Are you aware that you can have high blood pressure (aka hypertension) for years without any symptoms? This is why the disease is called a silent killer. None or only a few persons could imagine that they could be struck with hypertension in their 30s.
Hypertension is usually believed to be for the aged. How wrong is such a notion? In fact, people in their 20s have been diagnosed with hypertension. Many Nigerians would quickly go spiritual and declare the usual, “It is not my portion” syndrome.
To help you take good care of your heart and forestall the unexpected, you need proper guidance on managing high blood pressure, cholesterol, nutrition, and more.
Olu was only 36 years old when he almost got paralysed, having been tortured by hypertension for many years while oblivious. He could swear in his life he was as fit as a fiddle.
He felt he was always happy, sound, energetic, and active. Weren’t those enough? He thought. He even declined the physician’s counsel when he did a random check during a medical outreach powered by his company in 2019. “I’ve been a happy person. But I didn’t know that it was beyond just being happy,” he told his colleagues on the hospital bed.
Sadly, he came down with a partial stroke caused by hypertension. One thing he wished he did better was a frequent blood pressure check, even once a year.
That is why this article addresses different factors that could be responsible for why more and more young people are developing hypertension and the panacea.
Medics have sternly cautioned that untreated hypertension in younger people and any age can cause artery stiffening, which can increase risk of stroke, as well as kidney and brain damage.
Today, high blood pressure is said to often lead to a number of health conditions in teens and young adults. They are unfortunately mostly ignored by doctors because it could be the least thing to envisage. However, leaving any form of disease untreated can have real consequences.
Medic have, however, attributed this high rate to two major lifestyle factors: overweight and an increasing lifespan. Some researchers have pointed out that the number of people who develop it could eventually be as high as 90 per cent.
Despite how vigilant doctors are in treating the condition in middle-aged and older individuals, this isn’t always the case with younger people.
Active individuals, like the young and athletes, are viewed as free of diseases such as hypertension. A study in a recent medical journal succinctly puts it.
The increased prevalence of traditional risk factors in the young including obesity, diabetes mellitus, and renal disease, heightens the risk of developing hypertension in younger adults. This is according to findings across the globe.
Below are a few proven preventive measures to put in place to avoid falling to hypertension.
GET YOURSELF ENOUGH SLEEP
You must be deliberate in ensuring that you sleep for at least seven to eight hours everyday, experts have advised. Getting enough sleep is important to your overall health, and enough sleep is part of keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy.
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Being overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat.
Talk with your health care team about ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity.
KNOW YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Normal blood pressure readings should be 120 (systolic)/ 80 (diastolic). Hypertension is any reading of 140/90 or higher.
In the case of ISH, only the top (systolic) number is high, while the lower number is within a normal range.
Young people with elevated blood pressure, even those with only a high systolic number, but normal diastolic number may have an abnormally stiff aorta, which should not be ignored, experts have said.
However, they should have close follow-up and talk with their primary care physicians to see if their condition needs to be treated.
For those who smoke, you need to flee from smoking because it raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor or a counsellor may help in suggesting ways to help you quit.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES CAN HELP
Hypertension is highly treatable or can be effectively managed through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
Modifying diet and exercise habits are two of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure.
Everyone is expected to get, at least, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week.
It is recommended that adults get at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week. That’s about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Also, children and adolescents should get one hour of physical activity every day.
As far as diet is concerned, nutritionists recommend meals rich in vegetables and fruits. Minimising salt intake is also important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Cardiologists have submitted that there are seven or eight different types of evidence that all point to the role of salt, but if people cut their salt intake by half it reduces blood pressure.
Now that you know these tips, eat, drink, sleep, avoid or limit alcohol, and live wisely.