Indian Foods that Lower Blood Pressure
Causes and Types of Blood Pressure
In 90-95% of high Blood Pressure (B.P) cases, the cause remains unknown. In fact, you can have high blood pressure for years without being aware of it. Regularly maintaining a strict and healthy diet pattern is thus a good idea for everyone. High blood pressure or hypertension can be classified on the basis of cause as follows:
1. Primary High B.P is the most common. Among the uncontrollable factors whose combined effects dispose one to this type of hypertension are:
• Heredity: If your parents or other close blood relatives have high blood pressure, you're more likely to develop it.
• Age and sex: High B.P usually occurs in people over the age of 35. Men are at a higher risk and seem to develop it most often between the age of 35 and 55. For women, pregnancy (temporary hypertension which disappears after delivery) and menopause can be the disposing factors.
2. Secondary High B.P is caused by a specific abnormality in one of the organs or systems of the body. Factors causing secondary hypertension can be controlled to maintain blood pressure levels. These include:
• Obesity: Excessive fat deposition around the blood vessels, and blood clots result in narrowing of the arteries, blocking the blood flow to the heart and leading to high blood pressure. In obese people, the heart has to exert more to supply blood to the various parts of the body, which then leads to increased B.P.
• Excess salt (sodium) intake: Sodium plays a major role in regulating blood pressure by maintaining the fluid and electrolyte balance in our body. Too much sodium (through intake of salt or sodium-rich foods, however increases the volume of blood, and the heart has to work harder to pump this increased volume of blood to all the tissues in the body. This causes high B.P. Excess sodium also leads to contraction of the smaller blood vessels, which normally regulate blood flow and blood pressure. This lessens the volume of blood that is returned to the heart causing B.P to rise.
• Excessive alcohol intake and smoking: Alcohol and smoking damages the blood vessels and thus causes high B.P.
• Lack of physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle increases the likelihood of being overweight and can lead to high B.P.
• Stress: Too much stress also damages the blood vessels and can cause high B.P.
• Drugs: Women taking oral contraceptives have a greater risk of developing high B.P. The side effects of certain medications can also elevate B.P.
7 Signs and Symptons of Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure usually presents no clear symptoms and has been labelled ‘the silent killer’. In other words, the disease can progress without symptoms (silently) to finally develop one or more of its several potentially fatal complications such as heart attack, kidney diseases, stroke, etc. However, a few common warning signs and symptoms of high blood pressure are:
3. Impaired vision
4. Shortness of breath
5. Pain over the heart
6. Unexplained tiredness
The presence of any of these symptoms may indicate the beginning of high B.P and a person experiencing them must consult a doctor for appropriate medication.
Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure
The easiest and most reliable way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your B.P checked regularly. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). The average ideal B.P levels are 120/80 for young people, and 140/90 for older people. Levels equal to or higher than these indicate that you may be suffering from mild, moderate or severe B.P. It is very important to initiate the right treatment once you discover what level of high B.P you suffer from.
*Consume in moderate quantities occasionally.
**To make low-fat milk at home, boil buffalo’s milk, cool it for 3 to 4 hours and remove the top layer of cream. Repeat this procedure 2 to 3 times and use the milk as required or use it to make its products like curds, buttermilk and paneer. These can be consumed in restricted amounts daily.
8 Tricks to cut Sodium Levels for controlling Blood Pressure
1. Lose weight if overweight.
2. Always cook food with measure amount of salt.
3. Restrict the intake of salt to ¼ tsp – 1½ tsp per day depending on the severity of high blood pressure.
4. Use low sodium substitutes like spices, herbs and garlic to add flavor to your food.
5. Make so called ‘fruits and vegetables’ (from the allowed list) your meal friends. They contain calcium and potassium, which help to regulate high blood pressure.
6. Add a dose of fibre to your diet by including a bowl of sprouts daily. This helps to remove excessive fat and cholesterol from our body.
7. Be physically active. Exercise for at least ½ an hour daily.
8. Have your medication in prescribed amounts daily.