High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It is often called the silent killer because you can have it for years without being aware of it. If high BP is left unchecked, can cause severe medical problems such as heart diseases, strokes, kidney damage, and eye problems. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure more than 140/90 mm Hg is termed as high BP. If it is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, then you have prehypertension. This means that you don't have high BP now but are likely to develop it in the future. You can take steps to prevent hypertension by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Blood pressure normally increase during winter seasons as the blood vessel walls get hardened and blood flow becomes slow, raising the pressure of blood in the vessel walls. It is very common in elderly women after menopause due to hormonal changes. Men before the age of 40 are more prone to this condition due to emotional factors.
As High BP may lead to several serious problems, it is essential to control and manage the condition. If you are diagnosed as mildly hypertensive, you should start taking precautions to control the disease. Mild hypertension can be cured with precautions and regular checkups. Patients who do not care suffer from serve hypertension.
1. High BP is generally diagnosed by chance while treating some other disease. It rarely causes symptoms until organic damage has occurred. Thus, it becomes important to diagnose before this happens. Blood pressure should be checked at least once in two months and the aim of treatment should be to attain a blood pressure to the normal range.
2. Diet plays an important role in controlling High BP. Fat and sodium intake should be restricted. Avoid animal proteins, as they are high in fat and sodium. Vegetable proteins such as whole legumes and pulses are good sources of protein without very high levels of fat and sodium. Among pulses, green gram (moong) and red lentil (masoor) are useful, whereas split red gram (arhar) is harmful.
3. A good amount of potassium and calcium is important in cases of high BP. These are beneficial in reducing hypertension. Foods rich in potassium are cabbage, cauliflower, oranges, melons, grapefruit and banana. Foods rich in calcium are milk, yogurts, soya bean products, nuts, sesame seeds, pulses and green leafy vegetables.
4. Hypertensive patients should decrease the intake of fat. Fat in meal comes from oil used to cook vegetables as well as from other fried foods, milk products, seeds and nuts. Therefore, care should be taken to count the fat intake.
5. The patient should be given more dietary fibers as they help in lowering BP. Foods high in fiber are whole-grain breads, cereals, apples, oranges, strawberries, pears, bananas, asparagus, carrots, broccoli peas, corn, navy beans, lentils and chickpeas.
6. High intake of salt increases blood pressure, whereas mild intake helps in lowering blood pressure. Foods containing high amount of salt such as potato chips, popcorn, nuts, salted butter, processed cheese and snacks should be avoided. Also, avoid foods containing salt as preservatives such as pickles, chili sauce, ketchup, chutneys, soya sauce and garlic sauce.
7. Garlic (lahsun) is a valuable herb used in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It contains a substance called allicin, which relaxes the blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and reduces the damage to the blood vessels. Eat two or three garlic cloves daily. If you do not like the odor of the garlic, you can use garlic supplements instead. This is an effective home remedy for high blood pressure.
8. Celery (ajmoda) is also beneficial in high BP. You can consume celery in the form of juice. To prepare its juice, take some hard, straight and dark celery stalks. Then clean the celery and cut of the top and the bottom part of the stalks. Juice one whole stalk with your juicer and fill the celery juice into an 8 oz size glass. Stir the drink and drink it soon after preparation. Drink one glass daily for better results.
9. Another useful herb used to reduce hypertension is ginger (adrak). Add ginger to your daily diet as a spice. You can also consume it in the form of tea. To prepare ginger tea, peel a fresh ginger root and then cut 10 to 15 slices of it. Put the slices into a saucepan with four cups of water. Let the water boil on medium heat for 15 minutes and let the ginger steep for five minutes afterward. Then take out the ginger slices and add honey and lemon juice. Drink this tea twice or thrice a day. This is another simple and effective home remedy for high blood pressure.
10. Try to keep yourself away from any type of strain and stress. Be happy and do not encourage tension, fear, or anger. Increased psychological stress affects terminal blood vessels and makes them sensitive to circulating agents that promote normal blood circulation, leading to restricted blood supply and raised pressure.
11. Obesity is one of the major causes of high BP. The more the weight gains the more the risk of blood pressure. Hence, care should be taken to control excess weight gain. Nutritious diet and regular exercise helps in controlling weight. Hypertensive people are normally obese, so reduction in weight is essential.
12. The best way to keep your blood pressure under control is to involve in physical activities and exercise. Intermittent activity promotes blood circulation but vigorous activity decreases the oxygen supply and circulation. Do not stand for a long time or run to climb stairs.
13. Tea and coffee also raise blood pressure as they contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant for the heart. They should be restricted or better avoid them.
14. Alcohol intake should be strictly prohibited as it has direct influence on blood pressure. Smoking also increases the risk of blood pressure. Therefore, for a healthy heart, it is better to quit smoking.