Increasing its prevalence within all age groups, courtesy the unhealthy dietary patterns and increased stress levels amid the frequent Covid-19 lockdowns, hypertension or high blood pressure has become more important now than ever to maintain. It is a lifestyle disease which is affecting more than 30% of the adult population worldwide or more than one billion people around the world, especially more during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
High stress levels, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits are some of the main reasons for hypertension in young people. Prolonged hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for severe medical conditions such as coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, vision loss, chronic kidney disease and even dementia.
Hypertension or high blood pressure has become a serious issue owing to the lifestyle we lead and our preferences to junk food, irregular sleep patterns and stress are major contributors to this chronic illness. Dr Deepak Verma, Internal Medicine Consultant at Columbia Asia Hospital in Ghaziabad shares, “The rise of hypertension in young people, especially in urban areas, is alarming and a matter of huge concern for two reasons — a) uncontrolled hypertension can have fatal results such as heart attack or stroke and b) it is a preventable lifestyle disease that can also make a person more susceptible to Covid-19, irrespective of age.”
Lifestyle changes to prevent hypertension –
Dr Deepak Verma suggests that hypertension is a lifelong disease and preventing it is always better than trying to control it. He lists simple lifestyle changes that can help one prevent or delay the onset of hypertension, including:
1. Reduced salt intake in diet
2. Limiting sodium and alcohol intake
3. Eating a variety and heart-friendly foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and low-fat dairy.
4. One must also avoid a sedentary life at all cost — moderate exercise regularly can help a lot to gain optimum weight and shed extra weight.
5. Manage stress through yoga and meditation
6. Quit smoking
Did you know hypertension can cause infertility issues in men while high blood pressure can lead to pregnancy complications in women?
Dr Aswati Nair, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF in New Delhi shares, “The high prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension in women leads to diverse pregnancy outcomes including premature delivery, foetal growth restriction, foetal death, placental abruption and caesarean delivery but in men, hypertension can result in many infertility issues such as having a lower semen volume, sperm motility, total sperm count and motile sperm count.”
High BP or hypertension controlling tips for couples planning to conceive during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic –
Dr Aswati Nair recommends, “It’s essential that a couple, who are planning to conceive, first combat high blood pressure with a healthy diet and appropriate physical activity, maintain a healthy weight and practice stress management techniques.”
High BP or hypertension controlling tips for pregnant women –
According to Dr Manisha Ranjan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital in Noida, high blood pressure or hypertension is quite a common condition in women during pregnancy and the fear and stress of the deadly coronavirus infection is making them more prone to it during pandemic times. Since this co-morbid condition makes hypertension patients more vulnerable for contracting moderate to serve Covid illness, if they get positive, Dr Manisha advices that pregnant women should:
1. Follow a healthy lifestyle and mindful living.
2. Foods with high sources of salt and sodium like pickles, frozen items and canned soups should be avoided.
3. Eating with mindfulness is one of the major responsibilities of a pregnant woman with hypertension.
4. They should practice yoga or meditation to keep the stress away.
5. One should also stay away from negative news that has become quite rampant on electronic and social media.
6. They should also remain in touch with their gynaecologist and measure their blood pressure regularly.
7. Special Covid appropriate behaviour like social distance, hand hygiene, mask and strict blood pressure control with diet, yoga, meditation and medication.
8. Don’t forget to take the pills if your doctor has suggested you to control the hypertension because unmanaged high blood pressure can be fatal for both the mother and the child.