An estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have blood pressure and fewer than 1 in 5 people have it under control.
Some of the Major factors influencing blood pressure
- Too much salt in the food
- Not being physically active
- Family History
First and foremost, Medications
If you have been prescribed medicines by the doctor for BP at a particular time then make sure you take them at a fixed time, do not miss or skip your dosages. You can use apps like know your meds or Pill reminder to keep track. I’ve personally used “know your meds” and it has a user-friendly interface and ensures fixed timings and adherence.
App link- https://knowyourmeds.com/download-app/
Monitoring of blood pressure.
One of the reasons for high blood pressure has been irregular regulation. Monitoring helps keep tabs on your fluctuating blood pressure and bridges the gap between the health care professionals and you. A digital machine is advised over a manual as it helps reduce human errors and is simple to use.
Having a chart of the blood pressure categories stuck somewhere you can see it easily can be of great help. You can download your blood pressure charts from here: English Jpeg | English PDF | Spanish Jpeg | Spanish PDF | Traditional Chinese Jpeg | Traditional Chinese (PDF) (source- American Heart Association)
Steps to follow while measuring the blood pressure.
|*Avoid measuring right after a shower or workout or after having your medicines.|
|*Always take the readings on an empty bladder.|
|*Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arms supported and the machine elevated so that they both are at the heart level. Sit still for some time without talking and then proceed to measure.|
|*The cuff should be placed on the bare skin and not above the clothing.|
Keep the cuff an inch above the elbow joint.
|*Take an average of 2 readings with a gap of 1-2 minutes between each reading.|
|*Always take the readings at fixed timing.|
Disclaimer- Monitoring the blood pressure at home does not mean you skip your checkups with the physician.
It would not be exaggerating to say that the pandemic has just increased this 10x. Simple changes you can make- Climb the stairs instead of taking the lift, walk to the shop nearby instead of driving to it, groove a bit to the music you’re always listening to, embark on an outdoor sport or physical activity.
Changing food habits
Our food habits are moving more towards increased consumption of packaged foods/ ready made foods which are heavily salted. An average Indian consumes 10 grams of salt per day which is double of what WHO has said to be okay to consume.
- Reduce packaged foods and packaged juices from your diet consciously.
- Stay hydrated as this helps prevent over accumulation of potassium in the blood which can cause irregular beating of the heart.
- Become a “Locavore“!
- Locavore is someone who eats locally grown produce #Vocal_for_local
Pranayama and breathwork
So how does pranayam help in lowering your blood pressure? Pranayama is an ancient practice dating back to the 6th and 5th centuries BCE and has been scientifically proven to be beneficial. Conscious slow breathing stimulates the vagus nerve which shifts the nervous system to parasympathetic or also known as the rest and digest side of the Brain helping in lowering the blood pressure and cortisol levels and has a sedative effect.
Perks– It has proven to benefit and preserve health stems.
Natasha Noel and Michael Bijker are my absolute favourites when it comes to pranayama and yoga cause they truly understand what they preach. So here are some videos you can follow to start off.
Our fast paced lifestyles can lead to a health menace when neglected constantly. Hypertension is well known as a silent killer and needs to be monitored regularly especially for elderly patients and patients on life long medications. Taking a more holistic and organic approach has shown favourable results time and again.
https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension#preventing-high-blood-pressure https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure https://healthydebate.ca/2012/03/topic/health-promotion-disease-prevention/salt-part-1
Reviewed by Dr Pratiksha Masurkar.