The word "health" refers to a state of complete emotional and physical well-being. Modern day living is a multifaceted compendium of evolving technology and social media. Communication is changing in every part of our lives so rapidly that it can be tough to adjust leading to “stress” which has a major toll on health.
We have Dr.Waed Jaber, Specialist Internal Medicine (Medcare Hospital) to guide us better on the issues pertaining to Hypertension and Cholesterol that many would love to hear from.
For people diagnosed with High Blood Pressure:
Q. Is hypertension inherited?
A. NO, but there is genetic Susceptibility
Q. Can certain chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep apnea, affect my blood pressure?
Q. What kinds of tests will determine if I have hypertension?
A. Blood test and imaging can differentiate between primary HTN and secondary HTN, but HTN is diagnosed by checking BP readings
Q. How do I correctly check my blood pressure at home? How often should I check it?
A. To diagnosed HTN you need 3 readings on 3 separate occasion, it should be checked after the patient is rested and seated for at least 10 minutes, no caffeine or smoking at least one hour before taking the reading, the patient should empty his/her bladder before, and should not be on any medication that can raise the blood pressure readings.
Q. What does untreated high blood pressure do to my body?
A. It increases the risk of acute myocardial infarction, cerebral stroke, arrythmia and heart failure
Q. What medicines do I need to take and for how long? Will there be any side effects?
A. The treatment is usually life long, and there are different groups of medications each with different efficacy and side effects.
Q. What if I forget to take my medication?
A. Take it when you remember during the day, but do not double the dose on the next day.
Q. How does being overweight affect my blood pressure? What type of diet should I begin to lose weight? Kindly differentiate the type of foods to be taken by both VEGETARIANS & NON-VEGETERIANS.
A. Obesity can increase the risk of HTN, and increases the cardiovascular risks, losing weight can help to control blood pressure alone or with anti-hypertensive medications.
Diet: patients should increase their intake of fibre-rich food like fruits, vegetables and grains, try to take low fat or skimmed dairy products, use olive oil and canola oil for cooking, and try to avoid butter.
Raw nuts are rich in omega 3 and vitamin E.
Some fruits have high glycemic index, especially banana and mango, so it is advisable to take only one portion of fruit per day if it consists of any of these fruits.
For non-vegetarians: try to make most of your meals, pouched, grilled or baked, avoid any fried meals, when eating chicken, try to eat the breast without the skin, for red meat, choose the low-fat part, for the fish: Salmon and sardine has high content of Omega 3 which help elevate the level of good cholesterol.
Q. How does stress affect my blood pressure, and what can I do to lower my stress levels?
A. Stress can elevate your blood pressure readings, try to dedicate at least one hour daily to relax, and don’t bring work to home.
Q. How can I reduce my risk of heart disease? What are the symptoms that I have to observe to make a visit to cardiac specialist?
A. Healthy diet, exercise, and maintain ideal weight can lower cardiovascular risks, if you have chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations you should see the cardiologist.
Q. Does alcohol consumption and smoking take a toll on high blood pressure?
For people diagnosed with Cholesterol:
Q. What could have caused my Cholesterol to be too high? Is it inherited?
A. It is a result of genetic susceptibility and unhealthy life style.
Q. How can I increase my “good” cholesterol?
A. Increase your physical activity and eat food that is rich with omega 3 like raw nuts and fish.
Q. Will a person diagnosed with High BP can also be diagnosed with Cholesterol?
Q. What are the primary risks associated with my cholesterol levels?
A. Atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, cerebral strokes, and others.
Q. Are there things I can do at home or in my life to reduce my cholesterol?
A. Exercise at least 150 minutes weekly (moderate exercise), eat healthy and maintain ideal weight.
Q. If medicine is needed, how long can I take medicine? What are the side effects? Is long-term use harmful? What should I do if I miss a dose?
A. The treatment is usually life-long, the most common side effect of statin (cholesterol medications) is myopathy (muscle pain). If you miss the dose take it when you remember, but do not double your dose on the next day.
Q. What changes should I make to the way I eat?
A. Similar to the diet if you are hypertensive or diabetic. (mentioned above)
Q. How often do I need to get my cholesterol level checked?
A. Every 3-6 months.