Hypertension

Hypertension (HTN), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure typically does not cause symptoms. Chronic high blood pressure, however, is a major risk factor and can lead to complications like, coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss, chronic kidney disease, and dementia.

One in five young adults in India has high blood pressure, according to research presented at the 70th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI). That equates to around 80 million people, which is more than the entire UK population.

High blood pressure is classified as either primary (essential) high blood pressure or secondary high blood pressure. About 90–95% of cases are Primary high blood pressure, which is due to nonspecific lifestyle and genetic factors. The remaining 5–10% of cases are categorized as Secondary high blood pressure, which is due to an identifiable cause, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), narrowing of the kidney arteries, an endocrine disorder, or the use of birth control pills.

Having high blood pressure for a short time can be a normal response to many situations. Acute stress and intense exercise, for example, can briefly elevate blood pressure in a healthy person.

For this reason, a diagnosis of hypertension normally requires several readings that show high blood pressure over time. Blood pressure is expressed by two measurements, the systolic and diastolic pressures, which are the maximum and minimum pressures, respectively. For most adults, normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100–130 millimeters mercury (mmHg) Systolic and 60–80 mmHg Diastolic. For most adults, high blood pressure is present if the resting blood pressure is persistently at or above 130/80 or 140/90 mmHg. Different numbers apply to children.

Lifestyle changes and some medications can lower the blood pressure and reduce risk of complications. In lifestyle changes one can start including, physical exercise (Walking, Yoga, Pilates), reduced intake of salt, alcohol, and increase the intake of healthy diet.

Risk Factors:

A number of risk factors increase the chances of having hypertension.

  • Age: Hypertension is more common in people aged over 60 years. With age, blood pressure can increase steadily as the arteries become stiffer and narrower due to plaque build-up.
  • Size and weight: Being overweight or obese is a key risk factor.
  • Alcohol and tobacco use: Consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly can increase a person’s blood pressure, as can smoking tobacco.
  • Sex: The lifetime risk is the same for males and females, but men are more prone to hypertension at a younger age. The prevalence tends to be higher in older women.
  • Existing health conditions: Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and high cholesterol levels can lead to hypertension, especially as people get older.

Causes:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • Sleep apnea

Foods that Causes Hypertension:

  • Excessive Salt
  • Processed Meat/ Food
  • Stale Food
  • Pickles
  • Sugar
  • Packaged/ Canned Foods

Yogic Management for Hypertension:

Standing Asanas:

  • Tadasana
  • Ardha Kati Chakrasana

Supine Asanas:

  • Sethubandhasana
  • Ardha Halasana
  • Shavasana

Prone Asanas:

  • Salamba Bhujangasana

Seated Asanas:

  • Sukhasana
  • Paschimotanasana
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana
  • Badhakonasana
  • Janushirsasana

Pranayamas:

  • Nadi Shudhi Pranayama
  • Bhrahmari

Relaxation techniques like Yoganidra, Meditation and simple Shavasana relaxes your entire body and mind, hence keeps your blood pressure under control.

Precautions:

Avoid inverted postures like Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) or Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand Pose). In these postures, head is at a much lower than the heart which can lead to a sudden and uncontrolled rush of blood to the head, arising further medical complications.

It is always best to combine yoga asanas along with pranayama practice with healthy lifestyle choices. To control high blood pressure, diet must be regulated and monitored, and must avoid habits such as smoking and drinking. Taking one step at a time will help in getting into a healthy routine, and the key to get results is to be consistent.