Hypertension – Pressure point
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure (BP) is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the arteries – the major blood vessels – as the heart pumps it around the body. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when force of that pressure in the vessels is too great and forces the heart’s muscles to pump harder and more frequently than it should.
It’s also known as a ‘silent killer’ – a person with hypertension may not show any obvious symptoms. Blood pressure is considered high when the systolic measurement – the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats – is >140 mm Hg, and the diastolic pressure value (when the heart relaxes between the beats) is >90 mm Hg.
How does Covid-19 affect hypertension?
dying as a result of the coronavirus Covid-19* compared to those without hypertension, and patients not taking their medication to control their BP are more at risk, according to the European Heart Journal. In a retrospective observational study, researchers found that 34 out of 850 people (4%) with high blood pressure died of Covid-19 compared to 22 out of 2027 patients (1.1%) with normal blood pressure. In addition, among the patients who didn’t take medication, Source: American Heart Association, 2017 7.9% died after contracting Covid-19, compared to the 3.2% fatalities in those who did take medication.
The dangers of a high salt intake
Too much salt in your diet increases blood pressure. High BP causes damage to the blood vessels, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. The increased workload can also weaken the heart and lead to heart failure. Tiredness, shortness of breath and swollen ankles are often experienced.
How to keep your BP in check
Eat a nutritious, balanced diet.
Cut back on your sodium intake.
Know your numbers.
Choose a healthy diet
Make it a lasting lifestyle choice – a heart-healthy approach will include:
a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Apart from reducing your salt intake, avoid foods with added sugar and bad fats too:
steer clear of sugary drinks.
Cut down on unhealthy fats
like saturated and trans fats – found in foods such as fatty and processed meats, and fast and deep-fried foods – which can raise bad cholesterol levels