Did you know that 1.13 billion people worldwide have been affected with Hypertension? Predominantly on adults aged 25 and over. About an estimated 7.5 million deaths are attributed to raised blood pressure. Raised blood pressure is a major risk factor to coronary heart disease as well as hemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke according to the World Health Organization.
We are going to tell you about the story of our best friend who, at a young age, was diagnosed with this disease. How she is living her life now is truly amazing. Every day is a mountain of trials but everyday she succeeds.
She once told us, “The first time I have heard of hypertension was when I had my annual medical exam for our company. Most of the companies provide this to better take care of their employees’ health. The nurse told me, “you have high blood pressure!” So I asked what my blood pressure was, and she replied it’s 140/90. Pretty high for a 25 year old me!”
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is a condition in which the pressure in your blood vessels is persistently raised. Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood that is being pumped out by the heart and the amount of resistance it creates to the flow in your arteries. The more your heart pumps blood, and the narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure is. Reference: www.mayoclinic.org
How to know if you have it?
For most cases, hypertension develops over time as we age. Some may has other underlying conditions that might have brought about their raised blood pressure or as a medical practitioner call it, as secondary hypertension. These are to name a few:
- Kidney problems
- Sleep apnea
- Congenital conditions in your blood vessels
- Illegal drugs
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
Most people do not have signs or symptoms that they have high blood pressure. They can go about their daily activities without feeling anything, However, a few people have manifested symptoms of headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, and nosebleeds. Some of these may not occur until hypertension is at its peak or have reached a life threatening stage.
Who is at risk?
Having high blood pressure have several risk factors, they are:
- Age – As we age, our body ages and that includes our blood vessels too! The risk of having hypertension in men is more likely to occur at the age of 64 and women tend to have hypertension at the age of 65.
- Familial Background – Some history of hypertension runs in the family. You may recall your parents, grandparents or even relative may have histories of high blood pressure.
- Overweight/Obesity – while most common association of obesity is in diabetes, being overweight or obese may pose a serious risk factor of hypertension. Why? The more you weigh, the more blood your heart needs to pump so it can supply oxygen to your tissues, so does the pressure in your arteries.
- Stress – high levels of stress may increase your blood pressure temporarily. However, when dealing with stress you eat more, smoke, drink alcohol, to help you relax, then it will eventually increase your problems of having hypertension.
- Smoking – the chemicals that you inhale when cigarette smoking can increase your risk of having hypertension. They can damage the lining of your arteries and blood vessels, making it hard for the blood to flow.
- Too much Salt Intake – salt can increase water retention in the body that can increase blood pressure.
- Too much Alcohol Intake – drinking too much may eventually damage your heart and may increase your blood pressure.
- Poor Lifestyle Habits – a growing number of children have been found out to manifest symptoms of hypertension. This is due to poor lifestyle habits such are not having enough exercise or physical activity, obesity, and unhealthy diet.
Hypertension and its Complications
Due to its damaging effects to your arterial walls, the more it also affects your blood vessels as well as your organs. Uncontrolled high blood pressure may lead to complications, such as:
- Heart attack
- Kidney Failure
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Heart Failure
Hypertension and its Complications
Most of us have had our blood pressure taken in most of our visits to the doctor. A nurse would use a device that can measure blood pressure and it is called a sphygmomanometer. There are new ones in the market where it is already digital.
You may also ask your doctor if you need to monitor your blood pressure once every year for your routine check-up or once they find out that you are at risk of having hypertension.
It is advisable to have your blood pressure regularly checked once you reach adulthood from 18 years old or 18-39 years old if you know that you have a familial history of hypertension.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!
Before, she told us that it is difficult to even just walk, she easily gets tired, has low energy and every day is a struggle. Her weight is too high and her diet is unhealthy.
If you do not have any existing condition or familial history that can increase in developing hypertension, these are simple things you can do to prevent increasing your risk of having hypertension.
- Healthy Diet – eating a balanced diet with less fatty, oily, salty, and high in bad cholesterol food will lower your risk of having hypertension.
- Good amount of exercise – physical activity will keep those blood flowing normally and will also benefit from keeping you from being overweight.
- No Smoking – as any bad habit, this will increase your risk of not just hypertension but also with a lot of associated conditions like heart attack and stroke.
- Limited Alcohol – Drinking alcohol in moderation can reduce your risk of getting hypertension. Men can have no more than 2 drinks a day and women are advised to have 1 drink a day.
To sum it up!
Talking from experience of being diagnosed to have high blood pressure when she was 25, she was put to a lifestyle change for 2 months to try to get her blood pressure down to normal, which is 120/80mmHg. She sought the help of a dietitian so she knows what food that needs to avoid, what kind of dishes she needs to eat, how long should she be exercising and stuff like that.
As a very non-active person as she was, she really stepped up her game and did all the things the doctor advised her. So in just 1 month, she saw the change in her. She was more energetic, more happy. She lost weight and most of all she has a normal blood pressure!
To all of you who are at risk of having hypertension, it is never too late to change our poor lifestyle. It may be a struggle at first, but the reward of prolonging a healthy, happy quality life is far more worth not to achieve!
Categorised in: Blog
All the best,
Jacy and Ryan (TMD Team)