Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hypertension Diagnosis: Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Normal Blood Pressure

With about 972 million people suffering from hypertension globally, the condition is now becoming a public health problem across the globe. There are several challanges to normalize blood pressure levels and different concepts associated with diagnosis of hypertension. This article provides critical insights into what hypertension means and how it is measured. Also this article provides specific diet and lifestyle  recommendations control the hypertension effectively.

What is Hypertension?: Hypertension Diagnosis

Blood Pressure
and Heart
The normal reading for blood pressure in adults is 120/80 mmHg. The range is indicative of the pressure with which the blood flows through the arterial blood system. The upper reading (i.e. 120 mmHg) is the pressure with which the blood flows through the arterial system when the heart is contracting (Systolic pressure) and the lower reading (i.e. 80 mmHg) is the pressure when the heart is relaxing (diastolic pressure).

Readings above this level are a major risk factor for the development of cardio-vascular disorders and is indicative of hypertension. These hypertension readings are clinically classified into the following ranges,

  • Pre-hypertension: 120 – 139 mm Hg (Systolic) / 80 – 89 mmHg (Diastolic)
  • Borderline hypertension 120 – 160 mm Hg (Systolic) / 90 – 94 mmHg (Diastolic)
  • Mild hypertension 140 – 160 mm Hg (Systolic) / 95 – 104 mmHg (Diastolic)
  • Moderate hypertension 140 – 180 mm Hg (Systolic) / 105 – 114 mmHg (Diastolic)
  • Severe hypertension is categorized when the blood pressure readings are 160 and above mm Hg (Systolic) / 115 and above mmHg (Diastolic)
Signs and Symptoms of Hypertension: Causes for Abnormal Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is closely related to the diet and lifestyle of an individual. the cause is usually multi-factorial. These factors have a direct effect on the cardio-vascular health.
  • Atherosclerosis (or cholesterol – containing plaque deposition within the arteries) causes the blood pressure to rise. a cholesterol build-up is associated with a high fat diet.
  • Stress is a major contributing factor to the development of high blood pressure.
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diet that is high in sodium, high in fat, high in refined carbohydrates, low in fibre, and low in magnesium is responsible for hypertension.
Pre-hypertension to mild hypertension may go unnoticed, since these readings could be asymptomatic (i.e. without any presenting symptoms). Symptoms that show up range from – occipital (just above the nape of the neck) headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.

Normal Blood Pressure and Hypertension: Diet for Normal Blood Pressure

Vegetarian Diet improves
Hypertension Management
Achieving the ideal body weight would be the primary pre-requisite for lowering high blood pressure. Studies show that individuals with fat around the belly region are at higher risk of developing hypertension. Overweight individuals who lose even moderate amounts of weight, experience a reduction in the blood pressure.
  • Opting for a vegetarian diet is recommended. Make the switch gradually, by incorporating more and more veggies in to your diet and cutting down on animal products.
  • A vegetarian diet contains more magnesium,potassium, vitamin C, and fibre. All these have a favorable influence over the blood pressure level.
  • Sodium restriction helps lower blood pressure. Avoid table salt and prepared / processed foods. They are loaded with sodium. Before buying packed products, ensure that you check the sodium content in them. Salt substitutes are also advocated.
  • Boost your potassium intake by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Potassium protects the heart.
  • Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol ought to be eliminated from the diet completely.
  • There are certain herbs to control hypertension which can be incorporated in the regular diet which in turn can help control hypertension naturally.
Lifesytle Modifications to Control Hypertension: Normal Blood Pressure at Home
In addition to improving dietary factors, there are a host of other practices which can help regulate blood pressure levels and treat hypertension. Here are certain tips,
  • Regular excercises like simple streching excercises or jogging can be beneficial to control blood pressure. These excercises help improve cardiac function and also improve regulation of blood pressure. Excercise for about 45 minutes per day is recommended. However, check with your physican before starting an excercise regimen. Dont indulge in weight lifting and heavy and strenous excercise especially if you suffer from cardiac problems.
  • Meditation and yoga practice is also considered beneficial in controlling hypertension. Meditation and yoga helps reduce physical and mental stress and help in improving cardiac functions.
  • Ensure that you get adequate amount of sleep. Disturbed sleep can affect hormonal production in the body which in turn can result in hypertension.
In addition to these dietary guidelines, regular exercising or yoga practice can be beneficial. Exercise helps burn down fats and prevents the occurrence of chronic disease conditions. Meditation techniques to reduce stress also play a crucial role in the effective management of hypertension. 

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