Blood pressure refers to the amount of force put against the walls of the arteries as blood flows through them. High blood pressure (High BP) describes a situation where your blood pressure reads either 140/90 or even higher consistently for a period of time. This means that the walls of the arteries are consistently receiving more force than required. A onetime high reading doesn’t automatically mean you have high blood pressure unless the high reading persists over time.
High blood pressure is termed the ‘silent killer’ because more often than not high blood pressure does not present any symptoms. Only a few people have associated high blood pressure with severe headache, dizzy spell, blurry vision, and nose bleed. There isn’t a particular known cause for High BP but there are so many factors that could increase the chances of developing it. These factors include:
- Consuming a lot of alcohol
- Being OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE
- Not having enough physical activity
- Eating foods filled with a lot of salt
- Lack of calcium and potassium
- High stress
- Eating foods high in sodium
High blood pressure is not just a problem in itself but brings about other health complications like heart attack, loss of sight, and stroke. Sometimes High BP is genetic, this means it may run in the family. It is a severe condition that needs to be rectified as soon as discovered.
Being overweight or even obese is a major factor contributing to High Blood Pressure. The truth is that as your body weight increases, your blood pressure increases as well. The case is worse for people who carry weight around their abdominal area. Weight around the abdominal area may cause the arteries to become thick making blood flow difficult.
Ultimately, you need to lose weight in order to considerably reduce your blood pressure and live healthy. Here are a few steps to take:
- Lower your calorie-intake: the most trusted way to lose weight is to eat less calories than you burn in a day. As you begin to reduce your calorie intake, your body starts using the already stored up fat as fuel. Plan your diet to be protein dense, carbs free, and rich in fiber and potassium.
Avoid salt as much as possible. A little too much salt may lead to stiffening of the arteries leading to high blood pressure thereby increasing the risks of a heart attack and possibly stroke. Sodium which is a major component of salt may cause the body to retain fluid leading to a higher pressure on the heart.
Fruits and veggies are rich in fiber and potassium so incorporate them into your diet. Don’t gorge on them though. The key to weight loss is not just about eating all the right foods; you also have to watch what quantities of food you’re taking. Even fruits should be taken in controlled portions. Consciously plan each day’s meal to amount to the desired calorie you want in a day.
Stay hydrated. Drink lots and lots of water but stay far away from alcohol if you want to live a long healthy live. If you must have a drink, have at least 2 glasses of wine (for men), 1 glass of wine (for women).
Processed foods not only have added sugar but are often rich in sodium so it’s a no-no for weight loss. If for any reason you must take processed foods then PLEASE read the label and be sure that the nutritional facts are compliant with your current weight loss diet.
Eat more of these; low fat dairy, fish, poultry, nuts, fruits and vegetables (in controlled portions).
- Avoid stressful situations. Stress is a contributing factor to high blood pressure. Studies have shown that people have a higher reading when they are nervous than when they are relaxed.
- Get more active. Introduce more activity into your lifestyle. Take up physically engaging activities and make a hobby out of them. If your body has energy, use it. Cut down on hours spent lying down or sitting down idly. Take short walks, garden, and swim, whatever it is just make sure you’re moving.
- One major way of losing weight is by exercising. Make a routine that allows you at least 30mins to 1 hour a day of exercising. Moderate intensity work out will not only make you lose weight but will ensure a stronger cardiovascular health. Combined with a healthy diet and bouts of physical activity, exercise will ensure weight loss with an added advantage of good health and lower risks of high blood pressure. Make fun out of it. Dancing is a very good workout routine (depending on the intensity of your dance steps). It’s time to dance the weight away.
The end goal is to keep the weight away, keep the ticker ticking and keep the blood pressure at a normal rate. Remember to consult your doctor before adopting any weight loss diet or engaging in any exercise routine.