It settles down without being noticed and ends up tiring our hearts. So let’s adopt these six very simple reflexes to lower our tension.
Do you know the three heartbreakers? Cholesterol, diabetes and… hypertension. “Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood on the arteries when the heart ejects it into the body,” explains Professor Jean-Jacques Mourad, president of the French Committee to Fight High Blood Pressure. However, from the age of 50, the arteries are less elastic, blood circulation is less good and the heart, to solve this problem, increases its pressure. This often leads to the development of hypertension, which is not always detected because it is not indicated by any symptoms. Only, in the long term, it can be responsible for strokes and myocardial infarction.” Fortunately, it’s not inevitable! Here’s how to keep it under control.
- 1. measure your blood pressure
We talk about hypertension from 14/9 onwards. The first number corresponds to systolic pressure, i. e. the blood pressure when the heart contracts and empties; the second number corresponds to diastolic pressure when the heart relaxes. “If you flirt with these numbers, you have to measure your blood pressure before each medical appointment,” says Professor Mourad. By respecting the “rule of three”: three consecutive measurements in the morning, three in the evening and this, three consecutive days.” To do this, go to your pharmacist or buy a self-measuring device.
• 2. We are less dirty
“We consume an average of ten grams of salt per day. It’s too much,” Professor Mourad recalls. By keeping us at 6 grams, we could reduce the risk of stroke by 22%. So, we don’t reseal, and we avoid industrial dishes, often too salty.
– • 3. We eat fish
Sure, deli meats, fresh cream, fried food, it’s good… except for our arteries! On the other hand, vegetable oils (olive, rapeseed, walnut), rich in unsaturated fats, help us to keep our arteries supple. We also think of fatty fish twice a week, because it contains omega 3s, which protect the cardiovascular system. And every day, we eat fruits and vegetables: rich in potassium, they lower blood pressure.
– 4. We like to move
“By regular physical activity, in the case of moderate hypertension, we can delay the taking of medication and, in the case of more severe hypertension, reinforce the action of the treatment,” explains Professor Mourad. His prescription? Walk briskly or ride a bike for twenty minutes three times a week, which helps to restore normal tension.
- • 5. We watch our weight
Did you know that losing 3 kilos reduces your blood pressure and reduces the risk of developing hypertension by 46%?
– • 6. We smoke less
Nicotine increases blood pressure and damages the arteries. Ten cigarettes a day increase the risk of developing hypertension by a factor of 2.4.
- Hypertension in numbers
14.4 million people in France suffer from hypertension. A quarter of them are unaware of this. 20% of people aged 45 to 54 have high blood pressure, 45% of people aged 55–64.