Non-pharmacological therapy (or lifestyle management) has an important role to play in the lives of both non-hypertensive and hypertensive individuals, say doctors.
“Exercise is critically important, especially in children and young adults with hypertension who often have heightened sympathetic nervous system activity,” says Dr M Pavankumar, associate professor, Department of Medicine, MS Ramaiah Medical College.
In non-hypertensive individuals, including those with pre-hypertension symptoms, lifestyle modifications have the potential to prevent hypertension and more importantly to reduce BP and lower the risk of BP-related clinical complications.
“In hypertensive individuals, lifestyle modifications can serve as initial treatment before the start of drug therapy and as an adjunct to drug therapy in persons already on medication. In hypertensive individuals with medication-controlled BP, these therapies can facilitate drug step-down in individuals who can sustain lifestyle changes,” says Dr Pavankumar.
Dr Manoj Kumar, senior consultant, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon, Apollo Hospital, Seshadripuram, says that blood pressure may be decreased marginally by life style changes, but the patient may have to remain on some medications in addition, to achieve good control. “It may not replace medication entirely, once hypertension is established. It also has a preventive effect on coronary artery disease (blockages in the heart),'' he says and adds that medication cannot be stopped after the BP is normalised. Once BP is diagnosed, however, with lifestyle changes and diet, the dosage can be reduced.
After reaching 18 years of age, one should get a health check up annually to prevent a silent assassin called ‘Hypertension.’
Hypertension, referred to as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the arteries have persistently elevated blood pressure. Every time the human heart beats, it pumps blood to the whole body through the arteries.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing up against the blood vessel walls. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump. “If not diagnosed and treated earlier, the condition can damage heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of body.Some people only learn that they have HBP after the damage has caused problems, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure,” say doctors.
Because there are no symptoms, people can develop heart disease and kidney problems without knowing they have high blood pressure. If you have a severe headache, nausea or vomiting, bad headache, confusion, changes in your vision, or nosebleeds, you may have a severe and dangerous form of high blood pressure called malignant hypertension,” says Dr Ram.
Though this disease can prove fatal, it can be controlled by a healthy diet, including potassium and fiber, and by drinking plenty of water, regular exercise for about 30 minutes, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, limiting the sodium (salt) to 1,500 mg per day.
Yoga for BP
A spokesperson of S Vyasa Yoga University, says Pranayam, a breathing and relaxing technique can help.
Many studies show that Yoga can be a very effective and non-invasive way of reducing high blood pressure. It is particularly effective in reducing the diastolic number. It is suggested that people with high blood pressure should only practise certain asanas (postures).
Keep track of the numbers
Blood pressure readings are usually given as two numbers -- for example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg). One or both of these numbers can be too high.
The top number is called the systolic blood pressure. The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure.
Normal blood pressure is when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg most of the time.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or above most of the time.
If your blood pressure numbers are 120/80 or higher, but below 140/90, it is called pre-hypertension.
Among patients suffering from diabetes and kidney issues, the readings should be maintained at 130/80.