Changes you can make to manage blood pressure

Rising cases of hypertension and pre-hypertension among the working population in Kenya is at an alarming rate. This vary based on the age, parental responsibility, obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of or reduced physical activity. These factors call for strategic interventions and greater emphasis on health promotion programs.

Approximately 75,000 people die yearly from complications related to high blood pressure in Kenya, Kenya’s ministry of Health has revealed. Ministry of Health Director of Medical Services Dr Jackson Kioko said, one of the contributing factors is that more than half of Kenyans have never been screened for pressure and that the government is working with various health bodies to ensure that screening of blood pressure and diabetes is done at primary health care service providers (health centers)

Is your blood pressure in a healthy or unhealthy range? The best way to know is to get your blood pressure checked. If you have high blood pressure, it’s vital that you listen to your doctor; lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. You may delay and reduce the need for medication or avoid altogether if you successfully control your blood pressure with a switch to a healthy lifestyle.

Your doctor may suggest you to try and control with lifestyle changes before trying blood pressure with high blood pressure medications that’s if you’re diagnosed   but even if you are on medications, the changes can help in the effort to lower blood pressure, and keep you healthy

The following lifestyle changes will help reduce the hypertension:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

A  BMI which is below 19.5 is considered underweight, between 19.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy weight but between 25 and 29.9 for men and above 30 for women, it is considered overweight. Studies show that for not less than 22 lbs.  (10 kilograms) of body weight you lose, you should expect your blood pressure to fall below 30 mm Hg.

  • Quit Smoking, that’s if you smoke.

Nicotine in Tobacco increases your blood pressure and your heart rate and also causes blood vessels to narrow and constrict, that’s because smoking damages your blood vessels and it also hardens your arteries. All of which will cause your blood pressure to increase, it puts too much stress on your heart and can easily cause heart attack or stroke.

  •   Maintaining healthy diet.

Eating and maintaining a healthy diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure  down to 10 mm Hg if you have hypertension as study have shown.

  •   Do physical Exercise regularly.

If you have high blood pressure, physical exercise can reduce the risk of developing the cardiovascular disease. If you already have hypertension, regular rigorous physical activity can bring your blood pressure level down to safer levels. Some examples of exercise you may try in order to lower blood pressure include walking long distance, jogging, cycling or simple task of climbing the stairs rather than using Elevators when going up tall buildings.

  • Reduce your sodium intake.

Consuming a lot of salt beyond optimum levels increases the amount of sodium in your blood and destabilizes the delicate balance, this hence reduce the ability of your kidneys to remove water. This results in a higher blood pressure due to excess fluid and excess strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys. Reducing your sodium intake to less than 3,500 milligrams per day, your blood pressure will be reduced by an average of 3 to 9 mm Hg.

  • Limit alcohol intake.

Alcohol can be good and also can be bad for your health but also depend on individuals. Minimizing the alcohol intake to maybe one drink a day is a lifestyle change that can drastically reduce hypertension. People who keep their alcohol intake within these limits or below the limits can achieve an average blood pressure reduction of 2 to 5 mm Hg.

Whether you have high blood pressure or not everyone should monitor their blood pressure regularly. Maintaining an awareness of your numbers can alert you to any changes and help you detect patterns. Tracking your results over time will also reveal if the changes you’ve made are working.