Dietitian Ms. Seema Poddar is a Diplomate in Nutrition and Dietetics. She pursued her Certificate in Obesity and Bariatric Surgery Nutrition in the year 2017 from Digestive Surgery Clinic. She completed her Diploma in Dietetics, Health and Nutrition (DDHN) in the year 2016 from the VLCC Institute Of Beauty & Nutrition. She is an experienced, skilled and awarded doctor in her field of specialization. She has also been awarded with Certification in Diabetes, Thyroid, and in Basic Life Support Training.
In an interview with Zotezo, Dt. Seema has spoken about Hypertension and how changing our lifestyle, can help keep a check on our blood pressure levels. Here is the edited extracts of the interview.
Team Zotezo: What is hypertension? And how is it affecting the world?
Dt. Seema: Hypertension is a major lifestyle disease these days. It is a condition which forces the blood to go against the artery wall with a very high pressure, and that is how it affects the health of the artery. The normal level of blood pressure usually is 120/80, but when it crosses 140/90 or higher, it is called hypertension. It is said to be affecting the world because it is a major cause of heart failure. It weakens the heart since it puts pressure on the heart to function. “It affects 1.13 billion people all over the world and is one of the main reasons that people are getting silently killed without even knowing the exact cause.”
Team Zotezo: What are the primary causes of Hypertension?
Dt. Seema: There are many causes of Hypertension. One of them is Genetics, so if you have it in your genes and you do not follow an active lifestyle, then you might get affected. Another cause is if you are Obese or you are Overweight and follow a sedentary lifestyle then you may be diagnosed with hypertension. The third cause of high blood pressure can be Sleep Apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Also people who are abusive of Alcohol or Smoking have high chances of getting hypertension. Another cause can be kidney disorders, so if you are suffering from Kidney malfunction, you have a possibility of hypertension.
Team Zotezo: What are the symptoms of Hypertension?
Dt. Seema: There are various symptoms by which hypertension can be identified. If a person feels fatigue all the time, has regular headaches, vision is disturbed, has palpitations of the heart, chest pain or experiences blood in the urine then it is hypertension. Sometimes, these symptoms might not be experienced by people who have high blood pressure. If you go on regular health check-ups, then hypertension can be prevented.
Team Zotezo: How can we control high blood pressure?
Dt. Seema: To control high blood pressure we have to know that there are two types of pressures that we measure, one is systolic and the other is diastolic. The higher pressure in our arteries is called systolic and the lower one is called diastolic. We must have constant readings and if these readings are not constant, then it is better to consult a doctor and take prescribed medicines to reduce the pressure. Also, lifestyle management including stress needs to be managed properly. A well balanced diet has to be maintained and if a person is obese, then weight needs to managed. Another important thing is that every person should do at least 150 minutes of physical activity everyday to lower blood pressure levels.
Team Zotezo: What to eat and what not to eat in hypertension?
Dt. Seema: Diet plays a key role in the management of blood pressure. The American Association says that if you have hypertension, then you must follow a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. This diet says that one must concentrate more on fruits, vegetables, lean protein like fish, eggs and chicken and addictions like smoking and alcohol is a big no. Again, regulation of sodium i.e. salt and sugars from our diet can reduce blood pressure levels. These changes can be made to regulate hypertension.
Team Zotezo: How can we treat hypertension naturally without any medication?
Dt. Seema: Both lifestyle and dietary management is required to treat hypertension naturally. Avoiding packaged, caned food, condiments and sauces is a must to reduce the salt and sugar amount daily which in turn will reduce hypertension in a natural way. Practicing yoga and meditation can reduce the stress in life and in turn reduce blood pressure levels.
Team Zotezo: Can hypertension affect our sexual health?
Dt. Seema: Hypertension can affect the sexual life of both men and women because the blood flow toward the sexual organs is affected. This causes erectile dysfunction in men and women cannot actively contribute in sexual activity. In the initial stages of hypertension, one does not have any problems but as it advances, the above symptoms may be visible.
Team Zotezo: Are there any myths around hypertension?
Dt. Seema: One is, if a person has a family history of hypertension then it cannot be prevented. But, it is not right since with an active lifestyle, it can be prevented. Second is, people with high blood pressure suffer from excess sweat, sleep issues and headache but even this is not correct because not all people face these symptoms even when they are diagnosed with hypertension. Third is, once a person gets high blood pressure it cannot be prevented. It is not true since with medications, it can be tapered to a great extent. The last one is people often say that they do not consume table salt, so they are not in the risk zone of having hypertension. But it is a complete myth because salt comes into our body from the consumption of processed food, so anyone who has the habit of gobbling down processed food can get high blood pressure easily.