Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Despite being the number one cause of stroke and other heart-related issues, high blood pressure or hypertension rarely produces any symptoms until the problem has already reached crisis levels.
However, there are a lot of myths and facts related to hypertension that hardly anyone knows. Let's look at a few of them:-
1. Myth: High blood pressure is over 140/90 mm Hg.
Fact: High blood pressure is over 130/80 mm Hg
Today, if someone has blood pressure over 130/80 mm Hg and has a history of cardiovascular disease — or, if they are at high risk for having a cardiovascular event their physician may recommend taking blood pressure medication.”
What if only one number is high?
“The top and bottom numbers both matter — if either of them is high, then you have hypertension, and your risk of a heart attack or stroke is increased
2. Myth: The signs of high blood pressure are obvious.
Fact: High blood pressure has no symptoms
“Unless your blood pressure is dangerously high, you will not have any symptoms, “The long-term damage high blood pressure has on your arteries, however, occurs regardless of whether you have symptoms or not.”
3. Myth: Since I don't use table salt, I have control over both my blood pressure and sodium consumption.
Fact: It’s not just table salt you have to worry about.
Blood pressure may rise as a result of sodium for some people. However, reducing sodium requires more than just putting the salt shaker down. It also entails reading labels carefully because processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, sauces, canned goods, and prepared mixes can conceal up to 75% of the salt we consume. Read the labels before purchasing prepared or prepackaged goods. On labels, keep an eye out for the words "soda," "sodium," and the symbol "Na." These words demonstrate the presence of sodium compounds.
4. Myth: Drinking coffee might increase blood pressure.
Fact: Drinking coffee generally doesn’t raise blood pressure— but alcohol can.
You might believe that caffeine raises blood pressure since it is a stimulant, however most research disproves this. Regular caffeine consumption in limited amounts doesn't usually cause blood pressure to rise, but it might in the case of those who consume large amounts of it through beverages like soda, coffee, or energy drinks.
On the other hand, alcohol does have an effect. Alcohol use in excess can cause blood pressure to rise. Your blood pressure can benefit from cutting back on alcohol consumption. Reducing alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for males and one drink per day for women can lower systolic blood pressure by 2-4 mm Hg.
5. Myth: High blood pressure is more common in men.
Fact: High blood pressure depends on age.
Before the age of 50, hypertension is more common in men than women, but after menopause, a woman’s risk increases and can even be higher than men.
Women have a few additional considerations for high blood pressure. Taking birth control pills may raise their risk of hypertension. Women with high blood pressure may have a greater risk of complications during pregnancy, and women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are more at risk of having high blood pressure later in life.
6. Myth: Because I'm young, I don't need to worry about my blood pressure.
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, young people can also develop hypertension.
Age-related increases in high blood pressure are real. This is due to the fact that as we age, our arteries naturally become stiffer, which increases vascular resistance and raises blood pressure.
However, younger adults can also have high blood pressure, which may be the cause of a troubling rise in the number of strokes among this age group. High blood pressure can also affect kids and teenagers, probably as a result of the rise in paediatric obesity.
7. Myth: If high blood pressure runs in my family, I have no control over it.
Fact: Lifestyle changes can reduce your risks related to Hypertension
If your parents or other near-blood relatives have high blood pressure, you are more likely to get it as well. However, many people with a family history of high blood pressure have been able to prevent it themselves by lifestyle adjustments. Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular exercise can significantly lower blood pressure in addition to eating nutritious food.
Significant weight loss can lower systolic blood pressure by 5 to 20 mm Hg and 30 minutes of daily exercise can lower systolic blood pressure by 4 to 9 mm Hg. Chronically high levels of stress and insufficient sleep can both lead to high blood pressure. It's also crucial to manage your stress levels and make sure you're getting enough sleep.
8. Myth: If I’m on blood pressure medication, I don’t have to exercise or watch what I eat.
Fact: Despite medications, having a healthy lifestyle is important.
There is no substitute for trying to adhere to a heart-healthy diet and exercise! It is the most important measure you can take to reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke,” When your doctor starts you on blood pressure medication, it is only because they believe these lifestyle measures are not enough to lower your blood pressure to normal.
9. Myth: I cannot stop my blood pressure medication even if my levels come down to a normal range
Fact: If your BP comes down within range, you should stop medications but only after consulting your physician
High Blood Pressure is not a lifelong condition but rather a lifestyle-related concern. It can be managed with appropriate nutrition therapy and by improving physical activity status, managing stress along with pharmacotherapy
DO YOU KNOW?
1. High blood pressure may be linked to dementia.
Studies show that high blood pressure is linked to a higher risk for dementia, and a loss of cognitive function. Evidence suggests that having uncontrolled high blood pressure during midlife (ages 44 to 66) creates a higher risk for dementia later in life.
2. Women face unique risks when it comes to high blood pressure.
Women with high blood pressure who become pregnant are more likely to have complications during pregnancy than those with normal blood pressure. High blood pressure during pregnancy can harm a mother’s kidneys and other organs, and it can lead to premature delivery and low birth weight babies. Some types of birth control can also raise a woman’s risk for high blood pressure.
3. Fatty acids and hypertension
Excessive intake of saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids, along with higher consumption of salt and sugar, are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases including hypertension.
4. Physical activity and hypertension
Physical activity has been shown to lower the overall risk of all-cause mortality between the ages of 45 and 84 by 18%. It can reduce SBP by 4-5 mmHg.
5. Magnesium and hypertension
Magnesium helps blood vessels relax, and for energy production. Just like potassium, too much magnesium can be lost in urine due to diuretic use, leading to low magnesium levels.