Unlike diseases that present themselves with a set of physical symptoms, hypertension is a silent condition. Moreover, those diagnosed with hypertension are always at a risk of fluctuating blood pressure, which can put them at risk of serious problems like heart disease and kidney damage. Therefore, managing blood pressure plays an important role in preventing heart complications. And the best way to prevent this is by being aware of what makes the condition worse.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you must know that your daily activities play an important role in affecting your blood pressure.
1. Daily packaged food:
Renowned cardiologist, Dr. Nitish Naik, from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), highlights how the consumption of packaged foods is contributing to increased blood pressure in hypertensive patients. “Salt-rich foods tend to raise blood pressure. Also, foods that use baking soda, baking powder and monosodium glutamate can elevate blood pressure because of their high sodium content. These often creep into the diet from packaged processed foods, such as bread, rolls, pizzas, sandwiches and poultry.”
2. Use of medication:
How often do you pop a painkiller or any other over-the-counter medicine for common cold/cough? Well, if you have hypertension, think twice before you use any medication because overuse of medicines can cause a spike in your blood pressure, thereby resulting in complications. Dr Naik says, “Some cold medications containing decongestants and medications that are used for chronic pain affect blood pressure levels. Birth control pills, steroids, certain medications prescribed to people with mental health problems, and some herbal medicines can also shoot up blood pressure”.
3. Over intake of stimulating beverages:
If you love sipping on more than 2 cups of tea or coffee in a day, then you might unknowingly be worsening your hypertension condition. Dr Naik warns against high intake of tea, coffee for those with hypertension. He says the effects are especially worse in the lower age group.
Here are some myths about hypertension that you should not believe.
4. Lack of sufficient physical activity:
You may think that travelling to and from work is sufficient physical activity in a day. But, that’s not true. If the nature of your work involves sitting in a chair for long hours, then you must make time to engage in physical exercise. Guidelines recommend that people with hypertension need a minimum of 30 mins of moderate intensity workout a day to prevent hypertension from worsening. Activities like jogging, swimming and cycling could be some exercises that you can start with.
5. Mental/Emotional Stress:
Your lifestyle has a direct impact on the quality of your health. Stressing out over work-related matters, anger, overthinking, depression and having sleepless nights could have a huge impact on your blood pressure and worsen your condition. Stress increases the amount of cortisol and adrenaline, which makes the heart pump faster, thereby causing a rise in blood pressure. So, learn to identify what’s causing your stress and relax when it is needed the most.
- Chei CL1, Loh JK2, Soh A3, Yuan JM4,5, Koh WP6,7. Coffee, tea, caffeine, and risk of hypertension: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. Eur J Nutr. 2018 Jun;57(4):1333-1342. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1412-4. Epub 2017 Mar 1.