High blood pressure is often a silent usher of many serious diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, kidney disease and stroke. 120/ 80 mm of mercury (Hg) is thought to be the ideal blood pressure. BP varies to a great extent, depending on the age of the person and associated diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease. However, a resting systolic pressure (blood pressure when the heart contracts) above 140 mm of Hg and diastolic pressure (blood pressure when heart relaxes) above 90 mm of Hg is thought to be high. Thankfully, preventing high blood pressure or hypertension is not too difficult. Do it yourself, for your own health.
Tips to keep your BP in control
- I will stop smoking today and never restart! The nicotine in tobacco will not continue to harden my arteries and raise my blood pressure.
- I will reduce the amount of salt intake! The sodium contained in salt increases blood pressure. I will not eat more than 1 teaspoonful of salt (mixed in different foods) through the day.
- I will reduce the amount of junk food, fast food, processed food and food rich in saturated fat and cholesterol (like potato chips, fries, red meat, bakery products)! They lead to deposition of fat in the arteries, making them narrow, and increasing my blood pressure. Instead, I will eat at least two servings of vegetables, salad and fresh fruit everyday.
- I will exercise every day! I will do whatever keeps me active and on my feet like: jogging, brisk walking, workouts, gardening or even cleaning my home. I will find the time to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, and prevent myself from becoming overweight.
- I will drink in moderation! Even if I cannot avoid it completely right now.
- I will find time to relax and pursue a hobby I enjoy! I will not make a habit of bringing office work home on regular basis. Instead, I will spend time with my family and friends. I will also take periodic vacations.
- I will check my family’s medical records for any history of high BP, heart disease, kidney disease and stroke! All of these have high BP as one of their risk factors.
- I will go for a thorough health check-up at least once every year! This will detect early onset of any problem, and lead to better management.
- I will consult with my doctor if I notice symptoms! These include persistent headache, vertigo, or unexplained irritation. I will also have my blood pressure checked. If my doctor prescribes medicines to lower the blood pressure, I will take the medication religiously.
- I will spread awareness on prevention! I will spread the message of the consequences of high blood pressure, and motivate them to follow these simple rules.