Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lifestyle Changes to Control Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common illness  which if left untreated can cause complications like heart attack, stroke, renal failure.

The 7th report of the Joint National Committee by Heart, Lung, Blood intitute , Maryland, USA in 2003 are widely  followed guidelines on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of hypertension.

As per the JNC 7 guidelines , the salient points are as follows:

  • Stages of hypertension:
    1.  Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) lesser than 120 and Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP) lesser than 80: optimal blood pressure
    2. SBP greater than 120 but lesser than 139 and DBP greater than  80 but lesser than 90: Prehypertension (boderline)
    3. SBP greater than 140 but lesser than 159  and DBP greater than 90 but lesser than 100: First Stage  of Hypertension
    4. SBP greater than 160; DBP greater than 100 : Second Stage of hypertension

  • Risk factors or factors which promote the propensity of a person to develop hypertension are:
         - increased weight
         - decreased physical activity,
         - less vegetables and fruits in diet,
         - excess dietary sodium intake and 
         - decreased intake of potassium,  
         - increased intake of alcohol.

It is important to keep blood pressure in control and a few lifestyle changes which can make a huge difference in that respect are as follows:

1. Lose weight
It has been seen that every 1% reduction in weight can decrease blood pressure by one unit. Therefore a weight loss of 10 kg can reduce blood pressure by 6-10 units (mm of hg)

2. Decrease salt in diet

  • Salt has high sodium content which should be avoided in  hypertensive patients.  Sodium is a mineral in blood.
  • There are tests available to test levels of sodium in blood.
  • Therefore it's best to choose plant based food or packaged food which clearly states 'low sodium' or ' no added salt'
3. Build in an exercise routine
Thirty(30) minutes of moderate intensity workout on most if not all days of a week is recommended.

4. Increase potassium rich food in diet
  • Potassium is a mineral in blood
  • There are tests available which can test the amounts of potassium in your blood.
  • Foods rich in potassium are  meats, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and fruits such as bananas. 
5. Decrease alcohol intake
A man should not exceed 2 standard drinks/day while a woman should not exceed 1 standard drink/day
Atleast 2 alcohol free days in a week should be practiced.

No comments: