Know how you can prevent hypertension

Hypertension is emerging as a major global  public health problem. Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the arteries have persistently elevated blood pressure.

Hypertension is emerging as a major global  public health problem. Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the arteries have persistently elevated blood pressure.

When one develops hypertension, there is no total cure. A person has to take medicines throughout life and is prone to develop adverse effects from the medicines.

Untreated, hypertension can lead to many complications in the body such as blindness, kidney failure, heart problems, among others. It is better to prevent development of high blood pressure in the body. There are certain  unavoidable factors which make one more prone to hypertension. These are advancing age and heredity.

But all other precipitating causes  can be very well avoided. Alcohol is a strong risk factor for hypertension. Avoiding alcohol can prevent hypertension as well as many other health problems.

Diet is an important factor involved in causing hypertension. Diet high in salt and cholesterol makes one more susceptible to high blood pressure. Processed and canned foods are harmful as they are high in salt. Food substances like baked foods, milk products like cheese and butter are rich in cholesterol and salt. Avoiding them and taking fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Regular physical exercise helps to burn the calories and also in avoiding hypertension. Minimum 30 minutes of exercise is useful. If not daily, then one should exercise at least thrice a week. Brisk walking, swimming, aerobics, light running and yoga, are beneficial exercises to help avoid or control high blood pressure.

Certain medicines such as corticosteroids, oral contraceptive pills, if taken for a long time, tend to cause hypertension. Hence, these should be taken when absolutely necessary and for minimum duration possible.

Physical and mental stress also makes one more prone to hypertension.

Do not overdo things beyond their physical capacity. Physical capacity for work can also be enhanced by good nutritious diet and regular physical exercise. Mental stress is an avoidable risk factor for hypertension. Yoga helps in total physical and mental relaxation.

Even if somebody has developed hypertension, these steps will help in keeping it controlled with minimum medication.

Dr Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

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