Your blood pressure is basically an account of how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood is met with while the heart is pumping.

Over the years, with changes in lifestyle and food choices, high blood pressure or hypertension has become a chronic health concern among most Indians today. A 2017 study conducted by the National Family Health Survey shows that about 1 in 8 Indians suffers from hypertension. Where ideal blood pressure is to be between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg, almost 45% of the Indian population is crippled with a high blood pressure of 140/90mmHg. [1]

High blood pressure is indicative of the fact that your heart and blood vessels are being overworked. If left untreated, this could lead to congestive heart concerns, renal failure, diabetes and other heart complications, contributing to nearly 1000 deaths every year. You can develop this over a long period of time without realizing the pressure building up in your heart. This is probably why hypertension is called the “silent killer”, and also probably why you must be aware of the symptom and risks associated with it.

Sometimes, a combination of genetic predisposition to hypertension, physical changes to the body that might affect the natural homeostasis of the body, and unhealthy lifestyle choices can also lead to hypertension.

Risk Factors that Aggravate Hypertension

Since hypertension is like a ninja, slowly creeping in without you realizing its presence in your body, it is essential to understand how you might be putting yourself at risk of contracting it. Even if you are genetically predisposed to hypertension, there are some lifestyle changes that you can make to avoid aggravating the condition.

  • High sodium diets – This results in fluid retention which contributes to elevated blood pressure.
  • Stress – Mental pressure produces a surge of hormones that temporarily increases your blood pressure. This makes your heart beat faster and narrows your blood vessels.
  • Lack of exercise – A body that doesn’t get enough physical activity will eventually gain weight, narrowing the arterial walls and increasing the pressure.
  • Obesity - when you are overweight or obese, your body needs more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the amount of blood flow through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
  • Age- It increases with age due to the hardening of the arteries
  • Smoking – Apart from lung issues, smoking tobacco also thickens the blood, and this will eventually put a strain on the heart.

If you are notified that you have hypertension, do not be discouraged. You are the master of your body and you can always make significant changes to your lifestyle choices when it comes to work, food, and exercise to reduce the risk of hypertension affecting you.

Take preemptive measures, like bi-annual health check-ups, active lifestyle choices, healthy diets, and stress management, to diagnose and control this ninja of a condition from infiltrating your life. Remember this: You are the captain of your own body and it is in your hands to commandeer it to a safe, healthy, and stress-free life.