This World Hypertension Day, it is important to get a heads up on what prehypertension is; because that’s where it all begins.
How Do You Know If You Have Prehypertension?
Prehypertension is when your blood pressure is elevated above normal, but not to the level that is considered hypertensive (high blood pressure).
Blood pressure readings with a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg are diagnosed as prehypertension, and readings greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg are considered as hypertension.
Unfortunately, unlike prediabetes, prehypertension is not given the attention it deserves. This becomes alarming as hypertension is becoming endemic. It is not easily detectable because of a lack of symptoms (the symptoms, in the form of headaches and dizziness, only becoem more obvious once a person develops hypertension). That said, catching it in time is crucial since it can lead to hypertension, which can eventually cause heart failure, heart attacks, brain hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage and kidney failure.
The only way to detect prehypertension is to keep a track of your blood pressure readings. This is the reason why annual check-up of blood pressure till the age of 40, and every six months after that, is recommended.
There are ways to keep prehypertension in check. Here are a few.
Being overweight is linked with high blood pressure.
Being overweight is a primary risk factor for prehypertension. Maintaining a near-optimum weight is important right from childhood. A strong link exists between adolescent obesity and increased chances of developing high blood pressure.
It is important to exercise daily.
A sedentary lifestyle is a huge factor too. A study has concluded that not indulging in physical activity daily or doing less than an hour a day increases the risk of prehypertension by fifty percent . Thus, it is important to exercise everyday and to stay more active during the day.
Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio), stair climbing, elliptical trainer, stationary bicycle, treadmill, rowing, swimming, kickboxing, skipping rope, jumping jacks, jogging and water aerobics; all help as they improve vasodilatory capacity and keep the blood pressure in check.
Fructose is a fruit-derived sugar present in many sweetened beverages and processed foods.
Excessive fructose intake may lead to problems.
Consumption of fructose, a fruit-derived sugar present in many sweetened beverages and processed foods, is already associated with increased risk of diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome.
Now, hypertension too has been added to the list. Research presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting in San Diego supported this link and reported that high levels of fructose may predispose individuals to fast-onset, salt-sensitive hypertension. So chalk out these from your diet.
Phosphate is naturally found in protein-rich food like meat and milk.
Excess consumption of phosphate, commonly used in foods as a preservative, flavour enhancer and colour stabiliser, overactivates nerves that raise blood pressure, leading to abnormally high blood pressure.
Phosphate is naturally found in meat and milk and is important for building strong bones and for maintaining and repairing the body.
However, because phosphate is added to a large number of packaged foods, the excess we consume can cause these problems. So, this (along with the fact that they are high in sodium) is a compelling reason to go easy on processed floods.
Probiotics Help in Managing Blood Pressure
Probiotic foods help restore the gut microbiome, which in turn helps boost serotonin production.
Supplementing the diet with probiotics (beneficial microorganisms found in the gut) has a positive effect on blood pressure. Research has demonstrated that the microorganisms residing in the intestines (microbiota) play a role in the development of high blood pressure. Therefore, not taking care of our gut microbes could also lead to pre-hypertension.
Eat at least one fermented food every day (dosa, appam, idli, sprouts, dhokla, yoghurt).