You would have always heard of the phrase ‘tension’ used by Malaysians from all walks of life. In fact, it is very often that people would say ‘tension, tension’ especially under stressed moments or when a situation is not very favourable. This term as it implies refer to a certain type of duress situation that Malaysians tend to accustom to.
Hypertension is among the top 3 diseases in Malaysia today. It is more commonly referred to high blood pressure and is a major cause of other related diseases like heart problems and such. It was reported recently that about 3.5 million Malaysians suffering from hypertension are not aware that they are having such problems. Some 2.3 million people turned up at the clinics for treatment while many more others are not even aware that they are having this problem.
Hypertension is a non-communicable disease which means that it is very much known as the silent-killer. The Health Department of Malaysia has been constantly calling on Malaysians above 30 years old to go for screening tests and check their blood pressure level as early detection will ensure that treatment can be accorded.
This is one situation where arteries have persistently elevated the blood pressure which is the force of blood being pushed up against the walls of the blood vessels when the heart beats. To check if you have high blood pressure, all you need is to use the blood pressure device and anything below the 120/80 mark is considered fine. 120 is the systolic measurement which is the peak pressure while the minimum pressure or diastolic measurement is the 80 mark. Anything above that until 139/89 is where you are having pre-hypertension and if it is above that mark, you are already suffering from hypertension and medication will be needed.
The most common known causes of hypertension come from a few factors and it is usually related to lifestyle. Work stress, problems and food intake are among the most known sources. Lack of exercising and too extreme lifestyles is major causes as well. As you would know, Malaysia is the food haven. Overeating and obesity can cause hypertension while high levels of salt intake too can be factors for this disease. Our Char Keow Teow, Maggie Goreng, Fried Chicken and fast food are among the food that should be taken moderately as they contain a lot of salt and Ajinomoto.
Hypertension is one of the few popularly known ‘silent killers’. As such, it does not really give any warning when it attacks. In fact, hypertension is something which builds up over many years which means that prevention needs to start from an early age. Food consumption is the single most influential contributor to hypertension while other factors like working and living conditions, stress and the external environment contribute to this disease as well.
Taking supplements that regulate the blood pressure will be the best initial step as this will try and reduce stress on the heart while ensuring that food intake is properly processed. A healthy diet is very important which should be high in fiber and low in meat. Perhaps the most important ingredient which should be reduced is salt and ‘flavouring like ajinomoto’. Amidst all that, you should reduce alcohol and caffeine is possible while quitting smoking would be most ideal. To maintain a healthy weight, ensure that you exercise regularly and maintaining a healthy mental state by learning to cope with stress.
Knowing that you are having hypertension is very easy as the symptoms can be quite clear. As this disease will develop over many years, when you experience something unusual like nausea or fatigue, then chances are you might be facing hypertension. Early stages of hypertension will involve minor headaches, dizzy spells and even nosebleed although such signs might not be conclusive until you have them checked by a doctor.
When you see the doctor, your blood pressure will be checked using a sphygmomanometer where you will be advised accordingly. If it is found that you have hypertension, then medication will be recommended but this is usually after all other measures have failed.
Hypertension is often referred to as high-blood pressure and this is one disease which is experienced by many people around the world today. This is mainly due to the type of lifestyle practiced by people in the world today where diets are filled with all types of saturated fats and unhealthy ingredients which contribute to rising blood pressure.
It has been reported that Malaysia has recorded a sharp increase in hypertension cases in the last 10 years which affects about 4.8million Malaysians. Among these, 43% of them are above 30 years of age as it is when most Malaysians are facing stress at work and are not as cautious when it comes to food intake and active lifestyle practices.
Dietary Guide for Hypertension
Hypertension is directly linked to high blood pressure which if not treated accordingly could lead to some serious problems with health. This includes causing heart attacks and even strokes. The most common factors that could lead to hypertension is obesity which is most commonly linked with the daily diet and food intake.
A person tends to become obese when he or she takes too much salt or sodium in the food. This will directly cause an increase in the blood pressure and will then lead to hypertension.
In Malaysia, there are many types of food which could be prepared using a variety of ingredients. Some are very high on salt because it helps to create the taste in the food. As such, most people are unaware of the level of salt in the food as they vary from dish to dish.
The best way to avoid excessive salt is to go for food that needs to be cooked instead of eating ready-cooked food. Tell the chef to cook with lesser salt.
The ideal salt intake for a normal adult is 6 grams per day. This is equivalent to about 2 grams of Sodium which is about 1 teaspoon.
Foods with low levels of salt or sodium are fiber rich foods like fruits, vegetables, flour, rice, whole meal bread, nuts and legumes.
Moderate salt level foods include various types of meat, fish, egg and milk.
Meanwhile, flavoring agents like MSG, soy sauce and soy paste are those with high levels of salt. Other foods include vegetable extracts, dressing like salad cream and mayonnaise, raising agents like bicarbonate soda or baking powder and processed food like canned foods and cereals.
If possible, try to avoid preserved foods like burgers and frankfurters (hot dogs) because they have extremely high contents of salt which if taken in high volume could be very risky.
Having hypertension simply means that your blood pressure is too high for a normal person and this is usually contributed by your regular diet and lifestyle. Checking your blood pressure can be done at every family doctor who will be able to advise you on the next course of action. In most cases, doctors will recommend a change in your lifestyle and eating habits. If required you will need some medication while you could be referred to a specialist. This is where you will see a cardiologist who is a specialist in the treatment of diseases pertaining to the heart and blood vessels. In most cases, you will only be required to see the cardiologist if your blood pressure becomes too difficult to control.
There is no doubt that hypertension can be a fatal disease which can lead to death if not treated early. Symptoms of hypertension can be easily recognized because it will affect your heart. If you feel breathless all the time, fall sick too easily or fatigue then you should consult your doctor immediately. More serious symptoms include heart attacks, stroke and even kidney failure while you could be experiencing vision loss or blurred image. Besides that, you could be experiencing bleeding and severe headaches that are unnatural.
There are many common types of medication used to treat patients with hypertension. Among them includes diuretics which are known as water pills. This drug helps to reduce your blood pressure by flushing out excessive water and sodium through urination as well as reducing your potassium. Beta blockers are used to decrease nerve impulses to your heart in order to reduce your heart beat rate which includes acebutolol, atenolol, timolol and metoprolol. Apart from that, you could be prescribed with ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme) Inhibitors formulated for high blood pressure, Angiotensin-2 Receptor Antagonists like losartan and eprosartan and Central Alpha Agonists like clonidine hydrochloride.
The best home remedy you can adopt to treat hypertension is to watch your diet and practice a healthy fitness regime. Exercising is the main key to regulate your blood pressure and system while you must practice a fiber-rich diet because your body needs a lot of fiber to break down the foods that you eat. Manufactured foods with high contents of saturated fats must be avoided while seafood, shellfish and egg yolks should be avoided at all costs because they are the main contributors to high cholesterol.
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
If you have high blood pressure or hypertension, chances are you will be put under a monitoring situation in which you will constantly be keeping your blood pressure in check. Your doctor will carry out routine checks on your blood pressure and you will have a reading of certain numbers which can sometimes be confusing. So what do these numbers mean?
The result of the reading will be in double digits which will be xx/yy.
In this context, xx refers to the systolic reading which is usually the higher among the 2 numbers. It is used to measure the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats. This basically means when your heart muscle contracts as well.
Meanwhile, yy refers to the lower set of numbers. It is the lower value on as well and is called diastolic. This number is used to depict the pressure in your arteries which was captured in between the heartbeats. In other words, it is when your heart muscle is not active between 2 heartbeats and that is when blood is being refilled. In most cases, the systolic blood pressure reading is more prominent because it is a major risk factor for people who are above 50 years old as they are in prone to cardiovascular diseases. In most cases, the systolic reading will increase in accordance to your age because your arteries are not as efficient while long-term build-up of plaque can cause such situations as well.
Where this is concerned, your blood pressure reading will indicate the seriousness of your condition. This simply means that when your systolic and diastolic readings are too high, then you will need immediate treatment. Basically the following readings can be used as reference.
Normal Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is considered as ‘Normal’ and you are healthy if you systolic is not more than 120 while your diastolic is not more than 80. This means that if the reading is 110/78, then you are basically healthy and do not need any medication or in any danger. However, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet.
After checking, if your systolic is between 120 and 139 while your diastolic is between 80 and 89, then you are in the Pre-Hypertension stage. This is where you have to be very careful with your regular diet. You should reduce on foods with saturated fats and processed products like French fries to keep your blood pressure low. In most cases, your doctor will advise you to change your diet habits and no medication will be required yet.
Hypertension Stage 1
This happens when your systolic is between 140 and 159 while your diastolic is between 90 and 99. For instance, if your blood pressure reading is 142/93, then you are in this stage. It can be quite dangerous now because you will need to be on medication to regulate your blood pressure. If you do not watch your diet, you could be heading to some major problems.
Hypertension Stage 2
This happens when your systolic reading is above 160 and diastolic reading is more than 100. Your doctor will prescribe medicine on a long term basis because you are in the high risk of cardiovascular disease group.
If your reading for systolic is more than 180 and over 110 for diastolic, then you need emergency care immediately as you are like a walking time bomb that can explode anytime!