Blood pressure measurement takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping. Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first number is the systolic number on top and represents the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats. The second number is the diastolic number at the bottom and represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.
Systolic Value (2000)
2021 WHO guidelines
<120mm/Hg / <80mm/Hg
Borderline High/ Elevated
Hypertension Stage 1
130-139 OR/ 80-89 mm/Hg
Hypertension Stage 2
>140 OR >90 mm/Hg
Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure. It is a serious medical condition in which the force of the circulating blood against the walls of the body’s artery is very high. The narrower your arteries are, the more resistance there is, and the higher your blood pressure will be. Over the long term, the increased pressure can cause serious health problems and significantly increase the risks of heart disease, brain, kidney and other diseases. Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide regardless of gender.
Most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. It is for this reason that Hypertension is called a "silent killer".
Risk factors for hypertension include the following:
Excessive salt consumption
Poor intake of fruits and vegetables
Eating foods high in saturated fats and trans fats
Lack of sufficient physical activity and lower levels of fitness
Regular consumption of tobacco and alcohol
Overweight or obesity
Physical inactivity over the years
High levels of stress
Family history of hypertension
Age over 65 years
Individuals diagnosed with either diabetes or metabolic syndrome
Treatment for hypertension includes both prescription medication and healthy lifestyle changes. The good news is that lifestyle changes can be powerful tools for managing many cases of hypertension, or even reversing the diagnosis. These changes include:
Include a variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables into your diet
Reduce salt intake to ½ - ¾ th tsp per day. Avoid salted drinks like lime juice, buttermilk etc. Avoid papads, pickles, ORS/Electral, biscuits, breads and processed foods like ham, bacon, sausages, salami) etc.
Cut out caffeine-containing beverages and supplements. Avoid excess green tea intake.
Cut out foods high in cholesterol & trans fats. For example, red meats and processed foods
Increase fibre intake through high fibre cereals like oats, whole wheat, buckwheat, etc. high fibre vegetables like beans, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, etc & high fibre fruits like oranges, apples, papaya, etc.
Stay hydrated through the day by increasing water intake to 2-3 litres a day.
Reduce stress, improve sleep, rest & recovery.
Reduce body fat and increase muscle mass.
Maintain a healthy weight by staying physically active. Stick to a consistent exercise regime.
Include regular cardiovascular exercises, meditation, deep breathing exercises and relaxing stretches in your exercise routine.
Limit the consumption of alcohol, as drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
It is advisable to quit smoking as smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate.
Although high blood pressure is most common in adults, children may be at risk, too. For some children, high blood pressure is caused by problems with the kidneys or heart. However, poor lifestyle habits and unhealthy diets is a cause for high blood pressure in a growing number of kids.
It is essential that blood pressure be measured regularly. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected and in a quick and painless process. Although individuals can measure their own blood pressure using automated devices, an evaluation by a health professional is important for assessment of risk and associated conditions. Once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.