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Healthy Living

January 2010
10 Resolutions to Control Your BP
Dr Aftab Khan
High blood pressure is often a silent usher of many serious diseases like coronary heart disease, heart attack, kidney disease and stroke. Though 120/80 mm of mercury (Hg) is thought to be the ideal blood pressure, it varies to a great extent, depending on the age of the person and associated diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.
However, a resting systolic pressure (blood pressure when the heart contracts) above 140 mm of Hg and diastolic pressure (blood pressure when heart relaxes) above 90 mm of Hg is thought to be high. Thankfully, preventing high blood pressure or hypertension is not too difficult. As you embark on this year of new beginnings, resolve to keep your BP in control (read these aloud, if it will help you stick to these regularly). You can surely use with a little less pressure, right?

I will stop smoking today and never restart it so that the nicotine in tobacco will not continue to harden my arteries and raise my blood pressure. I shall also stop smoking because passive smoking is harming my wife and children.

I will reduce the amount of salt intake because the sodium contained in salt increases blood pressure. I will not eat more than 1 teaspoonful of salt (not by itself, of course, but that mixed in different foods) through the day.

I will reduce the amount of junk food, fast food, processed food and food rich in saturated fat and cholesterol (like potato chips, fries, 10 Resolutions to Dr Aftab Khan red meat, bakery products) because it leads to deposition of fat in the arteries, making them narrow and increases my blood pressure. Instead, I will take at least two servings of vegetables, salad and fresh fruits every day.

I will exercise every day with whatever keeps me active and on my feet like jogging, brisk walking, workouts, gardening, mowing or housecleaning. I will find time, at least 30 minutes every day, for it. I will do the needful to prevent being overweight.

I will drink in moderation, if I cannot avoid it completely right now. I will find time to relax and pursue a hobby I enjoy. I will not make a habit of bringing office work home on regular basis. Instead, I will spend time with my family and friends. I will also take periodic vacations.

I will check my family's medical records for history of high BP, heart disease, kidney disease and stroke - all of which has high BP Dr Aftab Khan is Consultant, Cardiology Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata Control Your Blood Pressure as one of their risk factors.

I will go for a thorough health checkup at least once every year.

I will report to my doctorif I notice symptoms like persistent headache, vertigo, unexplainedirritation and have my blood pressure checked. If my doctor gives me medicines to lower the blood pressure, I will take them regularly without fail.

I will spread awareness about prevention of high blood pressure amongst others I know, and motivate them to follow these simple rules.
Dr Aftab Khan is Consultant, Cardiology Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata
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