Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the wall of blood vessels to flow of blood. The blood pressure varies according to the age, physical activity, amount of stress faced by a person and other factors, within a normal range.
When it exceeds the normal upper limit, then it is called a high blood pressure or hypertension.
Blood pressure is measured by the sphygmomanometer. It is read as systolic (upper level caused due to pumping of the heart) /diastolic (lower level caused due to relaxation of the heart muscle) this upper limit is 140/90 mm.Hg. for majority of people. But for diabetic persons, upper limit for normal is considered to be 130/80 mm.Hg.
It is important for every individual to keep his blood pressure within normal limits. High blood pressure poses risk for heart attacks, strokes, sudden blindness, and kidney problems and reduced circulation in legs.
To keep blood pressure within normal range, a person has to adopt the necessary measures. These measures include control of the risk factors causing high blood pressure.
First important measure to achieve the target normal blood pressure is to reduce excess body weight and avoid obesity.
Regular exercise is a must for this. It is essential to go exercise at least for 30 minutes, if not daily then 3 times a week. Brisk walking, light jogging, swimming, aerobics, e.t.c., all forms of light exercises are good.
Yoga offers the additional benefit of mental relaxation, regulation of body physiology, along with physical exercise. However, exercises like weight lifting which involve contraction of muscles should be avoided.
They induce release of adrenalin in the body which in turn increases blood pressure.
Dietary approach to stop hypertension is required by those suffering from high blood pressure. This includes taking a diet which is low in fat and salt. Milk products like cream, butter, cheese, clarified butter (ghee), which is rich in fats, have to be avoided. Among meat products, fish is low in fats and should be consumed in preference over goat meat or chicken.
Eggs are also not desirable as they are rich in cholesterol. Canned and processed foods have a high salt content and are not healthy for anyone. White sugar has no nutritional value and contributes to obesity.
Therefore it is best avoided. One should take plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cereals to maintain normal blood pressure.
Tobacco used in any form whether smoked or consumed orally is a potent risk factor to cause hypertension and prevent good control. Therefore it is important for any individual addicted to tobacco to give it up.
Alcohol contributes much to obesity, hypertension and heart diseases along with other harmful effects. Therefore taking alcohol is not a healthy habit and one should try to quit it.
Apart from maintaining a normal body weight, regular exercise and correct diet, a person needs to be physically and mentally relaxed to keep blood pressure under control. Regular sleep helps the body to relax.
A positive attitude towards life, creative activities help the mind to be relaxed. Meditation, regular prayers, e.t.c. techniques for mental relaxation are equally important in this regard.
If in spite of the above measures the blood pressure remains high, then one has to take medicines to keep it controlled. These antihypertensive medications have to be taken regularly on a doctor’s advice.
Many times people take these drugs for a while. After they start feeling good and the blood pressure becomes normal, they stop it on their own thinking that it is no longer necessary to continue these drugs.
Unfortunately many of these people land in the hospital with severe hypertension or its complications. Therefore antihypertensive drugs should not be stopped or changed without the doctor’s advice. On experiencing any adverse effects of the drugs one should report to the doctor, instead of stopping them.
High blood pressure is a common malady now in today’s competitive world. Therefore instead of being scared of it, an individual should take steps to prevent it if possible or at least to keep it under control.