Why Do Young Adults Need to Worry About Hypertension?
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most prevalent lifestyle diseases. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.23 billion adults aged 30-79 years old have hypertension with almost two-thirds of them living in developing countries. However, hypertension has no longer remained a “disease of old people”. Young adults are now at a high risk of developing hypertension with future complications related to heart disease, which underscores the importance of hypertension awareness and radical lifestyle changes that one needs to make.
Over the years, healthcare experts have identified certain factors that impact blood pressure, which include family history, obesity or overweight, alcohol consumption, sleeping habits, use of tobacco, too much salt in the diet, and stress. It is quite normal for an athlete to have elevated blood pressure due to rigorous physical activities. However, abnormal spikes in blood pressure should be taken seriously with immediate consultation with the doctor. This leaves us with the next question. What is an abnormal spike? Healthcare researchers have divided hypertension into four stages
Normal- less than 120/80 mmHg
Elevated- systolic between 120&129 mmHg and diastolic < 80 mmHg
Stage 1- systolic between 130&139 and diastolic between 80-89 mmHg
Stage 2- systolic~140 mmHg and diastolic~90 mmHg.
These newly formulated categories put more people into the elevated category, who were previously considered hypertensive. Therefore, routine blood pressure check-up has become even more essential for young adults. It also becomes significantly more quintessential because early hypertension in young adults could create severe heart problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack. Physicians believe such cases of elevated blood pressure can be mitigated with appropriate lifestyle changes and medicines. Here is what an individual can do to avert the possibility of hypertension in early adulthood.
1. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Although it may sound quite obvious, the importance of a healthy diet cannot be underestimated, especially in the case of hypertension. Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, and foods rich in potassium can help you keep blood pressure in check. Choose snacks with low salt and saturated fat and adopt a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan, which is known for helping people keep blood pressure low.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity or being overweight is one of the key triggers of hypertension. Having those extra kilos really puts one at increased risk of hypertension. Maintaining a healthy weight and appropriate body fat would be key in keeping blood pressure normal.
3. Be Physically Active
Complementing the second point, being physically active such as brisk walking for 30 minutes, bicycling, or walking every week would help you maintain the blood pressure in the normal range.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking increases your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk of other diseases as well including heart attack, stroke, and lung cancer. If you are a smoker already, quitting would be the best decision you’ll ever make.
5. Manage Stress
Your body produces a surge of hormones when you are in a stressful situation. These newly produced hormones increase your blood pressure causing your heart to beat faster. Managing stress is really important while keeping blood pressure low.
6. Consult a Physician
Getting your blood pressure routinely checked and regular consultation with the doctor is important when you are managing hypertension. A cardiologist has special training in preventing, identifying, and treating blood pressure and heart diseases.
Early onset of hypertension in young adults can be really detrimental. Epidemiological studies suggest significant lifestyle changes, routine blood pressure checkup and regular consultation with the doctor can make a notable difference. Moreover, the more you know about the disease, the better equipped you are to deal with it. Visit BP in Control to learn more about hypertension, its potential causes, prevention methods, and get an expert’s advice.
Note of Caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor in case of any blood pressure or other health-related problems.