An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is true in essence of all aspects in life, even more, resonated well with those facing health problems. Hypertension, one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, is a public health challenge in both economically developing and developed countries. Given its lack of symptomatic presentation, significant numbers of individuals with hypertension are unaware of their condition.
Before you are faced with the final verdict of having to deal with hypertension later in your life, consider these 5 effective measures to prevent it:
To help manage your blood pressure, you should limit the amount of sodium (salt) that you eat, and increase the amount of potassium in your diet. It is also important to eat foods that are lower in fat, as well as plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consider following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, which is a proven way to help manage blood pressure.
DASH diet is high in dietary fibre, moderate in total fat and protein, and low in saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and sodium. It emphasizes increased fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats.
Potassium is an important key contributor in the DASH diet. It is naturally found in potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, kidney beans, bananas, avocados, fish, and milk. Studies showed that a daily intake of 4,100 mg of potassium through 8.5 daily servings of fruits & vegetables lowered blood pressure by 7.2/2.8 mmHg (systolic/diastolic) in hypertensive individuals, compared to a dietof only 3.5 servings of fruits & vegetables (providing 1,700 mg of potassium).
You should also reduce intake of processed foods as it is usually high in salt and bad fats. Dehydration can contribute to hypertension because it makes the body retain sodium. Therefore, drink adequately to prevent hypertension and helps flush toxins from the body.
You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from physical activity. Although the more exercise you get, the better, but even light activities if done daily can help lower your risk. In fact, people who are physically active have 20% to 50% lower risk of acquiring hypertension than people who are not active. Try to achieve the recommended 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise for adult, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.
Being at a healthy weight
Body mass index or BMI was an important predictor of hypertensive risk. Studies have shown that higher BMI and weight gain, even if within the normal BMI range (18.5-24.9) was associated with greater risk of hypertension. However, the degree of increases varies, with overweight to obese subjects experienced a 1 mmHg increase in diastolic pressure for every increase in body mass while normal BMI individuals experienced an increase in 0.89 mmHg diastolic pressure.
Being overweight (BMI: 25–29.9) or having obesity (BMI more than 30) was also reported to increase your risk of hypertension by two to six times than normal individuals. Accordingly, those who are overweight should try to lose weight, while those who are of normal weight should avoid adding on any kilos. Maintaining a healthy weight will not only help you control high blood pressure, it will also reduce your risk for other health problems.
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women only one.
Cigarette smoking undoubtedly raises your blood pressure and even increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, talk to your healthcare provider in seeking the best way for you to quit.
Stress can cause temporary increase in blood pressure, and over time may contribute to the cause of high blood pressure. You can improve your emotional and physical health and even lowering your blood pressure by learning how to relax and manage stress. Try any stress management techniques that you find helpful such as exercising, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
Monitor your blood pressure
Make sure that you have your blood pressure measured regularly, either by professional help or you can get it done at home. High blood pressure is not a symptomatic diagnosis, so only blood pressure readings will tell you if your blood pressure is on the rise. If you have prehypertension (blood pressure in the range of 120-139/80-89 mmHg), your doctor may recommend other interventions to prevent the development of hypertension.
Most hypertension prevention can be achieved through lifestyle modification. Hence, consider giving up some of your bad habits. This will not only prevent you from getting hypertension, but it will also increase your overall well-being.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: July 19, 2018 | Last Modified: July 19, 2018
Kearney, Patricia M., Megan Whelton, Kristi Reynolds, Paul K. Whelton, and Jiang He. “Worldwide Prevalence of Hypertension: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Hypertension 22, no. 1 (January 2004): 11–19.