If you think you are young and don’t need to worry about high blood pressure, think again.
According to the Malaysian Society of Hypertension (MSH), younger people are getting affected by high blood pressure, mainly due to poor eating habits and an unhealthy lifestyle.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries.
It has 2 components:
- Systolic pressure
- The top number
- Represents the pressure the heart generates when it beats to pump blood to the rest of the body.
- Diastolic pressure
- The bottom number
- Refers to the pressure in the blood vessels between heartbeats.
High blood pressure is diagnosed when one or both of these numbers is too high. High blood pressure is also called hypertension,
Blood pressure is categorized as follows:
Normally, systolic pressure increases as we age. However, after age 60, diastolic pressure usually begins to decline. Prehypertension is not a disease yet. But it does mean you are at increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
Damage from High Blood Pressure
Although high blood pressure can cause symptoms such as headache and pounding heartbeat, it often causes no symptoms at all. Even when high blood pressure is not causing any symptoms, it can silently damage many organs, including the:
- Arteries throughout the body
You may not recognize the damage that silent hypertension has been doing to your body until you suddenly are stricken with a major disease. For example, increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
The Potential Risk for High Blood Pressure
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk:
- Blood pressure tends to rise with age
- High blood pressure is more common in African American adults
- People who are overweight or have obesity are more likely to develop prehypertension or high blood pressure
- Men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure before age 55
- Women are more likely than men to develop it after age 55
- Certain lifestyle habits can raise your risk for high blood pressure, such as eating too much sodium or not enough potassium, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol and smoking
- Family history
- A family history of high blood pressure raises the risk of developing prehypertension or high blood pressure
5 Simple Steps to Control Blood Pressure
- Know your numbers
- Most people diagnosed with high blood pressure want to stay below 140/90, but your healthcare provider can tell you your personal target blood pressure
- Make a plan
- Work with your healthcare provider to make a plan to lower your blood pressure
- Make a few lifestyle changes
- Lose weight
- Strive for a body mass index between 18 and 25
- Eat healthier
- Eat natural fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy and lean protein, but lower your saturated and total fat
- Reduce sodium
- Stay under 1,500 mg a day, which is associated with the greatest reduction in blood pressure
- Get active
- Shoot for 40 minutes, 3-4 times a week
- Take suitable supplement
- A diagnosis of high blood pressure doesn’t have to mean years of prescription medications. Targeted nutrients, along with blood pressure-lowering diet changes and lifestyle modifications, can bring your numbers down to a healthy level
- Lose weight
- Keep checking your blood pressure at home
- Make a habit of checking blood pressure regularly, tracking readings and sharing them with your healthcare provider
- Take medication as prescribed
- Take medications exactly the way your healthcare provider prescribes them