a long way to reducing the stress of the body and mind leading to high blood pressure.
Healthy lifestyle as a treatment:
Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman of Narayana Health, says that if a youngster is diagnosed with high BP (blood pressure), he or she is advised to make certain lifestyle modifications. This includes a healthier diet, physical activity or exercise, yoga and meditation to reduce stress. Avoid consumption of alcohol and smoking.
If the patient is over 30-years, then they are prescribed with daily medication that must be strictly followed without excuse.
Dr. Shetty further advises patients: you must carefully follow your healthcare professional’s recommendations, particularly regarding taking daily medication. High blood pressure is a lifelong disease, and by co-operating with your healthcare team you successfully reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health. Once the treatment program becomes routine, it becomes easier to maintain lower blood pressure.
Remember that managing blood pressure means decreasing the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and kidney disease.
Therefore, it’s wiser to carefully listen to the doctor and follow the medical instructions with discipline in order to live a healthier life. A happier life needs a healthier life, and a healthier life needs a healthy heart.
Dr. Devi Shetty, leading Cardiac surgeon and Chairman of Narayana Hospitals, Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Bommasandra, Bangalore