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    High Blood Pressure and Lifestyle: The Benefits of Diet and Exercise

    Hypertension and blood pressure fluctuations have had a lasting negative impact on the health of people around
    us, for a long time. Although the condition can be kept under control by a range of available medications, it is
    better to keep yourselves safe in the first place by adopting different measures like a healthier diet and
    regular exercise. Here we explain the basics of the issue, and the possible steps to improve your lifestyle to
    help you escape the clutches of pulmonary ailments, including high blood pressure.

    Understanding High Blood Pressure

    Hypertension or high blood pressure is a
    situation where the pressure of the blood flowing in your blood vessels is too high. Hypertension that you
    experience can either be primary or secondary. Primary hypertension forms 90-95% of the cases and is caused by
    genetic factors or by a ‘no-specific lifestyle’ element. In contrast, secondary hypertension is caused by other
    “identifiable” causes like kidney diseases, heart disease, endocrine disorders, and the use of birth control

    Blood pressure can be measured by a device called a sphygmomanometer. When measuring blood pressure, two
    readings are of importance. The first reading, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure when the
    heart muscle squeezes. The other reading, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure when the heart
    muscle is relaxed. Healthy blood pressure measurements are below the diastolic level of 140 and/or 0r systolic
    level of 90.

    What are the Top 10 Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

    So, how does one feel when they have high blood pressure? Many people with high blood pressure don’t show any
    signs or symptoms. But while there are no unique symptoms that you may feel, there are some signs that may
    indicate the presence of high blood pressure. These include:

    • Severe headaches
    • Chest pains
    • Dizziness
    • Difficult breathing
    • Vomiting and nausea
    • Often being confused
    • Anxiety
    • Bleeding from the nose
    • Irregular heart rates
    • Ears often buzzing

    These symptoms are some general signs that could also indicate the presence of any other condition, like any
    ailment of the heart, lungs, or any other related disorder. Hence when you start to experience any such signs,
    the best way to react is
    regular blood pressure and then contact your doctor. If the doctor
    feels that the measurements are not normal blood pressure readings, they will come up with a plan to manage

    What Causes High Blood Pressure in Young Adults and Men

    Knowing what causes high blood pressure in men and youth is important. There are many risk factors that cause
    hypertension, the persistence of which eventually leads to fatal conditions among younger people, like heart

    Excessive salt intake and obesity are some factors that have been credited as contributing to developing high
    blood pressure and putting the heart health of young people at risk of getting harmed. Salt increases the water
    retention features of the blood. Thus, a greater volume of liquid flows through the vessels, increasing the
    pressure. Obesity, on the other hand, causes narrowing and stiffening of blood vessels and thus increases blood
    pressure in the process.

    Alcohol consumption and smoking also play a role in this regard as these substances have ingredients like
    nicotine that directly impact the lining of your blood vessels, decreasing the area where the blood has to pass,
    and thus increasing the possibility of high blood pressure.

    A person’s family history can also lead to them having a higher possibility of getting high blood pressure.
    Certain genetic markers can transfer high blood pressure from one generation to the next.

    What Causes High Blood Pressure in Women

    The causes of high blood pressure in women are generally the same as in other demographics, as discussed above.
    But some other factors also come into play in the case of women, and the possibility of them experiencing high
    blood pressure.

    Women who haven’t had high blood pressure before may develop it during pregnancy. This is called
    . Most women get cured of this automatically when they give birth. But this
    can persist and can get worse, sometimes putting the lives of both mother and the baby at risk.

    The possibility of getting high blood pressure also increases in women when they reach menopause. This is true
    even if they haven’t had any similar conditions early on. Hence it is advised for women to get their blood
    pressure checked regularly as they age, so they can get a doctor’s help timely and prevent additional pulmonary
    conditions from developing.

    Medications to Treat High Blood Pressure

    Medicines that aim to reduce high blood pressure are called calcium channel blockers. These medications
    essentially limit and control the use of the element calcium by our body. The circulatory system and the heart
    muscles need calcium to function, and thus, these medicines indirectly affect the pressure of blood flowing
    through this system.

    Doctors commonly prescribe these medicines for patients with diagnosed high blood pressure. They are readily
    available to the general public for use. Moreover, they can be used in combination with other medicines without
    any threat of apparent side effects. Regardless, it is always recommended to consult your doctor in these

    However, these may have some side effects depending on the type of medication you are using. These include
    feeling flushed, dizziness, or some swelling of the limbs. Sometimes there may be some side effects due to an
    irregular dose. This tends to increase their effect and cause you to feel digestive issues and even low heart

    Nutrients Needed for Healthy Blood Pressure Levels

    Although treatments and maintenance techniques for increased blood pressure exist, it is always better to avoid
    any habits that may lead to the condition being developed. Having a nutrient-rich diet is one such factor that
    can help you avoid getting the condition.

    You must take more of some nutrients and cut back on others while managing a balanced diet for increased blood
    pressure. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure in your body and hence must be consumed in greater amounts.
    It relaxes the walls of blood vessels and makes the blood more smooth. Some of its sources include bananas,
    oranges, and potatoes.

    • Similarly, magnesium can help your muscles become stronger. Hence it can be good for your heart, making it
      more efficient in resisting higher blood pressure. Calcium inclusion in the diet can be beneficial too. It
      helps to strengthen blood vessels, making them more resistant to higher blood pressure and curbing its
      negative effects. Additionally, fiber causes arteries to become wider and thus reduces the pressure of blood
      flowing within them.

    On the other hand, nutrients like sodium and saturated and trans fats can be harmful to you. Increased sodium
    leads to high water retention in the blood and hence increased blood pressure. Similarly, consumption of “bad
    fats” can harm arteries and cause heart blockages.

    The DASH Diet

    The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a well-known eating plan designed specially to
    combat high blood pressure. It lays down the basic guidelines that one must follow to remain healthy. 

    An ideal diet should contain the intake of fruits and vegetables, as these contain different nutrients like
    vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition to this, whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and
    whole grain bread ought to be consumed as they provide carbohydrates and fiber. 

    Some lean protein sources like poultry, fish, legumes, beans, and nuts provide you with a good dose of protein
    without the saturated fats that may be found in some other sources. Low-fat dairy is another source of lean
    protein that also provides calcium. Moreover, DASH also dictates consuming lesser sugars and salts to prevent
    excess sodium intake.

    It is important to reduce alcohol intake as it can raise the pressure in your blood by making the concentration
    of blood thicker and stronger. Caffeine may also be avoided as its increased intake may cause sudden blood
    pressure spikes, which can be harmful. A balanced dose may be taken as long as it doesn’t lead to significant
    surges in your levels.

    Role of Exercise and Physical Activity

    Including a regular exercise routine in your daily schedule can help reduce the possibility and harmful effects
    of increased blood pressure. Adopting a range of aerobic exercises can strengthen your heart muscles. It,
    therefore, performs its function of pumping blood much more efficiently. Thus, there is less pressure on the
    walls of the artery.

    Exercise also helps to release nitric oxide, which helps in the relaxation of blood vessels. This makes the
    blood flow in these vessels much smoother and hence lower blood pressure.

    As discussed above, an increased body mass also results in a risk of increased blood pressure. Exercise can
    lead you to maintain a healthy weight, and the strain on the cardiovascular system is greatly reduced.

    Additionally, as suggested by many studies, physical activity is a natural stress reliever. Therefore when you
    exercise, your body relaxes and releases a lesser amount of adrenaline which leads to the blood vessels being

    Different Cardiovascular Exercises That You Can Do

    Activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, running, or even hiking can be useful in maintaining good
    cardiovascular health. You can also play your favorite sports as it will engage your interest better than other

    It is important that you remain consistent with your exercise routine. You can start with little activities you
    enjoy, then progress to increasing the duration and intensity.

    Starting Your Fitness Journey

    If you are new to exercise and need some guidance for the basics of fitness, here are some general tips to get
    you going:

    1. Consult your healthcare professional and inform them that you are aiming to start a new exercise regimen,
      especially if you have any previous health issues related to the heart. They can provide necessary insights
      on some exercises that may benefit you or those you should avoid.
    2. You should start slowly and then progress to higher levels of exercise. Some basic activities like
      walking, jogging, or cycling can be a good start before moving on to other strenuous exercises.
    3. Set realistic goals so that you fulfill your daily requirements and stay motivated.
    4. You should include variety in your workouts so that you remain interested and maintain consistency.
    5. Make sure that you hydrate yourself and don’t put any undue stress on your body that may jeopardize your
    6. Make sure that you allow your body to rest in between workouts to help in muscle recovery. 

    If you’re looking for sound expertise to better guide you through these lifestyle changes, you should consider
    the medical professionals present at
    Cardiovascular Group

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