Medecine concept - Blackboard with word "Cholesterol", stethoscope, book, pills on blue wooden background
Hypertension is recognized as one of the three major risk factors for coronary heart disease. The other two major risk factors are smoking and high cholesterol. Hypertension and high cholesterol are closely linked. When blood pressure becomes abnormally high, the arteries become hardened and narrowed with cholesterol plaque and calcium (atherosclerosis) due to which heart has to strain much harder to pump blood through them. Scientists have found that when people have more than one risk factor, like high blood cholesterol and hypertension, these factors work together to make risk of heart disease much worse. Hypertension is rising very abruptly in India to extent of 20 to 40% annually. Following are some important facts to consider: –
1. Too much alcohol is dangerous – High alcohol consumption often leads to increased calorie intake and obesity. All forms of alcohol including beer, wine and whiskey contain calories. Most people end up eating a lot of extra calories in the form of snacks with alcohol. So, it is always better to consume alcohol in limits.
2. Quit smoking – Quit smoking for heart’s sake, as nicotine in cigarette raise blood pressure, heart rate, narrow arteries, hardens the walls and make blood more likely to clot.
3. Lifestyle changes – A person with hypertension and noted to have high cholesterol, the risk of heart attack is more additive, therefore it is very important to focus attention and control both hypertension as well as high cholesterol. Lifestyle changes are likely to benefit both hypertension and high cholesterol.
4. Dietary Changes – Control of obesity requires dietary changes and regular physical exercise. Dietary changes including a reduction in the intake of saturated fat and helps to bring cholesterol down. Salt intake must be kept to a minimum. Avoid table salt. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables.
5. Benefits of physical exercise – Physical exercise not only helps in weight loss but also controls cholesterol and hypertension.
6. Reduce stress – Stress can be the cause of high blood pressure in many cases. So, it is very important to manage stress. Meditation is really helpful in such cases.
“Health is correlated with quality of life. If you get regular physical activity, have social connections, control your cholesterol, keep your blood pressure at a normal level, don’t smoke – these things can make an enormous difference not only in how long you live, but how much enjoy your life in those years “. —- Tom Frieden.