The silent killer

High blood pressure, popularly termed as hypertension, is a dangerous condition of the heart in which blood flows through blood vessels, or arteries at a pressure above normal pressures. This condition makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and it also contributes to hardening of the arteries, to stroke, kidney disease, and to eventual heart failure

Acquiring more knowledge about this condition goes a long way in helping to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The statement "What you don't know won't kill you" does not apply in this case as hypertension has a reputation to be a silent killer. As little as a constant increase in salt(sodium) intake could double the effects of high blood pressure in an individual. Yes, high salt intake is a culprit in triggering this condition in some people. Listed below are other major culprits to be aware of and take necessary steps to avoid.

1. Genes: Surprised? Don't be. Your genes takes the front seat on this one. If either or both of your parents are/were susceptible to high blood pressure, there is a strong chance you could be prone to it. It is leading risk factor but with healthy living and exercises, you will definitely beat the odds.

 2. Weight Gain: There are numerous awareness campaigns out there for healthy eating and fitness but it mostly falls on deaf ears. Weight gain is a big risk factor contributing to high blood pressure but the tricky thing about it is that it varies from one person to another person. Some people could gain a little weight and their blood pressure starts reading off the charts while some people gain excess weight and their blood pressure is as low as the sun during sunset. Yeah I know, life is not fair. You can even the game by eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables and proteins while avoiding processed foods.  As you do all that, remember to get active.

3. Stress: You go to work by 8am or 9am and come home by 5pm or 6pm. That's stressful enough to increase blood pressure. This is a very common and widely known cause of high blood pressure. Less stress would significantly reduce blood pressure but an increase in stress will do the opposite. To manage stress is to basically manage your total well being. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep and taking 5 - 10 minutes  breaks at work is a good way to start managing stress.