In India, there appears to be a steady increase in high blood pressure or hypertension prevalence over the last 50 years, more in urban than in rural areas. Hypertension is 25-30 per cent in urban and 10-15 per cent in rural subjects… One fifth of the deaths in India are from coronary heart disease. By the year 2020, it will account for one third of all deaths. Sadly, many of these Indians will be dying young.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart and kidney diseases, stroke, and heart failure. High blood pressure is especially dangerous, because it often gives no warning signs or symptoms. Fortunately, you can find out if you have high blood pressure by having your blood pressure checked regularly. If it is high, you can take steps to lower it. Just as important, if your blood pressure is normal, you can learn how to keep it from rising.
How Can I Prevent High Blood Pressure?
You can prevent high blood pressure by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can make you two to six times more likely to develop high blood pressure than if you are at your desirable weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can make a big difference in helping to prevent and treat high blood pressure.
- Getting regular exercise: People who are physically active have a lower risk of getting high blood pressure – 20 per cent to 50 per cent lower than people who are not active. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to benefit from physical activity. Even light activities, if done daily, can help lower your risk.
- Reducing salt intake: Often, when people with high blood pressure cut back on salt, their blood pressure falls. Cutting back on salt also prevents blood pressure from rising.
- Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all: Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. To help prevent high blood pressure, limit how much alcohol you drink to no more than two drinks a day. For overall health, women should limit their alcohol to no more than one drink a day.
- Reduce stress: Stress can make blood pressure go up, and over time may contribute to the cause of high blood pressure. There are many steps you can take to reduce your stress.
Nutrients may also help prevent high blood pressure.
Here’s a roundup of the research:
- Potassium. Eating foods rich in potassium will help protect some people from developing high blood pressure. You probably can get enough potassium from your diet, so a supplement isn’t necessary (and could be dangerous without a doctor’s oversight). Many fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, and fish are good sources of potassium.
- Calcium. Populations with low calcium intakes have high rates of high blood pressure. However, it has not been proven that taking calcium tablets will prevent high blood pressure. But it is important to be sure to get at least the recommended amount of calcium 1,000 milligrams per day for adults 19 to 50 years old and 1,200 mg for those over 50 (pregnant and breastfeeding women also need more) from the foods you eat. Dairy foods like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of calcium. Low-fat and nonfat dairy products have even more calcium than the high-fat types.
- Magnesium. A diet low in magnesium may make your blood pressure rise. But doctors don’t recommend taking extra magnesium to help prevent high blood pressure the amount you get in a healthy diet is enough. Magnesium is found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dry peas and beans.
- Fish oils. A type of fat called “omega-3 fatty acids” is found in fatty fish like mackerel and salmon. Large amounts of fish oils may help reduce high blood pressure, but their role in prevention is unclear. Taking fish oil pills is not recommended, because high doses can cause unpleasant side effects. Most fish, if not fried or made with added fat, is low in saturated fat and calories and can be eaten often.
- Garlic. There has been some evidence to suggest garlic’s effect in lowering blood pressure, in addition to improving cholesterol and reducing some cancers. Further research is being conducted to fully assess garlic’s potential health benefits.
Always talk to your doctor before taking a dietary supplement or alternative herbal treatment. Some may interact with other medications you may be taking or have harmful side effects.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels), which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, and to the development of heart failure.
What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic). The ranges are:
- Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
- Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above
People whose blood pressure is above the normal range should consult their doctor about steps to take to lower it.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC
Alarming Statistics In India
- Current projections suggest that India will have the largest cardiovascular disease burden in the world.
- One fifth of the deaths in India are from coronary heart disease. By the year 2020, it will account for one third of all deaths. Sadly, many of these Indians will be dying young.
- Heart disease in India occurs 10 to 15 years earlier than in the west.
- There are an estimated 45 million patients of coronary artery disease in India. An increasing number of young Indians are falling prey to coronary artery disease. With millions hooked to a roller-coaster lifestyle, the future looks even more grim.
- There are at least 50.8 million diabetics in India, which is the highest ever reported number from anywhere in the world according to International Diabetes Federation. The prevalence of diabetes varies between 6-8 per cent in urban and 2-3 per cent in rural adults.
Indians tend to be diabetic at a relatively young age of 45 years which is about 10 years earlier than in West.
- The prevalence of diabetes varies between 6-8 per cent in urban and 2-3 per cent in rural adults.
- There appears to be a steady increase in hypertension prevalence over the last 50 years, more in urban than in rural areas. Hypertension is 25-30 per cent in urban and 10-15 per cent in rural subjects.
Sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of death, disease and disability. Physical inactivity increases all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and obesity. It also increases the risk of colon and breast cancer, high blood pressure, lipid disorders and anxiety.
Source : Neo CarDiabCare