High blood pressure (BP) is a common non infectious disease. Statistics show about 75million Americans are suffering from high blood pressure. Their lifestyle, dietary habit and stressful working environment are the main predisposing factors to develop high blood pressure.
There are some non modifiable risk factors to prevent and control blood pressure, such as-
- Age -increasing age causes increase the risk of high blood pressure.
- Sex- Male are more prone to develop high blood pressure than female etc.
- Family history- History of high blood pressure in your close relatives of your family, such as father, mother, grandfather etc. is a risk factor for an individual.
These risk factors are not in our hands. We can’t do too much with these risk factors.
But some other very important modifiable risk factors of high blood pressure can be controlled by us-
- A diet with high saturated fat increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and it is estimated to cause about 31% of coronary heart disease.( http://goo.gl/pAB0XC )So choosing a careful diet plan is very important.
- Physical inactivity also increases the risk of high blood pressure.
- Obesity is a major risk for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and predisposes you to diabetes and formation of atherosclerosis.
- Some diseases such as Type2 diabetes, Dyslipidemia (High cholesterol level) etc. can raise our blood pressure.
- Some bad habits as tobacco intake, high alcohol intake etc.
- Some medicines - OCP and hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Mental stress etc.
These factors can be easily controlled and it can play an important role in preventing and controlling high blood pressure.
Physical inactivity is a major cause of developing high blood pressure in the USA. Increased stressful office work with less physical activities predisposing development of high blood pressure and causing weight gain, which is an another risk factor of developing high blood pressure.
So, increasing physical activity with appropriate exercise may reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and controlling it.
Why we should control high blood pressure?
- It is the main cause of several heart diseases, such as acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, arrhythmias etc.
- It is the number one cause of acute stroke and sudden death.
- It is the one of the most important cause of renal diseases
All these diseases are fatal and survival is very difficult in an acute attack of any of them.
But the facts are-
- High blood pressure increases the chances of heart attack or stroke.
- More than 70 million Americans are suffering from high blood pressure.
- About 75% of people over age of 60 years have high blood pressure.
- It is almost symptomless, that’s why maximum people don’t know about it even they are suffering from high blood pressure.
- High blood pressure can be controlled and complications can be prevented easily.
- And hopeful news is mortality rates from heart attacks and strokes in the USA have decreased by 50-6o% over the last 30 years by controlling high blood pressure and changing lifestyle.
Exercise is one of the best ways to decrease or control your blood pressure.
What types of activities and exercises you should choose to reduce your blood pressure?
Let’s start with your daily life:
- Try to increase your movement: If your workplace is near to your house try to go there by walking. You can park your car little far from your work place. So you have to walk for a little distance to get in to it.
- Try to do household activities: Depends upon a maid? Try to clean your house by yourself. You can clean your lawn and car in every weekend.
- Give time to your kids: Try to play with your kids. Go for a walk to the nearest park with them. Be active all the day.
- Use stairways: If possible try to take the stairways as much as possible. Don’t look at the elevator.
- Do shopping from a distanced shopping mall and try to go there by walking.
- Be strict on your appropriate diet habit and try to be an early riser to using 30 minutes extra time for some exercises.
It’s simple. These activities will also help you to get reliefe from your stresses.
There are two headlines in exercise classifications, regarding cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
- Aerobic exercise
- Isometric exercise
Aerobic or dynamic exercise is also known as cardiac exercise. They are very good for our cardiovascular system. Aerobic exercises increase the ability of heart to tolerate high workload. It involves about all muscles of our body and also stimulates the heart muscle to increase its function to meet the increased body demand. It may cause slight or no rise of blood pressure. It also helps to reduce cholesterol and blood lipids. So, it reduces atherosclerosis and reduces blood pressure, risk of stroke and acute heart attack.
Aerobic exercise includes-
- Brisk walking etc.
Isometric exercise or static exercises are done to build muscles. Exercises are done in a certain time with a specific group of muscle. This causes stimulation of the heart and increased blood supply. But only group of muscle is relaxed and capable to the take extra blood flow, so blood pressure increased. .
Examples of isometric exercise-
- Weight lifting
- Press ups etc.
Isometric exercises should be avoided. But, this can be practiced after consulting with a doctor. The sudden pick of blood pressure may be beneficial, if it is practiced regularly. It will increase the body capability to reduce blood pressure. (http://goo.gl/kKnnJM)
How many hours you have to exercise?
For moderate activities-
- Brisk walking: 30 minutes a day for 5 days in a week.
- Vigorous activity: Jogging- 20 minutes a day, 3 to 4 days a week.
Inactive person should try to increase the time and the amount of exercise gradually.
After a few weeks you can adjust your requirement of exercise and it will be fine.
Steps to follow,
- Warm up for 10 minutes, which will help your body to adjust and prevent injury.
- Then increase intensity of your exercise. Don’t try to overdo. Continue it up to the level you have fixed.
- At last, be cool down. Gradually slow down and give your heart to adjust blood pressure with your body. Avoid sudden stopping of exercise.
When to stop?
Don’t overdo any exercise. Be careful about your health condition. Always try to consult with your doctor for choosing a good exercise plan. You should stop exercising when following episodes occur-
- Chest pain, chest discomfort, Chest heaviness or tightness.
- Faintness or dizziness with profuse sweating
- Pain in chest with radiation to your left arm or your jaw
- Irregular pulse etc.
If these conditions arise stop your exercise and urgently visit to your nearest hospital and call for help.
Moderate exercises like daily at least 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise like fast walking or jogging can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 mm Hg. (http://goo.gl/BFKZYd ). It prevents several cardiac and brain diseases. It helps to reduce your weight and makes you fit.
Don’t think you are normotensive or pre-hypertensive; you don’t have to be worried. Without exercise you are at a great risk of developing hypertension. It is also like a medication for a hypertensive patient and helps to prevent many complications of hypertension or high blood pressure.
Dr. Hasan Ebna Amin