My father managed his business on his own up until he turned 65. He led a stressful and sedentary lifestyle. He went to work on his two-wheeler, came back home the same way and flopped in front of the television which was his only stress-buster. About a year back, he was diagnosed with severe hypertension. He was ordered, by his doctor, to walk at least 30 minutes, twice a day, and to control his diet apart from taking the prescribed medicines.
High blood pressure or hypertension is when the pressure of the blood running through the blood vessels is consistently high. The heart works harder to pump blood. This disease is also termed as the ‘silent killer’ for a good reason as it has no obvious symptoms. Over time the constant high pressure may lead to serious health problems like strokes, heart problems to name a few.
Modern lifestyle is a contributing factor for developing hypertension. Lack of exercise, salty food, alcohol, smoking, stress, obesity etc. are vices of our modern day lives. A genetic predisposition to hypertension is also one of the reasons. According to multiple sources of epidemiology data including from WHO, IMA and leading physicians and surgeons, hypertension is the most prevalent chronic disease in India.
The risk of developing hypertension increases with age. Senior management professionals like CEOs, CFOs, business owners, senior managers are more prone to hypertension due to high levels of stress that they are subjected to. They have little time to unwind and may not find time for any physical activity. Long hours of sitting and unhealthy eating habits may lead to obesity paving the way to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Although hypertension is a ‘silent killer’, some symptoms may manifest themselves after many years of being under the surface. The symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
- nose bleeds
- chest pain
- double vision/ blurriness
By undergoing certain lifestyle changes, one can keep hypertension under control;
- Regular cardio/aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, swimming helps reduce hypertension.
- Healthy all-rounded diet with reduced salt, sugar and saturated fats intake
- Avoid smoking, and drinking alcohol
- Reducing stress by relaxing, meditating, massages or diverting your mind to something you love
- Getting adequate sleep
- Treating the hypertension and monitoring it regularly
Exercise, meditation, massage therapy and deep breathing releases endorphins which brings about a positive feeling, reduces stress, wards off anxiety and improves sleep.
Though hypertension is a deadly disease, there are numerous way to keep it under control. These changes may seem difficult to put into effect during the initial stages but this is the way for an easier life in the future.
It is fight or flight situation, choose fight.
With proper management hypertensives can lead very long and healthy lives.