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20 Something! What’s High Blood Pressure Got To Do With Me?

Friday, July 31, 2009
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Ask yourself these seven simple questions:
1.    Am I overweight, do I have a large waistline?
2.    Do I love eating at fast food joints (Subway, TGIF, Mc Donald's, Pizza Hut, Chinese food)?
3.    Am I a couch potato or an exercise fiend?
4.    Am I stressed at work and home?
5.    Do I smoke and abuse alcohol?
6.    Am I a young woman on oral contraceptives?
7.    Do my parents / grandparents have high blood pressure?

If these sounds like they relate to you, we recommend the following three steps be taken:
  1. Analyze your diet for sodium, fat, and potassium intake. (Complete Step1 & Step 2)
  2. Are you eating too much salt and too many high fat foods and not getting enough potassium, magnesium and fiber from fruits and vegetables. A dietitian will be able to help you calculate that.
  3. Determine your activity level.   
  4. Do you get in 45 minutes of moderate/ brisk exercise six to seven days a week?
  5. Go get a basic screening done for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose.
  6. Your primary care doctor will be able to guide you and put you on medications to control it right away.

What can happen if I have high blood pressure and don't get it treated?
In addition to heart attacks, untreated or inadequately treated hypertension can cause strokes, congestive heart failure, kidney failure and diabetes.

According to a recent report in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, young adults with high blood pressure thought that hypertension meant being tense or anxious. Additionally another 30 percent of the younger population thought that it could be cured by losing a little weight.

So, what's next for me, should I worry I might have high blood pressure, should I get it checked now or should I wait to get it checked after a few years.

If you have some of the risk factors mentioned above, please get screened. Most people do very well with a medication, either a diuretic alone or in combination with one or two other drugs, taken under a doctor's guidance.

Make slight changes to your diet and lifestyle habits with the following few tips:
1.    Begin gradual weight loss with increased exercise.
2.    Consume fewer ready made, high salt, high fat packaged foods. Reduce salt in the home cooked food.
3.    Increase your fiber intake (oatmeal, whole wheat/ grains)
4.    Add more fruits, vegetables and lentils to your diet.
5.    Drink adequate water; reduce your alcohol intake and smoking.

Make slight changes NOW, so high blood pressure doesn't cramp your style later.

Related Articles: Low Potassium Consumption = High Blood Pressure
                              Glutamic Acid (Amino acid) in Vegetables Could Help Reduce Hypertension



User Comments

02 July, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Samarth,

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension is a precursor to heart disease. It has few early symptoms therefore often goes undetected. If undetected or not properly controlled it leads to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or premature death.

You have mentioned than you are climbing the corporate ladder successfully and about the stress from your job, also a family history of Hypertension.

You can take a few steps to keep yourself healthy and also prevent hypertension like eating a healthy and balanced low fat diet, include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, stop smoking, limit the alcohol consumption, limit the consumption of salty foods, maintain a healthy weight and last but not the least exercise.

A great way to keep your heart healthy and prevent/control blood pressure, combat the effects of plaque buildup is to exercise. Many studies have proved that sedentary lifestyle elevates the blood pressure and exercise can reduce it.

Thanks for your query,

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

30 June, 2010 | Samarth | Reply

Samarth I am a young ambitious guy with an MBA from a prestigious college and climbing the corporate ladder rather successfully. I have a family history of Hypertension and there is a lot of stress in my job. I try and eat healthy though most evenings I need to eat out. I go to the gym whenever I get the time, which is not very much so to speak as it is a shared time with my sleep of 5 -6 hrs. How do I ensure I avoid or delay getting Hypertension and keep fit, with my limitations?

30 June, 2010 | Amit | Reply

Amit Breathing techniques like pranayam are beneficial in controlling blood pressure, along with regular exercise and diet.

10 July, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Amit,

Regular practice of yoga and breathing exercises associated with it helps to reduce platelet aggregation, some postures offer controlled pressure on kidneys and adrenals which are the vital organs in regulating the blood pressure.

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

29 May, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Making lifestyle changes like doing regular physical activity, especially aerobic activities like walking, jogging, stairs climbing, do help in reducing blood pressure. If one’s blood pressure is already high, exercise can help to control it. Regular physical activity makes our heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort and hence the force on our arteries decreases, lowering blood pressure. If one’s blood pressure is at a desirable level i.e. less than 120/80 mm Hg ,exercise can keep it from rising as we age. Regular exercise also helps in maintaining a healthy weight which is another important way to control blood pressure.

Kanika Jain

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