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Did you know that physical activity, exercise, medication adherence and lifestyle modifications provide a protective effect on your cardiovascular system; especially against hypertension and a wide range of cardiac disease?

With one-quarter of the world’s adult population estimated to have hypertension, and with the worldwide prevalence of hypertension projected to increase 60% by 2025, the primary prevention of hypertension has become a global public health challenge.

Present guidelines recommend increasing physical activity as a means to prevent hypertension as there have been studies to prove the blood pressure lowering effects of physical activity and aerobic exercise.

Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness are related, but they are distinct umbrella terms commonly used in literature.

Individuals with hypertension suffer from not only a system pathology but this pathology reflects in their ability to perform activities of daily living as a result of frequent episodes of fatigue, shortness of breath or breathlessness, dizzy spells and so on.

Courtesy: www.ruperthealth.com

How does exercise work in preventing and managing hypertension?

Exercise is a key component of lifestyle therapy for the prevention and management of hypertension. It consistently demonstrates beneficial effects on hypertension with reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in those with hypertension.

Exercise or physical activity has a remodelling effect on the structure of a hypertensive heart and the sympathetic nervous system, as well as an improvement in functional capacity of the heart itself.

It is important to know the normative values of blood pressure and to be able to monitor your own blood pressure if hypertensive. Keeping a daily or bi-daily log of your blood pressure is widely encouraged for individuals diagnosed with hypertension. 

Because a person’s blood pressure cannot be merely assessed by physical appearance, there are quite a number of people unaware of this silent killer. This is why medical professionals encourage frequent medical check-ups for adults aged 50 and above; and even young adults as of today.

Does medication play a role in managing hypertension?

Yes!

The use of anti-hypertensive medication or anti-hypertensive therapy and its adherence, is important in the management of hypertension itself and in the long term, certain heart and cardiovascular diseases.

Adherence is of particular concern in hypertension. A majority of already diagnosed individuals with hypertension do not quite understand the need, importance and the duration for which these medications should be used. It is therefore quintessential to have knowledge of the medication use especially when placed on anti-hypertensive therapy by a physician.

Lifestyle modification

As the term implies, it involves making certain wise and healthy changes in one’s everyday life. It is the safest mode of therapy and does not include medication but persistence.

Here are a few Lifestyle changes or modifications you can actively make to further prevent and or manage hypertension:

Quit Cigarette smoking

Whether first hand or second hand smoke. Quit it.

Cigarette smoking is one of the greatest single modifiable risk factors for cardiac disease. Smoking accelerates atherosclerosis, contributes to hypertension, and is associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Weight loss

Weight loss can decrease blood pressure, improve lipid profile, and improve diabetic control, as well as improve the ability to exercise.

Quit or Reduce alcohol intake

Lowering cholesterol levels and increasing high-density lipoprotein as this is associated with decreased risk of cardiac diseases and hypertension.

Exchange your sedentary lifestyle for a more active one.

Sources

Kearney PM, Whelton M, Reynolds K, Muntner P, Whelton PK, He J. Global burden of hypertension: analysis of worldwide data. Lancet. 2005; 365:217–23. [PubMed: 15652604]

Keith M. Diaz and Daichi Shimbo, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Hypertension.Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 December ; 15(6): 659–668. doi:10.1007/s11906-013-0386-8.

Caspersen CJ, Powell KE, Christenson GM. Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public Health Rep. 1985; 100:126–31. [PubMed: 3920711]

 Sheila M. Hegde and Scott D. Solomon. Influence of Physical Activity on Hypertension and Cardiac Structure and Function. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2015 October ; 17(10): 77. doi:10.1007/s1190 6-015-0588-3.

Essential physical medicine and rehabilitation. Editted by Grant Cooper and forewarded by Nanc E. Strauss. 2016 Human press Inc

Vrijens,B.,DeGeest,S.,Hughes,D.A.,Przemyslaw,K.,Demonceau,J.,Ruppar,T., et al. (2012). A new taxonomy for describing and defining adherence to medications. Br. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 73, 691–705. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125. 2012.04167.x

World Health Organization [WHO] (2003). Adherence to Long-Term Therapies. EvidenceforAction.Availableat:http://www.who.int/chp/knowledge/publicatio ns/adherence_full_report.pdf[accessed14September,2016].

Bernard Vrijens, Sotiris Antoniou, Michel Burnier, Alejandro de la Sierra and Massimo Volpe. Current Situation of Medication Adherence in Hypertension. REVIEW published: Frontiers in Pharmacology, March 2017 | Volume 8 | Article 100. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2017.00100