Most of us have heard of the term ‘high blood pressure’, some of us also have it. In fact, one in every three Indians has high blood pressure and the numbers are rising. Usually we just accept it and take medicines for it life-long. Since, so many people around get it, we assume it’s a ‘normal’ part of life and move on.
Did you know that high blood pressure is one of the most common lifestyle diseases in the world? Today we are seeing it in younger age groups too. Did you know that a high blood pressure can result in angina, heart attacks, stroke and kidney disease?
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the amount of pressure that the heart has to exert to push the blood so that it circulates throughout the body.
What causes the blood pressure to go high?
Fats from animal products or refined plant products like oil thicken the blood making it harder to flow. Thus the heart has to work harder resulting in higher blood pressure. Over a period of time, this thickened blood causes injuries on the artery wall. These are ‘bandaged’ with cholesterol.
As the blood vessels get sclerosed or narrow because of a lining of cholesterol and calcium, the heart needs to exert even more pressure in order for the blood to flow throughout the body resulting in a rise in blood pressure too.
Of course smoking, lack of physical activity, stress and alcohol also contribute.
How can you tell if you have high blood pressure?
Symptoms of high blood pressure can vary – from chronic headaches, dizziness and vertigo, blurry vision, drowsiness and fatigue, impotency, breathlessness, palpitations, etc. Of course, measuring the blood pressure will let you know the exact situation.
The average normal range is 120/80 mm Hg. Anything higher may need attention.
What should one do to ensure the blood pressure remains normal?
The best solution is to go on a low fat diet. Since all animal products are high in fat and refined plant foods are high too, we recommend a whole plant based diet.
Exercise, a positive attitude, getting enough sleep, stress-management, avoiding caffeine, smoking and alcohol are some other equally important aspects.