Welcome to the health and nutrition column proudly hosted by EFF Bootcamp (Explosive Functional Fitness). We are honoured to share our knowledge on health, well-being and nutrition. As a fitness facility helping other individuals become the best and healthiest versions of them
selves, is our top priority and we provide our clients with a helping hand as they embark on their health, fitness and wellness journey.
In this article, we’ll be investigating Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure which is the elevation of pressure in your arteries. When this occurs the heart works twice as much to circulate blood through the vessels.
Hypertension is known to be one of the main cardiovascular risk factors that affect about 40% of adults worldwide. This global public health issue is the leading cause of premature death, and an important modifiable risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, and renal failure (Olive & Tanui, 2014).
The total number of people who suffer from this common condition is shocking and it’s crazy to think so much of it is correlated to lifestyle choices, poor diet, excess weight gain, and a lack of physical activity.
Usually, hypertensive symptoms may be experienced in severe cases. These symptoms are throbbing headaches, anxiety, nose bleeding and shortness of breath (Olive & Tanui, 2014).
And you’ve probably heard this before but lifestyle change is one of the most effective ways to manage high blood pressure. By changing up your daily habits you can also delay hypertension as well as even prevent it permanently (Olive & Tanui, 2014).
Let’s dive into some factors and contributions of hypertension.
First on our list, maintaining a healthy normal body weight plays a large role in the prevention and reduction of high blood pressure.
Trials have documented that weight loss lowers blood pressure (Singh et al, 2017).
A modest weight loss can prevent hypertension in pre-hypertensive individuals and can facilitate medication step down and drug withdrawal.
Hypertension is also said to be more prevalent in older aged individuals although it is on the rise in children. This being heavily linked with an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity being the main reasons.
It is no secret that evidence found in adult hypertension has its antecedents during childhood, as childhood hypertension predicts ‘hypertension in adulthood say’s Singh et al, 2017.
Other factors that contribute to hypertension is alcohol. Alcohol is well known for the harmful effects it has on your liver, heart, pancreas, blood pressure and other organ systems (Meador et al, 2020).
An individual with a normal blood pressure rating risks developing hypertension based on how frequently they drink alcohol as well as the number of doses consumed per occasion (Meador et al, 2020).
Further, studies suggest an uncontrolled alcohol consumption with your meal may also increase your chances of developing hypertension. Especially among those who consume alcohol excessively (Meador et al, 2020).
Which brings us to cigarette smoking. Smoking tobacco puts you at major risk for cardiovascular problems and diseases.
Heart and blood vessels are affected as a result of smoking due to the harmful side effects of some compounds, found in nicotine and carbon monoxide (Meador et al, 2020).
This applies to both active and passive cigarette smoke exposure and is associated with a decrease in vasodilator function.
Even worse long-term cigarette smoking raises blood pressure by causing an increase in inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, plaque progression and vascular damage (Singh et al, 2017).
Another alarming contribution to hypertension is salt, excess salt intake is associated with the elevation of high blood pressure.
The amount of salt a normal person consumes on a daily basis is about 9 – 12 g’s which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of salt.
Lowering it to 5g per day has effective benefits especially to people who are hypertensive (Singh et al, 2017).
This is very disturbing but the truth is, high levels of salt intake is directly linked to a greater incidence of strokes and total cardiovascular events.
We know this may be a hard pill to swallow for many but the statistics do not lie.
Evidence shows that a reduction of alcohol and salt intake, smoking cessation, execution of the regular physical activity, correction of overweight with the adoption of a balanced norm-caloric diet, that is rich in fresh fruits and low in saturated fats, are the main lifestyle changes that determine the best results for prevention and treatment of hypertension (2017, Singh et al).
That brings us to our next section, on preventative measures and solutions to hypertension. There is clear evidence that lifestyle habits have a great influence on blood pressure value.
Lifestyle changes can provide beneficial effects in hypertensive individuals, by reducing global cardiovascular risk and all-cause mortality (Bruno et al, 2018).
Regularly performed exercise ranging from mild to moderate intensity is effective in lowering blood pressure in hypertensive individuals for all ages and both genders.
Opening yourself up to physical activity can help prevent the development of hypertension in the long run.
A comparison was made between physically active individuals and sedentary active individuals, and the results were mind-blowing. Approximately 35% to 70% of people who do not engage in physical activity stand a higher chance of developing hypertension when compared to their physically active peers.
Regular exercise training is shown to be useful to ameliorate lipid profile, glycaemic control and overweight, reducing the global cardiovascular risk and mortality.
In addition to reducing alcohol and salt intake, as noted above, a variety of evidence suggests that the adoption of a healthy balanced diet plays a great role in lowering blood pressure value in a person.
The effects of modifying your dietary patterns in particular, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fibre and fish oil is effective in reducing blood pressure.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly found in fish, have demonstrated a benefit for cardiovascular disease risk reduction, supporting higher amounts of fish intake improves the arterial stiffness and endothelial function.
Olive oil consumption has also been associated with increased antioxidant properties. Extra virgin olive oil contains phenolic compounds, hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein which are potent antioxidants, free radical scavengers and enzyme modulators.
These are the beneficial effects of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables on blood pressure and on the cardiovascular risk person.
A Mediterranean diet has all these beneficial properties because it is very low in saturated fats and guarantees an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals and beneficial non-nutrient substances.
It is based on high consumption of olive oil, legumes, cereals, fruits, vegetables, fish and low consumption of meat and meat products.
Then, there is ample evidence that dietary change with reduced caloric intake, whether appropriate, increased consumption of fish, fruits and vegetables and reduced intake of saturated fatty acids offers an additional nutritional approach to the prevention and treatment of hypertension (Bruno et al, 2018).
In conclusion, we believe that lifestyle changes should come before any kind of pharmaceutical treatment. Health professionals should not prescribe medication without clearly informing patients in detail about the benefits that a desirable lifestyle can bring to their health and provide psychological and motivational support (Bruno et al, 2018).
At EFF bootcamp we have helped countless clients come off from their chronic meditation. When you make health and well-being a priority you make the decision of investing in yourself. For Gouwa, she had a big goal in mind and that was to permanently get off from her chronic medication after being diagnosed with Hypertension. By putting herself first this had an enormous impact on her health, weight-loss, fitness and confidence.
We’ve added the youtube link to this video, listen to her story and be inspired. >> https://youtu.be/KXebcrqJyKU
Njamb,O. Tanui, A. (2017). Lifestyle modification in prevention of hypertension: patient empowerment.
Shikha, S. (2017). International Hypertension Journal.
Bruno et al. (2018,) Hypertension Management 4:030 DOI: 10.23937/2474-3690/1510030 Volume 4 | Issue 1 Journal of Open Access
Bruno CM., Amaradio, MD., Pricoco, G., Marino, E., Bruno, F., (2018) Lifestyle and Hypertension: An Evidence-Based Review. J Hypertens Manag 4:030.
Meador, L., Joy, H., Do, PhD., et al., (2020) Information Family & Community Health: 3(1), – p 35-45
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