Hypertension, alternatively known as high blood pressure, is a condition wherein a person’s blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. The normal range of blood at rest ranges between 100-140 millimeters mercury (mmHg) for systolic pressure and 60-90 (mmHg) for diastolic pressure. Anything above the given range is categorized as high BP. High blood pressure expressed over a long period of time poses severe threat to the cardiovascular health of a person. The World Health Organisation estimates about 7.5 million deaths appropriated to high BP alone in a year. It is one of the leading causes of cardiac events like stroke, heart failure, heart attack, et cetera.
The number of people living with hypertension all over the world is estimated to go up to a whopping 1.56 billion by the year 2025. This World Hypertension Day let us understand the condition better and ways through which we can help our loved ones manage it better. What causes hypertension? Physical inactivity Unhealthy diet laden with processed food items Excessive weight High-salt-low-potassium diet Alcohol and tobacco abuse Prolonged stress and anxiety Things to avoid While fresh fruits and veggies can help battle high blood pressure, you must know the ingredients that should certainly be off limits in order to curb high blood pressure. Pickles and condiments Yes, the most loved condiment of India is laced with salt and can wreak havoc on your elevated blood pressure. Ditch those sauces and readymade dips as well. Canned food items Most savoury canned items use high amount of sodium for preservation purpose. Steer clear of these products to keep your blood pressure under check. Alcohol Alcohol consumption has been tied to elevated blood pressure levels. Regular alcohol consumption can damage the arterial walls and trigger further complications. Check with your healthcare practitioner about repercussions even if you are a ‘social’ drinker. Processed foods A diet high in processed ingredients is usually loaded with extra sugar and salt. One must try to maintain a healthy weight in order to keep blood pressure normal. A diet with excess sugar and salt is detrimental in cases of high blood pressure; it may also trigger obesity which can further cause the blood pressure levels to increase. Bacon and red meat A blood pressure friendly diet should always include only limited amount of saturated or trans-fat. Items like bacon and red meat contain sodium naturally and have significant amounts of fat; frequent consumption can contribute to the thickening of arterial walls and complicate the ongoing issue high blood pressure. “A person with elevated blood pressure must ensure consuming less than 2400 mg of sodium daily. Fat content in daily diet should also be monitored and regulated closely, especially saturated fats and trans -fat. Check your cholesterol levels regularly. Eating foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium will help lower high blood pressure.”