Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most common diseases worldwide. As a matter of fact, in Singapore, 1 in 4 individuals aged 30 to 69 suffers from high blood pressure. It occurs when your blood pressure increases beyond the normal levels and is measured by how much blood your heart pumps and how much resistance the blood meets against your artery walls.
The normal blood pressure is under 120/80 mmHg. If your blood pressure is higher than this, it is highly recommended to see a doctor. Early detection of hypertension is important as it can lead to more serious health problems such as heart disease or stroke when neglected or not treated on time. There are several risk factors that can help you detect high blood pressure early. Some of these factors are hereditary, while others are modifiable. Below are some risk factors you can change to help prevent and manage hypertension.
1. Lack Of Exercise
Not getting enough exercise is a common risk factor for hypertension. Leading a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of getting high blood pressure; however, regular exercise has been proven to be very effective in lowering blood pressure by decreasing the stiffness of your blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily.
Having a daily exercise routine such as walking a few miles in the morning is great for boosting your heart and overall circulatory system. Being consistent is key to reaping the most benefits here!
2. Unhealthy Diet
Having a diet that is high in sodium can put you at great risk of developing hypertension. Consuming too much processed and canned goods containing excessive sodium and saturated fats can cause your blood vessels to stiffen and narrow, leading to high blood pressure over time.
Since the risk of hypertension increases with age, it is important that you start taking small steps to improve your diet – this includes incorporating foods that help lower blood pressure, such as berries, bananas, oats, and leafy green vegetables.
3. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Drinking alcohol occasionally is fine. However, regular and heavy consumption of alcohol can be detrimental for your health. For one, it can cause a spike in your blood pressure. According to studies, people who excessively drink alcohol, whether beer or wine, are all at risk of increasing their blood pressure dramatically. Hypertension is one of the most preventable alcohol-related health issues. By reducing your alcohol intake, you can lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.
4. Tobacco Smoking
Aside from drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco is another common vice that affects blood pressure. The nicotine in a tobacco cigarette is the main culprit for hypertension because it naturally increases blood pressure and heart rate, narrows the arteries and makes the blood more likely to clot. If you smoke, quitting is the most important thing that you need to do to avoid high blood pressure. On the other hand, if you are a non-smoker, avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke is necessary.
5. Too Much Stress
Stress is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. In fact, it is a natural part of life. However, too much stress is harmful because it can greatly contribute to high blood pressure. When you are stressed out, your body produces a surge of hormones that temporarily raise your blood pressure by causing your blood vessels to narrow and your heartbeat to fasten. To avoid the risks of getting hypertension, try as much as possible to lead a stress-free lifestyle.
Hypertension is considered a lifestyle disease as it is caused by several risk factors, most of which you have the power to change. Lifestyle changes play a major role in preventing and managing hypertension. By exercising more, eating healthy, consuming less alcohol, avoiding smoking, and living a stress-free life, you can greatly reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure.
Aside from lifestyle changes, early detection and regular monitoring are also the keys to avoiding the dangerous complications of high blood pressure. If you suspect that you are at risk of hypertension, do not hesitate to consult a doctor online. For a hassle-free medical consultation, you can download the MyCLNQ app to set up a digital appointment and start accessing a range of telehealth services today!