Hypertension Awareness Month was among the health advocacies promoted nationwide in the month of May by the Department of Health. The agency reminds the general public on the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring given the fact that it now affects the younger population. Hypertension can be hereditary but there are also modifiable risk factors that are lifestyle-related. The public is advised to avoid smoking, have low salt, and low cholesterol diet, maintain ideal body weight, and have adequate exercise. What is hypertension? Hypertension is a lifestyle disease wherein the blood moves at a higher pressure compared to normal. It is also called “silent killer” as individuals may not be able to know they have elevated blood pressure unless they are checked by health professionals. Several factors including unhealthy diet, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and other existing condition may cause an individual to suffer from hypertension. If hypertension is left uncontrolled, it may lead to several diseases such as heart failure wherein the heart is enlarged and fails to supply blood to the body and stroke wherein elevated blood pressure causes the blood vessels in the brain to clog.
What are the ways to prevent hypertension?
Living a healthy lifestyle prevents an individual from getting hypertension. Below are the tips to be healthy:
- Eat a balanced diet. Foods high in sodium and cholesterol should be avoided as it may cause arteries to be blocked, thus, elevating the blood pressure. Instead, eat a variety of foods containing carbohydrates, protein, fat, and ample amount of vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber prevent the blood pressure to rise.
- Be physically active. Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily to burn those extra calories away. Even in one’s home, he/she can manage to be active. Stretching, walking, dancing, and doing household chores are just some of the activities to be physically fit.
- Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol intake. Some of the effects of consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking are increase in blood pressure and levels of triglycerides in the blood, thus, increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Attain/Maintain Ideal Body Weight. The normal Body Mass Index according to World Health Organization ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. To attain this, one must take in a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Know your numbers. Monitor your blood pressure regularly to avoid further complications. Consult with a medical professional if need be.
These tips are just some of the ways to prevent hypertension and other diseases. Good nutrition is the key to live a long, purposeful life. May this Hypertension Awareness Month be a factor for you to strive to be as healthy as possible. (NACL, MCV, ARR, NNC RO V)
Philippine Heart Association (2019) . BP and Heart Disease. https://www.philheart.org/index.php/aboutpha/the-president-s-page/131-heartline/579-bp-and-heart-disease
World Health Organization (2020). Hypertension. https://www.who.int/health-topics/hypertension/#tab=tab_3