Hypertension: how to reduce the risk

Healthy Lifestyle

Hypertension is a disease whose risk can be reduced or avoided by adopting certain rules of hygiene. For hypertensives, these rules will increase the effectiveness of the drug.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing resources to help countries reduce hypertension, a common public health concern. In 2021, the WHO released an evidence-based guideline for the pharmacological treatment and management of adults with hypertension. This publication provides recommendations on when to initiate and follow-up treatment, along with guidelines for target blood pressure levels and which individuals in the health care system can provide this treatment.

Eat healthy

Eat healthy (fruits, vegetables, and less fatty foods) to avoid gaining weight, or even losing it. The risk of hypertension is reduced if you lose 5 kg in 6 months and maintain your weight over three years.

It is important to limit your salt intake which increases the risk of becoming hypertensive. The World Health Organization suggests a daily consumption of 5 g, the equivalent of a good teaspoon.

A less salty food also eliminates the water stored in the tissues.

Many industrial products (prepared meals) contain a high amount of salt. They should be avoided as much as possible.

Here are the foods to eat:

  • Dairy products , preferably low-fat: they contain proteins whose action helps regulate blood pressure by dilating the arteries and increasing their diameter.
  • Fruits and vegetables : they contain ingredients (in particular polyphenols) which have vasodilating and antioxidant properties and potassium which also regulate blood pressure.
  • Cereals: oat flakes are particularly useful for regulating insulin which promotes atherosclerosis and therefore increases the risk of hypertension.
  • Wholemeal bread: it is to be preferred rather than the baguette.

Practice a physical activity

To maintain a healthy lifestyle and reap the benefits of physical activity, it is recommended that you practice a form of exercise at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. Popular activities include swimming, cycling, walking and other aerobic exercises such as jogging or running. Don’t forget to warm up beforehand by stretching and cooling down afterwards with some light stretches.

Limit your alcohol consumption

If you want to maintain a healthy weight and balanced blood pressure, it’s important to practice physical activity on a regular basis and watch how much alcohol you consume.

Too much alcohol can cause weight gain and disruption of the hormonal system related to blood pressure. For these reasons, limiting your alcohol intake is advisable.

Have a good sleep

Finding a good sleep routine is essential for your overall health and wellness. Research has linked lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep to an increased risk of hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke.

Results showed that getting 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep a night can help lower the risk significantly.

Making sure you get those hours of restful sleep each night is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle!

Limit polypharmacy

Too many medications can increase a person’s risk of high blood pressure, which is why it is important to limit polypharmacy. Some commonly prescribed medicines that can contribute to elevated blood pressure include antidepressants, birth control pills, cancer medications, anti-inflammatories and cortisone.