While hypertension comes across as one of the major and most common ailments today, it causes are not unknown and are certainly such that can easily be avoided. Blood pressure is described as "the force of blood against the artery walls as it circulates through the body. High blood pressure or hypertension is the constant pumping of blood through blood vessels with excessive force," WHO. A healthy adult must maintain blood pressure levels at 120/80 mmHg. Experts also suggest hypertension to be a highly under-diagnosed ailment as some of the preliminary symptoms are usually hard to spot. Some of the most common causes of high blood pressure would include the following:
- Lack of physical activity
- Smoking or excessive drinking
- Lack of proper sleep or sleep apnea
- Family history of blood pressure
- Excessive salt consumption
The American Heart Association describes hypertension as a "silent killer". "If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life. It is a myth that people with high blood pressure will experience symptoms, like nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing," as mentioned on the official AHA website.
The key is to get your BP monitored regularly and get in touch with your medical expert in case of any significant spike in your BP levels.
Your blood pressure would always be directly correlated to your diet and the level of physical activity. Consuming a balanced diet and topping it with regular physical activity is the best way to ensure blood pressure maintenance. People with high blood pressure should cut down on their salt intake. Few other everyday foods that must be kept off limit would include pickles and condiments - as they include high amount of salt - refined or processed food items, canned foods and excessive alcohol.
"If you suffer from high BP, you must ensure consuming less than 2400 mg of sodium every day. Closely monitor the amount of fat that you consume, especially saturated fats and trans-fats. Get your cholesterol levels checked regularly. Load up on foods rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium as these will help bring down your blood pressure." noted Dr. Sunil Sharma, General Physician and Head of Emergency, Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, New Delhi.