Managing Hypertension with a Healthy Diet

Kathryn Whitworth| May 19, 2015


Due to their busy schedules, people in the entertainment business are at high risk from hypertension. And aside from them, there are lots of people from different walks of life, suffering from this condition as well.

Even if Hollywood personalities and normal people have different lifestyles, they may all be at risk for other serious illnesses. This is because when blood pressure rises, the risk for strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems increases, too.

However, hypertension can be avoided. By making smart diet choices, you can lower your blood pressure and protect your overall health.

Hypertension and Its Symptoms

Also called high blood pressure, hypertension is a chronic medical condition that happens when the blood pressure in the arteries rise. It is expressed in two measurements, the systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is  the maximum pressure during the contraction of the heart’s left ventricle, while diastolic pressure is the minimum pressure of the arteries during the dilatation and relaxation of the heart’s ventricles when they are filled with blood.

Although hypertension is rarely accompanied by symptoms, it can be identified through screening. But, in most cases, people with hypertension often report light-headedness, tinnitus or a buzzing in the ears, headaches, vertigo, fainting episodes, and altered vision.

Why It Is a Big Problem

According to the study conducted by the American Heart Association, about one-third of the adults are suffering from hypertension and the death rate caused by this condition has already increased by 25% since 1995.

Dr. Lawrence Appel of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also said, “Blood pressure, by some estimates, is the most modifiable risk factor out there for death by heart disease. When you look at sources of mortality, heart disease just hasn’t caught the attention of public health policy makers”.

Hypertension and a Healthy Diet

While more and more people suffer from hypertension, it can still be avoided, especially with proper diet and exercise.

Diet plays an important role in lowering the blood pressure. And these days, there are plenty of available dietary approaches that are made to target various high blood pressure contributors. These are as follows:

  • Sodium Reduction. Because sodium is a preservative, it is commonly used in large quantities in different processed foods. So, before you buy one, you need to read the labels carefully. For an individual serving, it is recommended that you aim for foods with less than 200 mg of sodium.

  • Weight Loss. Total weight loss is believed to have a positive effect on blood pressure. Normally, a rapid weight loss, followed by a rapid regain will affect your body image and mental health. The worse thing is that it contributes to high blood pressure and other physical health issues.

  • Regulation of Alcohol Intake. Excessive intake of alcohol always has a negative effect, not only on your blood pressure, but also on other parts of the body. In order to avoid high blood pressure, it is suggested that men should limit themselves to two drinks per day, while women should have only one.

Hypertension and DASH Diet

One recommended approach that has been proven effective is the DASH Diet or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet. It is a dietary plan that focuses more on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, nuts, lean meat, and whole grains.

Although it requires several dietary changes, the best way to get started is to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy at every meal.

Diet, Medication, or Both: Which is More Effective

Dietary plans can be helpful to many people. However, not everyone will be able to deal with their blood pressure with diet alone. Others will still need constant medication to regulate their blood pressure.

Dr. Appel said, “We shouldn’t demonize medication. There are benefits of drug therapy. Drug therapy and diet are complementary, not mutually exclusive. The point is lower blood pressure. That’s the goal”.

Basically, dietary and lifestyle changes may help improve blood pressure management and decrease the risk of other health complications. Even so, medication is still required, especially in people who cannot easily adjust to lifestyle changes.

Due to the vagueness of its symptoms, even the most famous personalities cannot escape hypertension. But by following the tips provided above, and learning to adapt with lifestyle changes, it can surely be prevented.



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