Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition that affects people of all ages around the world. It is often referred to as the "silent killer" because it can go unnoticed for years, quietly damaging your health and increasing the risk of serious complications. However, with proper awareness, accurate measurement of blood pressure, and effective control, you can lead a healthier and longer life.
What is Hypertension?
Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. Hypertension occurs when this pressure remains consistently high over time. It is usually categorized into two types: primary (essential) and secondary hypertension.
Primary hypertension is the most common type, accounting for about 90% of cases, and its exact cause is often unknown. On the other hand, secondary hypertension is caused by an underlying health condition, such as kidney disease, hormonal disorders, or certain medications.
Why is Accurate Measurement Important?
Accurately measuring your blood pressure is crucial for both diagnosis and management of hypertension. Many factors can influence blood pressure readings, such as stress, physical activity, and even the way the measurement is taken. By ensuring accuracy, healthcare professionals can make informed decisions about your treatment plan, and you can monitor your progress more effectively.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Measurement:
1.Use a dependable blood pressure monitor: Invest in a high-quality, validated blood pressure monitor for home use. Automatic digital monitors are widely available and provide accurate readings when used correctly.
2.Follow the instructions: Read and follow the instructions provided with your blood pressure monitor carefully. Improper use can lead to inaccurate readings.
3.Choose the right cuff size: Use the appropriate cuff size for your arm. A cuff that is too small or too large can affect the accuracy of the measurement.
4.Rest before measurement: Sit quietly and relax for at least 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
5.Avoid caffeine, smoking, and exercise for at least 30 minutes beforehand.
Position yourself correctly: Sit upright with your back supported, feet flat on the floor, and arm resting on a table at heart level. Ensure the cuff is at the same level as your heart. Do remember you may also take your BP while standing or laying down but ensure you compare readings in same position only.
6.Take multiple readings: Measure your blood pressure at least twice, with a brief break in between. Record the average of the readings for a more reliable result.
7. Avoid tight clothing while taking blood pressure readings e.g. tight necktie or other undergarments.
Controlling Hypertension for a Longer Life:
Healthy lifestyle choices: Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial in managing hypertension. Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Reduce your salt intake and limit processed and fatty foods. Engage in regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, for at least 150 minutes per week.
Maintain a healthy weight: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is vital for blood pressure control. Losing excess weight, if necessary, can significantly reduce blood pressure levels.
Reduce stress: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in hobbies, or seeking support from friends and family.
Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol intake can raise blood pressure. If you drink, do so in moderation. Men should limit alcohol to two drinks per day, and women to one drink per day.
Quit smoking: Smoking damages blood vessels and increases the risk of heart disease. If you smoke, seek help to quit. Your healthcare provider can guide you through smoking cessation programs or recommend appropriate resources.
Regular medical check-ups: Regularly visit your healthcare provider to monitor your blood pressure and overall health. They can adjust your treatment plan, if needed.
Finally spread the message about High Blood Pressure and you will be saving many lives ; Be a LIFE SAVER from today!!
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/ Mobissel
*Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise. He is the author of the award-winning book, ‘Unravelling The Essentials of Health & Wealth.’
Thought for the week – “17th May is World Hypertension Day, a perfect day to remind ourselves of the dangers of High Blood Pressure and the lifestyle changes we can adopt to control our blood pressure. It all starts with MEASURING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE ACCURATELY.