Preventing hypertension: Tips to maintain healthy lifestyle, reduce high BP risk

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 08, 2023 10:55 AM IST

Many people don’t know they have hypertension as most heart patients are asymptomatic. Check tips to maintain healthy lifestyle, reduce high blood pressure risk

Hypertension is high blood pressure and blood pressure is the measurement of the blood where it passes through the arteries, so when it is elevated, we call it hypertension but many people don’t know they have hypertension as most of the patients are asymptomatic hence, they recognise the onset of hypertension when they feel complications like stroke, heart attack or kidney failure. Hypertension is the most common non-communicable lifestyle disease worldwide and is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, impacting the economic well-being of nations and families hence, urgent action is needed to address hypertension through effective healthcare policies since this condition is associated with vascular and organ damage, often linked to chronic kidney disease, diabetes and obesity, which further increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Preventing hypertension: Tips to maintain healthy lifestyle, reduce high BP risk (Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash)
Preventing hypertension: Tips to maintain healthy lifestyle, reduce high BP risk (Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rajsekhar Varma, Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Aster Medcity in Kochi, revealed, “Nearly 90 to 95 percent of the patients don’t show any specific cause for hypertension. If blood pressure remains consistently high even after multiple examinations, non-pharmacological treatment, which means treatment without medication, is initially recommended. However, if excessive hypertension is observed, medications will be used and prescribed.”

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He insisted, “Most important in the management of hypertension is lifestyle changes and modification. To treat hypertension, one must follow certain lifestyle changes, including diet control, exercise, taking medications and reducing alcohol consumption. Reducing the salt intake or salty foods like papad, pickle, cheese, chips etc. and less sugar consumption will help a lot. Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of other health problems.”

Calling smoking a major risk factor for hypertension, Dr Rajsekhar Varma advised, “Quitting smoking is the only solution you can do for your general health. When it comes to drinks, drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Drinking alcohol in moderation is advisable. Any resistance training like swimming, jogging or 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for hypertension.”

He added, “Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or spending time with loved ones. stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, Yoga is helpful. Try to attend any fun-filled activities with family and friends to relax your mind. Early detection and treatment of hypertension can help prevent serious health problems. Remember, hypertension management requires ongoing commitment and lifestyle changes. It's essential to work closely with your healthcare professional to develop a personalised plan based on your individual health condition and needs.”

Echoing that lifelong management is necessary to control blood pressure and prevent life-threatening complications, Dr Ravikeerthy M, Senior Consultant Physician at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital in Bengaluru's Kengeri, pointed out, “Current data shows that approximately 1.3 billion people suffer from hypertension, with a predicted increase of 15-20% by 2025. Hypertension prevalence rises with age, affecting over 60% of individuals older than 60 years and contributing to global cardiovascular disease and premature death.”

According him, preventable lifestyle factors such as dietary habits, smoking, stress and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to the development of hypertension. He said, “While pharmacological treatments are available, lifestyle management remains a key component of treatment. Adopting healthy habits can prevent hypertension in the long term. Lifestyle practices to prevent hypertension include quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and illicit drug use, following a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils.”

Dr Ravikeerthy M concluded, “Restricting the intake of sweets, sugary beverages, and red meat is advised. Dietary patterns such as DASH, USDA or AHA can help guide food choices based on calorie requirements and personal preferences. Reducing salt intake to less than 1.5 grams per day is recommended. Engaging in moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, spread across a minimum of five days with sessions lasting 30-40 minutes, is beneficial. Incorporating Yoga and meditation into daily activities can help reduce stress and prevent hypertension and its complications.”

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