So many people suffer from high blood pressure in our country and unfortunately, half of them are not aware of their problem. The blood pressures of the half of the other half are not under control. Approximately 1.5 billion people in the world and 15 million people in our country fight with hypertension, which is the primary among the often seen chronic diseases that adults face. The specialists point to salt consumption and stress as the causes of hypertension that effects lives of many people detrimentally.

Reconsider the amount of your salt consumption
Emphasizing that hypertension is more frequently seen in societies with high salt consumption, Liv Hospital Nephrology Specialist Prof. Dr. Tekin Akpolat expresses the further increased risk in people with hypertension history in the family.

Akpolat shares the following information: “If the blood pressure measurements taken at a health center are determined as over 140 mmHg systolic or 90 mmHg diastolic, this is considered high blood pressure. Determination of either systolic or diastolic blood pressures as high is enough for a diagnosis of hypertension. Overconsumption of salt and genetic factors are the most important ones among the causes of development of hypertension. In addition, conditions such as stress, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and poor eating habits contribute to the development of hypertension.”

Silent danger
“The only symptom of hypertension in the early period is the high measurement of the blood pressure values. Many patients may feel headache, palpitation, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness when the blood pressure rises; however, a significant number of patients may not show any of the symptoms. If hypertension is not taken under control, conditions such as heart failure, kidney diseases, stroke, and symptoms related to these conditions may appear. These problems can be prevented in patients whose hypertensions are taken under control.”

When stress is reduced, control becomes easier
“Stress causes sudden increase of blood pressure and the stress related high blood pressure is usually temporary. There is no evidence to prove stress as the cause of chronic hypertension; however, stress contributes to the increase of blood pressure in some patients. When stress is reduced, controlling the blood pressure becomes easier. Hypertension must be treated, even if it is stress related.”

Regular use of medication and change in life style
Nephrology Specialist Prof. Dr. Tekin Akpolat explains the three steps of the hypertension treatment: “Treating the disease that causes hypertension, use of medication, and change of life style. Changes in life style such as less consumption of salt, losing the excess weight, increasing physical activity, quit smoking and alcohol consumption are highly effective in treatment of hypertension.”

Recognize your condition
“Controlling blood pressure in business life is possible through a healthy doctor-patient relationship, having the correct information on hypertension, and being able to make the necessary life changes to treat hypertension.”

What are the situations that obstruct controlling blood pressure?
-Avoiding the use of medication.
-Not sharing the side effects of your medication with your physician.
-When your blood pressure is under control, testing it to see ‘if medication is necessary.’
-Error in your blood pressure monitor.
-Not knowing how to measure your blood pressure.
-Misuse of herbal remedies.
-Decreasing the dose or the number of medications without consulting to your physician.
-Not examining the underlying reason of your hypertension.
-Increase in your blood pressure due to the use of medication for another condition.
-Overconsumption of bread (if salted.)
-Overuse of salt unwittingly.
-Not making special food preparation requests when eating outside.
-Asymptomatic hypertension.
-Accepting the situation (letting your blood pressure remain high.)
-Thinking that ‘my body is used to high blood pressure.’

Ways to cut down on salt
Having less salt is good for your health as well as easing the control of your blood pressure. Prof. Dr. Tekin Akpolat says that the recommended amount of daily use of salt is 5-6 grams; however, most individuals exceed this amount. Prof. Dr. Akpolat makes the following recommendations to cut down on salt: “Try alternatives of salt. Adding other flavors to our meals except salt makes things easier. Lemon, black pepper, red pepper, cumin, vinegar, mint, thyme, onion, garlic, herbs, and spices are among those. Cook your meals with less salt or no salt at all.”

Be careful at breakfast
“Cheese, olive, pepperoni, salami, sausage, bread, bagel are important sources of salt. Everyone should find the most suitable type of breakfast in the aspects of salt consumption and weight gain. Consume less pastry. Pasta, noodle, ravioli, pizza, bagel, saltines, cakes may be important sources of salt. Be careful when you are eating outside. Examine the menu carefully. Prefer nonfat, light dishes as well as the ones with less sodium. Salad should be brought to the table without the addition of salt and oil. Yogurt and yogurt drink are good selections. Starter entrees are usually both salty and fatty. Eating fruit instead of dessert would be healthier. Plenty of water can be drunk with your meal.”

Read nutrition labels
“Avoid salt rich foods. Generally, processed meats (sausage, pepperoni, and salami), breadcrumbs, crackers, corn flakes, popcorn, chips, instant soup, bouillon, phyllo pastry, sweet crackers, cakes, tomato paste, sunflower seeds, and salted peanuts contain lots of salt. Packing fruits, unsalted nuts, or boiled eggs before leaving home might be a good idea. You may not taste the salt in some processed foods because of other flavors. Develop the habit of reading nutrition labels.”