High Blood Pressure: 6 Lifestyle Habits That Trigger The Silent Killer
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) occurs when the pressure of the blood flow through the blood vessels increases to unhealthy levels. Blood pressure is measured by taking into account the amount of blood passing through the blood vessels and the resistance it meets while the heart is pumping.
It is the cause for 57 percent of stroke and 24 percent of coronary heart disease deaths in India. Recent studies show that hypertension is present in 25-30 percent urban and 10-20 percent rural subjects in India. This means that approximately 100-110 million people in India suffer from high blood pressure.
Lifestyle problems that can contribute to high blood pressure.
Being Sedentary/ Physically Inactive:
Inactive people tend to have higher heart rates. An increased heart rate means that the heart has to work harder with each contraction and the force on the arteries will get stronger. Lack of physical activity can also lead to loss of muscle mass. Muscles require more energy and a decrease in muscle tissue will directly lead to increased fat deposition causing high blood pressure.
Once a person begins exceeding his/her ideal weight, more blood needs to be pumped to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Blood pressure on the arteries increases as the volume of blood circulated through the blood vessels increases.
Smoking or Chewing Tobacco:
Smoking or chewing tobacco will immediately raise blood pressure temporarily. Also, the harmful substances found in tobacco can damage the arterial wall linings, causing the arteries to narrow, increase the risk of heart disease and cause high blood pressure. Secondhand smoke can increase the risk of heart disease.
Excessive Use of Salt (Sodium) in Food:
Consumption of fast foods laden with salt (such as French fries) can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
Drinking too much Alcohol:
Heavy drinkers are at an increased risk of high blood pressure. Women who have more than one drink a day and men who have more than two drinks a day may have increased blood pressure. For healthy adults, one drink is about 12 ounces (355ml) of beer, 5 ounces (148ml) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44ml) of 80-proof liquor.
This is a no-brainer. High stress levels makes the body release stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. During stress, people who try to indulge in pleasure eating, use tobacco or drink alcohol only increase their risk of high blood pressure.
Although high blood pressure is commonly observed in adults, children too can be at risk. Children may also have high blood pressure caused by problems with the heart or kidney. However, a number of growing kids could be at risk due to poor lifestyle habits such as a lack of exercise, obesity and an unhealthy diet.
- Rajeev Gupta, Shreya Gupta. Hypertension in India: Trends in Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment and Control. RUHS Journal of Health Sciences, Volume 2 Number 1, January –March 2017. http://www.ruhsjhs.in/files/issue/Issue_1/Volume2/Review_Article_Hypertension.pdf (Accessed on 11 July 2018).
- What is high blood pressure? American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/GettheFactsAboutHighBloodPressure/What-is-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301759_Article.jsp#.WrqtReR1rcs. (Accessed on 11 July 2018).
- Know your risk factors for high blood pressure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandSymptomsRisks/Know-Your-Risk-Factors-for-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002052_Article.jsp#.WrqvNeR1rcs. (Accessed on 11 July 2018).
- Eckel RH, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2014;63:2960.
- Shaking the salt habit to lower high blood pressure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/MakeChangesThatMatter/Shaking-the-Salt-Habit-to-Lower-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_303241_Article.jsp#.Wrq0YeR1rcs. (Accessed on 11 July 2018).
- Smoking, high blood pressure and your health. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/MakeChangesThatMatter/Smoking-High-Blood-Pressure-and-Your-Health_UCM_301886_Article.jsp#.Wrq0quR1rcs. (Accessed on 11 July 2018).
- Limiting alcohol to manage high blood pressure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/MakeChangesThatMatter/Limiting-Alcohol-to-Manage-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_303244_Article.jsp#.WrqvfOR1rcs. (Accessed on 11 July 2018).
- Managing stress to control high blood pressure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/MakeChangesThatMatter/Managing-Stress-to-Control-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301883_Article.jsp#.Wrq08eR1rcs. (Accessed on 11 July 2018).
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