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When the pressure in the blood vessels otherwise known as arteries increase, it leads to a medical condition called hypertension. The condition is long term and comes with a range of challenges. Although the challenges do not appear due to the condition, the symptoms come in because of other problems.
Screening and diagnosis of the disease can take place when one visits a medical facility with the intention of addressing another ailment, which may not have a relationship with high blood pressure. It is imperative to explain that the condition is on the rise especially in the light of the changing lifestyles and poor eating habits demonstrated by modern societies. While the condition affects older people in society, younger individuals are also becoming victims due to the use of supplements and birth control pills. It is within this context that the paper examines the various nutritional support strategies for patients with hypertension.
Causes and Effects of Hypertension
Hypertension also is known as high blood pressure can be a result of primary or secondary causes. While primary causes concern unhealthy lifestyles and poor eating habits, secondary causes comprise known factors such as kidney problems and the use of birth control pills. Reddy and Katan (2004) elucidate that consumption of excess salt and fats are some of the factors, which contribute to the contraction of the disease.
On the other hand, too much consumption of alcohol can also increase the chances of contracting the ailment. It is vital to allude that the effects associated with the condition are dire, a factor that calls for timely redress. Loss of sight, cardiovascular complications, and stroke are some of the effects linked to the disease. In contemporary societies, the ailment has led to the death of a number of individuals, and hence, there is need to institute measures that provide timely redress.
While the condition is manageable and can be treated successfully, medical practitioners encourage its prevention. Individuals at risk are usually the subjects of regular education on the various causes and effects associated with the disease. By creating awareness among the risk individuals in a particular society, the practitioners as well as the state incur minimal costs linked to contraction and treatment of the disease. Moreover, the society experiences minimal challenges associated with loss of lives due to the ailment.
According to Appel (2009), prevention of the disease is one of the steps that lead to its management. As such, it is very crucial for medical practitioners to focus on prevention of the condition so that the challenges related to its treatment decrease. Conversely, patients suffering from the disease should receive expert attention from qualified medical practitioners, who have relevant skills in the respective field.
Intake of Potassium and Minimal Intake of Sodium
Potassium is one of the best nutritional components that patients suffering from hypertension need to look for in foodstuffs that they consume. The relevance of potassium in management and treatment of high blood pressure emanates from its ability to control the levels of sodium in the body. Apparently, by controlling the amount of sodium in the body, potassium helps in management of the condition.
Moreover, control of sodium implies that the amount of fluids stored by the body reduces an aspect that is advantageous in the journey of managing hypertension. Tomatoes, broccoli, and vegetables contain potassium and by taking them, one can successfully address the condition. In the perspective of Reddy and Katan (2004), individuals who have hypertension need to consume food that contain potassium as it plays an important role in the overall treatment of the condition. The statement coins the relevance of potassium in treatment and management of high blood pressure among individuals.
Consequently, individuals suffering from high blood pressure need to avoid excess consumption of sodium. While sodium is good for healthy lifestyles, it leads to storage of fluids in the body. When fluids remain in the body, people gain weight and their chances of contracting hypertension rises. Moreover, in the case of those individuals suffering from high blood pressure, intake of salt complicates the condition and hampers its management and treatment. Appel (2009) explains that individuals suffering from hypertension should stay away from foods that contain high amounts of salt or sodium. In effect, they should try to minimize the rate of salt that they consume. Medical practitioners usually encourage individuals to consume one teaspoonful of salt every day for healthy lives. The translation of the teaspoonful is an average of 1,500mg of salt especially for individuals, who have high blood pressure.
Consumption of Whole Grains and Dairy Products
Bread, pasta, and rice are some of the grains that people who have hypertension need to consume. In the quest to treat and manage the level of pressure in the blood, people suffering from hypertension need to take grains that contain little amounts fat. On the other hand, these people should consume food that is full of fiber. Reddy and Katan (2004) elaborate that while most processed grains have little fiber, majority of whole grains contain lots of fiber and are good in management of the condition.
Whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta are among the grains that contain high amounts of fiber as opposed to those that have been refined. Besides their high content of fiber, which helps the digestive system, the grains are also good because they contain low amount of fat. Therefore, by consuming grains, individuals improve their digestive system and lower the overall amount of fat in their bodies. Low amount of fat in the body translates to effective management of blood pressure.
While some dairy products contain a lot of fat and are not good for healthy living, those that contain little fat are helpful in management of high blood pressure. Appel (2009) asserts that low fat yoghurt and skimmed milk are some of the dairy products that are useful in treatment of hypertension. It is important for people suffering from high blood pressure to look for dairy products that are low in fat. These individuals need to seek medical advice before consuming any dairy product. The essence of consuming these foods is because of their high contents of calcium and proteins. Moreover, the dairy products contain vitamins such as vitamin D. It is practical to elucidate that when individuals consume dairy products that have low amounts of fat their level of calcium amplifies, a phenomenon that facilitates effective recovery from high blood pressure.
Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables, and Seeds
In the quest to treat and manage the level of blood pressure, people need to consume high amounts of fruits and vegetables. Apparently, fruits and vegetables contain high levels of potassium useful in management of the condition. Moreover, fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, which are essential in the overall health of the body.
Therefore, when people suffering from hypertension consume fruits and vegetables, body immunity improves and their attempt to manage the condition augments. Fruits such as citrus, grapes, and apples are among the best fruits that people suffering from high blood pressure need to consume. Besides containing high amount of potassium, fruits and vegetables also contain magnesium, vitamins, and fiber. Therefore, when people consume them, they eventually improve the functionality of their digestive system. As such, people suffering from hypertension cannot downplay the role played by fruits and vegetables in management of the condition.
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Besides consuming vegetables and fruits, one also needs to take a reasonable amount of seeds. The minerals present in various seeds are very instrumental in management of high blood pressure as well as treatment of some cardiovascular complications. It is vital to allude that vitamins such as omega 3 present in seeds like nuts are among the healthy types of fat, which are required for health bodies. Additionally seeds like lentils, sunflower seeds, beans, and almonds have minerals like proteins, fiber, potassium, phytochemicals, and magnesium.
In effect, these minerals are very important in addressing issues related to high blood pressure. Besides helping individuals manage their blood pressure, the seeds also help them attain the much-desired lean and healthy body. According to Appel (2009), consumption of seeds reduces the amount of sodium in the body and facilitates successful management of high blood pressure. Notably, consumption of seeds requires moderation because some of them contain high amount of calories that may be detrimental when consumed excessively.
Relevance of Nutritional Support for Patients with Hypertension
Currently hypertension has diverse ways of management and treatment. Some of the ways adopted by individuals to treat and manage the condition include use of supplements and nutritional systems. It is imperative to explain that the other systems or ways of addressing the condition have a range of side effects that come along with their utilization. On the other hand, following the provisions of nutritional support and consuming the right food is a method that manages the condition without side effects (Reddy & Katan, 2004).
The method also facilitates management of other challenges that affect modern individuals. When one consumes the right food after receiving advice from medical experts, the body acquires the right amount of calories. After acquiring the right amount of calories, issues associated with obesity, cardiovascular complications, and other lifestyle diseases diminish. Therefore, it is wise to recommend that nutritional support is the best method that individuals suffering from hypertension can employ to address the condition.
Hypertension is a problem that affects several individuals in modern societies. Due to poor eating habits and changes in lifestyles, several people have contracted the disease through primary or secondary causes. To curb the rising cases of high blood pressure, there is need to devise a strategy that not only manages present instances but also prevents future recurrence of the disease.
While medical practitioners have various methods that they use to manage the condition, nutritional procedure is the best because it has minimal side effects. In effect, the strategy, which utilizes consumption of particular food, has several benefits that outweigh the demerits. Therefore, scholars and medical practitioners should encourage individuals suffering from hypertension to utilize the provisions espoused in nutritional support programs.
Appel, L. (2009). ASH position paper: Dietary approaches to lower blood pressure. The journal of clinical hypertension, 11(7), 358-368.
Reddy, K., & Katan, M. (2004). Diet, nutrition and the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Public health nutrition, 7(1), 167-186.