Exercise helps forego intake of drugs in 20% of hypertension cases
Two out of every ten patients could forego intake of drugs if they do regular physical exercise daily, as it lowers blood pressure by 4 to 7 milligrams of mercury, providing the same effect of some medicines, according to specialists of Quirónsalud Torrevieja and Valencia Hospitals on the occasion of World Hypertension Day which will be held next Thursday, 17 May.
Hypertension is the origin of most cardiovascular diseases: "The higher the blood pressure, greater are the chance of suffering a myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke or kidney disease," says Dr. Catheline Lauwers, cardiologist at Quirónsalud Valencia Hospital. It usually does not have any symptoms, the most common way to diagnose hypertension is during a routine visit to the doctor. The specialist recommends to get blood pressure checked at least every two years after 35 years of age. "It is essential that patients get to know about their illness in order to avoid more serious diseases. Undergoing periodic blood pressure checks is vital to detect and control of the progress of this disease."
About 40% adult population in Spain is affected by high blood pressure, and this percentage reaches 85% among people above 65 years, "although an increase in its prevalence is expected as a result of the ageing of the population, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle," says Dr. Lauwers.
It affect more women
Contrary to what one thinks, cardiovascular diseases cause more deaths among women than among men, especially after 50 years, mainly due to the drop in oestrogen that occurs with menopause. "This reduction in oestrogen, protective hormones against cardiovascular diseases, causes weight gain, rise in cholesterol and the occurrence of hypertension and diabetes. The signs of alarm of ischemic heart disease in women are also not so clear, as there is less intense pain which usually does not radiate to the left arm, and usually is accompanied with shortness of breath, which many times causes, a delay in diagnosis," according to the specialists.
How to prevent hypertension
Dr. Juan Luján, cardiologist at Quirónsalud Torrevieja Hospital, explains, the tips to keep our blood pressure under control are based on leading a healthy life, mostly related to what we eat and our physical activity. We should also consider the kind of life we lead: work, stress, the time we devote to ourselves and to our near and dear, as well as toxic or healthy habits that we have. As general recommendations Dr. Luján advises to:
- Avoid hypercaloric diets and diets rich in sugars. Plant-rich diet is recommended (fruits, vegetables and legumes) and natural, non-manufactured or non-processed products. One can and must eat healthy fats such as fish or olive oil.
- Reduce salt intake. Use lemon juice, vinegar or spices instead.
- Exercise 3 to 4 times weekly adapted to our body characteristics. This will help prevent obesity and all its negative consequences.
- No smoking and drinking alcohol in small amounts (not more than one glass of wine a day).
- Check blood pressure on a regular basis after 40 years of age.