For people with high blood pressure, high blood pressure itself is not the cause of death. However, if the patient does not treat high blood pressure, several complications arise due to vascular damage. Major complications of high blood pressure include heart failure, stroke, and coronary artery disease. In particular, high blood pressure is the risk factor that most significantly increases the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Hypertension is a major risk factor for ischemic heart disease (angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, etc.) due to impaired blood supply to the heart, cardiac failure due to cardiac insufficiency, and stroke caused by blockage or bursting of blood vessels to the brain. Because hypertension is particularly associated with stroke, prevention and management of hypertension is very important in countries with high rates of stroke.
Essential hypertension, which accounts for the majority of hypertension, but the cause is not yet known, is thought to be due to a combination of genetic, dietary, obesity, stress, and living conditions. Therefore, understanding and practicing the relationship between eating habits and blood pressure is very important in the prevention and treatment of hypertension, and the American Heart Association has reported that eating habits are the most important among many environmental factors that control blood pressure. Therefore, treatment of high blood pressure usually begins with lifestyle correction. Lifestyle corrections to improve high blood pressure include limiting salt (sodium) intake, weight loss (if obese), sobriety, and regular aerobic exercise.
Tips for living with high blood pressure
1) Eat it freshly
It is estimated that Koreans consume about 12 g of salt (4,546 mg of sodium per day, 2012 National Health and Nutrition Survey), which is somewhat more than 10 g of Westerners and 10.7 g of Japanese.
A person who consumes 10.5 grams of salt per day reduces salt intake by an average of 4-6 mmHg, while reducing salt intake reduces cardiovascular disease. There is no prospective study on the occurrence of salt, hypertension and cardiovascular disease in Korea, but at least we should try to reduce it since there is no evidence that people who consume too much salt like it do harm.
The recommended intake of salt is less than 6 grams (sodium content [g] x 2.5 = salt content [g]) per day, about one teaspoon. Salt sensitivity is higher for older people, obese people, people with diabetes or high blood pressure family history. The more susceptible a person is to salt, the more effectively the blood pressure is lowered when an active low salt diet is performed.
2) Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
Vegetarians have lower blood pressure than those who eat meat as a staple food, and lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients keeps them on a vegetarian diet. This effect is due to the combined effects of increased fruit, vegetable and fiber intake and reduced saturated fatty acid intake rather than animal protein intake.
People with high blood pressure should eat a meal that includes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and nutrients such as fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Patients should reduce their intake of simple sugars, such as sugar, saturated fats and total fats, and recommend a Mediterranean diet based on vegetables and seafood. The patient eats fish at least twice a week and does not have to limit the amount of coffee.
3) No smoking
During smoking, nicotine in the cigarette temporarily raises the blood pressure and pulse of the smoker. Smoking is a powerful risk factor for cardiovascular disease, just as with high blood pressure, so no matter how well a smoker controls blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease persists when smoking continues. Indirect smoking is also dangerous. The low amounts of nicotine in smoking cessation aids do not raise blood pressure and can be used with smoking cessation behaviors.
After quitting, there may be a temporary weight gain, so it is necessary to combine exercise and eating therapy to prevent this. Quit smoking should be a goal. Smoking causes cardiovascular and peripheral arterial diseases such as cerebral infarction and myocardial infarction, and smoking and hypertension cause and worsen these diseases more seriously and quickly.
Excessive drinking increases blood pressure and increases resistance to high blood pressure medications. Be aware that low-weight people are only alcoholic because they are more susceptible to alcohol.
Proper drinking in hypertensive patients is limited to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.
Men are limited to 2-3 drinks per day (20-30 g of alcohol) per day and women 1-2 drinks (10-20 g of alcohol) per day.
It is recommended to maintain 140g for men and 80g for women based on weekly total alcohol consumption.
Drinking allowance per day is 30g per day, based on the type of alcohol (ethanol), beer 720mL (1 bottle), wine 200-300mL (1 glass), type 200mL (1 glass), whiskey 60mL (2 glass), shochu 2- Three glasses (1/3 bottle) or less is recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the recommended and restricted foods for people with high blood pressure?
Recommended foods for hypertensive patients
Low salt foods, fresh vegetables and fruits
Foods Restricted to Hypertensive Patients
Salty foods, convenience foods, foods high in fat and cholesterol
2. Are there any dietary guidelines to help prevent high blood pressure?
- If you are losing a lot of weight, keep your weight.
- Do regular exercise.
- Eat low-fat, low-salt meals and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Quit smoking.
- Reduce your alcohol.
3. How can I reduce my salt intake?
- Salt, soy sauce, soybean paste, red pepper paste, etc., should only be added when cooking.
- Avoid foods high in salt.
- Avoid eating soup, stew, or ramen, which will eat a lot of salt at once.
- Eat fresh, unprocessed vegetables, fruits and meats.
4. Can eating foods high in potassium help manage high blood pressure?
Getting enough potassium can help prevent high blood pressure and lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. That is, potassium can suppress the rise in blood pressure caused by excessive salt intake by excreting sodium out of the body. Therefore, if you consume a lot of salt, it is recommended to consume more than 3.5 grams of potassium per day. Processed foods are high in sodium and low in potassium, so people with high blood pressure should limit it.
Potassium rich foods
- Meats: Pork, Sardines, Salmon, Mackerel, Shellfish
- Starch: Wheat, Sweet Potato
- Fruits: Strawberry, Banana, Orange, Melon, Raisin, Tangerine
- Vegetables: Spinach, Pumpkin, Burdock, Mushroom, Tomato
- Dairy: Milk, Cheese-Other: Peanut, Pine Nut
5. Should high blood pressure patients limit their coffee?
Daily coffee intake of one to two cups per day does not significantly affect blood pressure.
6. I’ve heard that obesity increases blood pressure. If so, does my blood pressure lower when I lose weight?
High blood pressure is closely related to your weight, and losing weight lowers your blood pressure.
Abdominal obesity, in particular, is closely related to mortality from hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes and coronary artery disease. If hypertensive patients exceed 10% or more of their standard weight, a 5 kg weight loss can produce a noticeable blood pressure reduction. Weight loss is especially helpful for people with diabetes, dyslipidemia, and left ventricular hypertrophy.
Combined with exercise, sobriety, and salt intake, your body’s ability to reduce blood pressure can be enhanced. Try to lose weight by at least 4-5 kg first, then add another 5 kg as needed. Eating and increasing your physical activity both require weight control at the same time to maintain weight.