Nutrition for Hypertension.
Hypertension is one of the most prominent health problems worldwide. We are living in a rapidly changing environment where our health is influenced by urbanization, lifestyle changes, stress to keep pace with the changing world and physical inactivity. All these contribute to hypertension and when this is left untreated it can result in stroke and heart attacks. Maximum people, almost 90% to 95%, have essential or primary hypertension. The remaining people have acquired hypertension as a result of another disease and this type of blood pressure is called as secondary hypertension.
Definition and Classification
Hypertension is constant high blood pressure in your arteries or long-term force of blood against your artery walls. More the blood pumped in narrow arteries, the higher the blood pressure. Blood pressure is expressed in terms of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure (SBP), the blood pressure during the contraction phase of the cardiac cycle, has to be 140 mm Hg or higher; or the diastolic blood pressure (DBP), the pressure during the relaxation phase of the cardiac cycle, has to be 90 mm Hg or higher to be defined as hypertension.
Prevalence and Incidence
As of 2014, almost one billion people or 22% of the world population have been impaired with hypertension. Between 1980 and 2008 there was a fall in the rate of affected people modestly. But this increased rapidly in 2008, where the numbers affected increased from 600 million in 1980 to almost 1 billion in 2008. 1% to 5% of children and adolescents are suffering from hypertension. The risk of hypertension increases with age and men are more affected than women. Early detection and treatment of hypertension is essential in preventing cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Morbidity and Mortality
High blood pressure contributed to 9.4 million (18%) deaths in 2010. Between 1999 and 2009 the death rate due to hypertension increased by 17.1% in America alone. Also the death rate was 3.5 times higher in blacks than in whites in America.
In people with hypertension, increased resistance to blood flow (peripheral resistance) with normal cardiac output is the reason for blood pressure. The diameter of the blood vessel affects blood flow. When diameter decreases blood pressure and resistance increase and when diameter increases blood pressure and resistance decrease.
The nervous system and kidney maintain homeostatic control of blood pressure. The cause for varied blood pressure is multitudinous. In maximum cases peripheral resistance increases forcing the left heart ventricles to increase their effort in pumping blood eventually resulting in heart failure many-a-times.
Lowering blood pressure is synonymous with lifestyle changes. Lifestyle modifications are prescribed as the first course of medication by doctors before the need for actual medicines. The given below tips comes in handy to prevent hypertension.
- Maintain normal body weight: The risk of hypertension is two to six folds higher in obese individuals, especially women, than in normal people. It is essential to regularize your weight and prevent weight gain before midlife.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eat a nutrient-rich, low-fat diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meat and nonfat dairy products. Avoid consuming alcohol.
- Reduce sodium and lipid intake and increase your potassium, calcium and magnesium intake to lower blood pressure.
- Involve yourself in some physical activity: Active walking and aerobics for 30 to 45 min daily are super ways to maintain or prevent hypertension.
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When lifestyle changes do not give the desired result in lowering blood pressure even after 6 to 12 months medication is advised. But lifestyle modifications remain a part of medication as they help in increasing the performance of drugs consumed. Weight reduction is mandatory in individuals who are more than 115% the ideal body weight. This works similar to lifestyle modifications, in the sense, though not helpful for total cure weight reduction aids in increasing the efficacy of the drug used. Eating small portions through the day with large servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains does the trick for healthy diet maintenance. Bring in this change gradually to avoid frustration and dejection. Following the diet plan automatically reduces your sodium intake and increases your potassium intake (fruits and veggies such as orange, beans, spinach, bananas and sweet potatoes are rich in potassium) helping to lower blood pressure. Finally, engage yourself in some form of exercise for 30 to 45 minutes daily to lower your risk of hypertension.
Even small children and adolescents are not spared from hypertension. Increase in the number of kids affected with blood pressure is on the rise. Primary hypertension affects adolescents due to obesity or family history while secondary hypertension is more common among preadolescent children.
More than 50% of the older population is hypertensive. The points discussed above help to decrease hypertension as with young people. Authentic sources suggest drug treatment to be effective with the older adults.
As hypertension stands as the root cause for many more high-risk diseases it requires wise planning and implementation of the necessary steps to prevent and control hypertension for a better future.