Imagine you are alone at home and suddenly you feel nauseous, dizzy and your throat feels parched. You are perspiring profusely and you don’t know what to do? There is a high probability that you are suffering from high blood pressure and you were not even aware of the silent health issue that was slowly building up inside of you. High blood pressure can have fatal consequences if timely medical attention is not meted out with, on the onset of extreme systems. In this article, we will discuss this serious health issue and how making simple changes in your diet can help keep it under control.
What is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also termed as hypertension, is described in medical terms as the tension of the blood against the arterial walls. High blood pressure often goes undetected for prolonged time periods as it builds up inside the body owing to its symptoms being negligible in the initial stages. This is one of the reasons it is also known as the silent killer. The only way to keep track of hypertension is to make periodic visits to the doctor and monitor the blood pressure count. The normal range for the blood pressure of a healthy adult is 120/80 and when the reading goes to about 130/85, the doctor diagnoses the person as being hypertensive. Hypertension is definitely a cause for worry and the earlier the person gets the necessary treatment for the same to keep it under control the better. Prolonged ignorance of high blood pressure can lead to diseases, stroke, kidney diseases and it causes damage to the blood vessels.
Causes And Symptoms
Many factors can lead to high blood pressure. Some common ones are as listed below:
- Chronic health conditions related to the kidney, diabetes, hormonal issues, high cholesterol all can lead to hypertension.
- A sedentary lifestyle with little to no physical activity often leads to weight gain which is a major cause of high blood pressure.
- Certain medications as the kind used as contraceptives can cause high blood pressure.
- An unhealthy diet that is rich in the intake of processed and fatty food often leads to high blood pressure.
- Genetics can be another contributing factor to hypertension. Those with a family history are more prone to such diseases.
- The age of a person is another factor contributing to this disease. The older a person gets more chances are they will get high blood pressure and related illnesses.
- Smoking and drinking also lead to hypertension.
As mentioned earlier, a person having high blood pressure often don’t show any visible signs or symptoms that would caution them against the disease. Therefore, as the disease progress silently along the years and it gets to a point where medical attention would immediately be needed for the person, certain symptoms crop up. They often show as:
- Breathing difficult, most often shortened breath.
- Unexplained headaches.
- Bleeding from the nose.
- Sudden onset of dizziness.
- Changes in eyesight.
- Pain in the chest.
- The appearance of blood while urinating.
These symptoms may vary from person to person and it is not necessary that someone with a dangerous level of high blood pressure may show any or all of the above symptoms. The only way to properly diagnose would be to head to the doctor’s office and get the readings taken.
5 Simple Diet Tips To Control Hypertension
Our eating habits have a lot to do with our overall health and well being. The more we resort to processed, fatty, junk food to suffice our food cravings the more prone to diseases we get. Along with an unhealthy weight gain, various health issues plague our peace of mind out of which certain kinds like high blood pressure cause harm without any warnings until it is too late. Let us take a look at some eating habits to follow that would help keep hypertension at bay:
- Turn to dark chocolate to suffice your chocolate cravings – rich in the plant-based compound called flavonoids, dark chocolate aids blood vessels in dilation which promotes better heart health. In this way, it helps to reduce high blood pressure. Make sure to consume non-alkalized cocoa with no sugar as it is considered highest in flavonoid content.
- Say no to refined carbs and sugar – refined carbs and sugar do more harm to the body than good. The same is the case with high blood pressure as both have found to be contributing factors to the disease. This is mainly because refined carbs get converted to sugar in the blood at a much faster pace. Hence, consuming a low-carb diet helps those with high blood pressure to reduce the same over a period of time.
- Increase the intake of berries – polyphenol-rich berries are excellent for the heart. Being natural compounds found in plants, they help to keep diseases like stroke, heart conditions and diabetes at bay. they act as a contributing factor towards insulin resistance, lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation.
- Increase calcium intake – doctors always recommend a diet rich in calcium to those having hypertension. Many studies conducted showed that those consuming a calcium-deficit diet ended up having high blood pressure. Dairy, green leafy vegetables, sardines, beans, tofu all are rich in calcium.
- Add potassium-rich food to the diet – current eating trends have induced some bad food habits in people of which consuming more sodium and reducing potassium intake has paved the way for many diseases like high blood pressure. In order to counter the same, people should reduce or limit the intake of processed food and resort to eating whole, fresh produce like fruits and vegetables like potato, sweet potato, avocado, tomatoes, apricots, oranges melons, banana and others. Dairy, tuna, salmon, nuts, beans and the likes also provide natural potassium needed for the body. Potassium-rich food helps to lower blood pressure.
Foods To Avoid When You Have Hypertension
Not all kinds of food and food products are recommended for those with specific kinds of diseases. Those with high blood pressure should refrain from consuming certain types of food. They are:
- By all means those having hypertension must avoid consumption of salty food like bread, cold-cut and processed meat, certain soups, tacos, pickles, processed and salty chips, snacks, pizza, etc as they adversely affect fluid balance in the blood.
- Those with hypertension must cut down on sugar intake especially sweetened juices, candies, carbonated drinks and the likes that contribute to an unhealthy weight gain. This in turn is linked to an elevation in blood pressure levels.
- Those with hypertension must completely avoid trans-fats like the kind found in packaged food and saturated-fat like the kind found in butter, red meat, full cream milk, the skin of the chicken, etc. Both trans-fat and saturated fat is known to increase the LDL cholesterol level in the blood thereby increasing the occurrence of high blood pressure.
You are what you eat – an age-old, common saying that absolutely holds true especially for the current generation. Almost everyone enjoys an unhealthy indulgence regardless of their age and so the majority of the population today fall prey to various illnesses previously unknown to mankind. A surge in the case of those with hypertension is also one owing to such a scenario and the earlier people mend their careless attitude towards food intake the better. Resort to the whole, natural food rich in essentials nutrients, work-out daily for a fixed period of time and know your body and it’s natural needs; and rest assured anyone can stay healthy, fit and fine avoiding regular visits to the doctor’s office unless time calls for it. Eat healthily, live healthier.