High blood pressure (hypertension) can kill you! It has been called the “silent killer” because it often remains symptomless for years. People with high blood pressure are three time more likely to have a heart attack and eight times more likely to suffer a stroke, than are people with normal blood pressure. Hypertension is common among those over 40, and it is on the increase throughout the orient – especially in large cities.
When a doctor gives you a blood pressure reading, it consists of two numbers for example, 120/80. Normal blood pressure should be no higher than 140/90. Thus blood pressure of 160/95 is classified as hypertension. One blood pressure reading may not be enough to determine a person’s blood pressure accurately. You may have to make two or three visits to your doctor to be sure of your true reading. This is because your emotional state can affect your blood pressure.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
What cause hypertension? About 10 percent of all cases are due to kidney or adrenal disease, but the remaining 90 percent have no definitely known cause. There are, however, six factors that may contribute to high blood pressure.
1. Some people are more sensitive to salt than others. In fact, the sodium in salt may actually be the number one cause of hypertension. Those populations consuming very little salt, less than 0.5 grams per day have no incidence of high blood pressure. The Lao tribespeople in the Solomon Islands, however, do have higher than normal blood pressures – and they traditionally boil there vegetables in sea water, thereby consuming up to 20grams of salt per day.
Norther Japanese preserve farmers preserve their food with salt and eat an average of 30 grams of salt per day. Sixty percent of these farmers have hypertension, and strokes are the most common cause of death among them.
This does not mean that salt should be eliminated from the diet entirely. Salt is vital to health, but our bodies need only 0.2grams of sodium per day. If we cut salt intake to one teaspoonful of salt per day (including the preparation of food) we could solve one of our biggest health problems. Individuals with hypertension would have to cut the salt even more.
2. Atherosclerosis (narrowing of blood vessels by cholesterol build-up) is also thought to be a factor in hypertension. If this proves to be true, avoiding excessive fat and cholesterol in our diets would be great help.
3. Obesity may also contribute to hypertension. Every pound of fat requires thousands of extra blood vessels. These in turn require a high blood pressure to circulate blood through them. Is it any wonder, then, that obese people are five times more likely to have hypertension? Anyone who is more than 20 percent overweight is considered obese.
4. Estrogen, a female hormone found in birth control pills or given for menopause, causes the body to retain salt, and has the same effect as consuming too much salt.
5. More recently, suspicion has been directed at the prolonged over consumption of refined sugar as a possible contributing factor in person with decreased kidney function. In this connection, it is good to remember that decreased kidney function is associated with aging process.
6. Not to be forgotten as a cause of hypertension is stress, whether is be social stress, noise stress, or work stress. All of these may increase hypertension.
DIET IMPLICATION ABOUT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Did you notice that three of six major “causative” factors of high blood pressure are linked to diet? Those who are guilty of dietary indiscretion are coming to suicide by the fork and spoon! Many of our food habits are begun in youth, and become difficult to change.
How much better it would be for parents to train their children from babyhood to use salt, fried foods, and refined sugar products sparingly.Even though there are a variety of anti hypertensive drugs on the market today, there are safer and cheaper ways of combing this disease.
WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
Reducing your fan intake will lower your weight, thereby controlling two contributing factors in hypertension: atherosclerosis and obesity. A daily exercise programs is also most beneficial.
For many, the most difficult factor to reduce is salt intake, because of so much “hidden salt.” Some salty foods are easy to recognize, such as salted seeds, popcorn, Chips and nuts. But who knows the salt content of much “processed” food such as puddings, cakes, bacon, hot dogs, crackers, breads, sausage, cheese, tuna fish, yogurt, pizza, canned tomato soup, fried chicken, ketchup, soy sauce, salt preserved food, and pickles. In the United States, labels are required to state the amount of salt or sodium contained in the product, as well as the amount of other ingredients.
Throughout the Orient, much food is prepared with large quantities of monosodium glutamate to enhance the flavor. Addition of this substance is especially common in restaurants. This means more sodium in the things you eat. Finally, don’t forget that ever-present soy sauce bottle which contains one gram of sodium in a tablespoonful!
Before Ronal Reagan was elected president of the United States, a physician told him he could live 15 years longer if he stopped salting his food at the table. “In less than a week, I cured myself of the salt habit,” the former President said.
You can do the same and include in your resolution dispensing with soy sauce as well.