World Hypertension DayPosted on: 17/05/2021
Observed on the 17th May every year, World Hypertension Day aims to educate the public and increase awareness of hypertension, which is also commonly known as high blood pressure.
Hypertension is a major cause of a range of health problems such as strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease, and can also contribute to dementia. Many people who suffer from hypertension are not aware that they have it as there can be no symptoms, often people only find out after suffering a heart attack or stroke.
How can I reduce my chances of developing hypertension?
- Quit smoking
Smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health.
- Eat healthily
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hgif you have high blood pressure. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of hypertension.
- Limit alcohol
Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain; both of which raise your risk of health problems.
- Manage stress
Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. Occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking.
- Keep your cholesterol levels under control
High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels, making you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke. It is mainly caused by eating fatty foods, lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking and alcohol consumption. You can lower your cholesterol by eating healthily and getting more exercise. Some people also need to take medicine.
- Check your blood pressure
It is important to get your blood pressure checked at least once a year for most adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Introduce lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier and exercising, to prevent or control high blood pressure.
- Manage diabetes
Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. That is because high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. Therefore, it is important to get tested for diabetes
- Get enough sleep
Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. If you don't get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, all of which can raise your risk of hypertension.
Making some or all of these lifestyle changes can drastically reduce your likelihood of having hypertension, as well as improving your overall health.