Is Your Diet related to your blood pressure?



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Essential hypertension is a multifactorial disease. It is common in older people
Salt (sodium)

Salt is the best known of the dietary factors affecting blood pressure.
The mechanism of action of sodium is undoubtedly complex and involves kidney
tubules and several hormones. One aspect is that if sodium tends to accumulate
in cells, it interferes with calcium transport and elevates free calcium in the
cytosol of arteriolar smooth muscle cells increasing their tone and
consequently the arterial blood pressure.
Elevated blood
pressure can usually be lowered by salt restriction. Diuretic drugs work by
increasing urinary sodium excretion….

Magnesium can
sometimes lower blood pressure. Magnesium is distributed in foods somewhat
similarly to potassium. Bran, wholegrain cereals, and legumes are the richest
sources. Most vegetables contain similar moderate amounts to meat.
Alcohol
intake is emerging as one of the important environmental factors associated
with raised blood pressure. Heavy drinkers have higher blood pressure than
light drinkers and abstainers. The effect starts above about three drinks a
day. Systolic pressure is more affected than diastolic.
Non-pharmacological measures…should be offered to all hypertensive patients whether taking drugs or
not. This advice should also be offered to people with a strong family history
of hypertension. In mild hypertension non-pharmacological measures may obviate
the need for drugs.

Reduce energy intake to achieve ideal weight.

Alcohol <21 units/week
in men and <14 units per
week in women. One or two days/week no alcohol.

Reduce salt intake.

Regular physical exercise and improve level of fitness.
And
to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease stop smoking and reduce saturated
fat intake.
 Contributed by Ebuka Ezeji (ebukaezeji@gmail.com).
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