Hypertension is a chronic heart disease that is caused by the increased high blood pressure in your arteries. Its symptoms can be managed by living an active lifestyle and eating a healthy diet.
What is hypertension?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes hypertension or high blood pressure as “a common and dangerous condition.” High blood pressure happens when the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. In an interview conducted by ABS-CBN last year, Dr. Lynn Gomez of the Philippine Society of Hypertension estimates that around 200,000 die annually in the Philippines due to target organ damage brought about by cardiovascular diseases.
Those suffering from high blood pressure are usually lacking some important nutrients in their diets like vitamin D and potassium. What may have caused their condition is their sedentary lifestyle combined with high intake of food high in sodium. Alcohol intake, smoking, and high levels of stress can also greatly increase your chances of developing hypertension.
Who are at risk?
Often referred to as the “silent killer” this chronic disease affects middle-aged adults and is more common in men. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, then there are increased chances that you will develop it as well.
According to Mayo Clinic, being physically inactive and obese can lead to high blood pressure. This is because your heart works harder with each pump as your body demands more blood to supply your oxygen and tissues. Local cardiologist Dr. Paul Baello also explains that people who are also under high levels of stress and workers who spend long hours under the sun may also suffer from reactive hypertension. Hypertensive patients are at risk of suffering strokes and heart attacks if left untreated.
There are almost always not definite signs of hypertension but some patients may experience the following:
- Shortness of breath
Aside from prescription medicine, a change in your daily lifestyle is highly recommended. Exercising regularly and eating meals that are rich in vitamins and minerals tend to have a positive effect on your overall health.
If you have existing chronic conditions like diabetes and kidney disease, then it is likely that you will also suffer from high blood pressure.
Make sure that you always monitor your blood pressure and limit your alcohol intake to one glass/bottle a day. Smoking/chewing tobacco is also not recommended for those with hypertension. Smoking not only increases your blood pressure but the harmful chemicals in tobacco also damage the lining of your artery walls.
Vitamin D and hypertension
Vitamin D plays a role in your diet as this is linked to an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure. It can be naturally derived from a variety of food sources like:
- Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel
- Fortified food like soy milk, cereals, tofu
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Orange juice
Aside from hypertension, vitamin D also promotes calcium absorption which can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to other diseases like rickets, dementia, Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer, and schizophrenia.
Another natural way of getting vitamin D is sun exposure. Just makes sure you do not expose yourself to the sun for long periods of time to avoid sunburn and UV damage.
Consult your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements if you suspect that you are not getting enough from your diet. The Institute of Medicine recommends the following dosage of vitamin D for adults:
- 19 – 70 years old: 600 international units (IU) a day
- 71 – older: 800 IU a day
Always consult your doctor before drinking any kind of medication, including vitamins. Keep in mind that your physician is in the best position to prescribe the right kind of treatment for your condition. Immediately stop using a product if you experience negative side effects.