Post COVID woes are just not ending. Everyone is facing a different set of persistent symptoms.
Raised heartbeat and palpitations, high blood sugar, anxiety and mood swings are almost an epidemic and one alarm-ing factor I am witnessing a lot in a lot many young people, some as young as 18 and twenty year olds too, is high blood pressure (HBP).
On World Hypertension Day, we take a look at this.
There are a lot of factors responsible for the young succumbing to this: inactivity, not enough exercise, weight gain, too much screen time, stress of taking exams and classes in a completely new format, lack of jobs and internships, uncertainty about the future, trauma due to loss of friends and family members, junk eating, increased alcohol drinking and smoking, boredom, comfort eating, relationship tussles between parents (that is affecting them), shrunk social circle, and more.
The scary part is that in most cases (specially the young) high blood pressure tends to stay hidden for a long time.
Main reason for non de-tection is that in HBP is mostly an asymptomatic, silent disease. so unless one actively gets it checked, it stays hidden.
And even if the symptoms are there, they are usually vague – like dizziness, headache, nose-bleeds, flushing, tension and fatigue, so may get missed. Undetected HBP is very dangerous.
It is like a ticking time bomb, hidden in the body –because often by the time one finds out, an organ or two has been damaged.
The only fix for avoiding this damage is to keep a check, yes, even in the young.
8 Steps to Prevent It!
Know your BP
A blood pressure reading, given in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), has two numbers.
The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure). The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in the arteries between beats (diastolic pressure).
Normal blood pres-sure is below 120/80 mm Hg and blood pressure consistently over 140/90 is considered hypertension.
Maintain a normal weight
When you have jelly belly, each kilogram of fat needs servicing by blood vessels, making your heart beat harder.
So focus on staying near your optimum weight.
Lower salt intake
Limit sodium intake to under 2 grams of sodium (translates to 5 gm or roughly 1 tsp of salt) a day and get plenty of potassium through dietary sources, that is from fruits and vegetables (bananas, leafy vegetables etc).
When you chow on salty foods your body retains more water in order to dilute the excess sodium, thus increasing the blood volume.
This is a disease of the lifestyle and exercise plays a big part in controlling it.
WHO advises 150 minutes of moder-ate to vigorous exercise per week (30 minutes five days a week).
Keep stress at bay, and learn to manage anger
Anger can cause both psychological as well as biological changes in the body.
People who are boiling inside but don’t show it are more likely to develop hy-pertension.
Anything you do to lower blood pressure will be worth-less if you don’t address one of the biggest risk factors for hyperten-sion – smoking.
Besides affecting your lungs, smoking elevates BP by increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels.
Cut down on alcohol
Drinking more than 40-60 ml of alcohol every-day is a predisposing factor towards hypertension.
This mind body practice helps reduce the activity of the au-tonomic nervous system and lower the systolic blood pressure.
Natural Food Fixes That Work
Have some mixed fruits and vegetable juice
All fruits and vegeta-bles have potassium. Potassium helps sweep excess sodium from the circulatory system, causing blood vessels to dilate.
Eat some tomatoes
To get some lycopene, a phytochemical that has blood pressure lowering property. Buy the reddest tomatoes you can find.
They contain the most lycopene.
Eat beetroot regularly
This red roughage can keep the BP in check. The benefit is because of its high nitrate content, which get converted to nitric oxide in the body and helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pres-sure, thus keeping the blood pressure stable.
Fix it: Have Beetroot, tomato and amla juice everyday.
Eat more oranges
Oranges are one of the best sources of blood pressure lowering potassium.
Experts also believe that vitamin C in it helps blood vessels dilate, keeping pressure down.
Have a banana (or two) everyday
Eating bananas help lower blood pressure due to their high potassium content. You can try eating 2 bananas per day for one week to help tame your blood pressure.
Use sesame oil for cooking
It is the polyunsaturated fatty acids (sesame oil contains 43 %, olive oil 11 %), as well as the com-pound sesamin, which helps.
Have garlic every day
This heart-healthy herb, garlic may help lower your blood pressure and shield you from cardiovascular disease.
The protein and omega-3 fatty acids in fish help keep ar-teries elastic, and blood pressure in check.