It’s a little known fact but blood pressure is generally higher in winter – that’s because more pressure is needed to force blood through your narrowed veins and arteries as they contract in the cold weather.
In South Africa, high blood pressure (BP), diabetes and heart disease are leading causes of death so it’s worth taking a minute or two to find out how you can reduce high blood pressure in winter.
High BP or Hypertension is generally higher in winters due to an inactive lifestyle, increased consumption of salt and constrained blood vessels because of a drop in temperatures. Following a healthy diet plan can help to regulate blood pressure levels and a healthy heart.
Those most at risk are the elderly and people whose jobs require prolonged or repeated exposure to the cold like farmers and construction workers. Cardiovascular events such as acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and sudden cardiac death may be closely associated with ambulatory BP variations. Cold weather is significantly associated with increased morning BP in elderly patients. They should keep warm to avoid stress on the heart.
5 TIPS TO REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE
1. Minimize outdoor activity to reduce sudden changes in the heart’s workload.
2. Avoid extreme exertion.
3. Dress in layers to conserve energy.
4. Avoid the temptation to have that nice hot cup of coffee – rather limit the intake of caffeine and alcohol which cause the body to lose heat more rapidly.
5. Reduce your sale intake and eat a well-balanced diet that should include foods that help lower blood pressure.
The following winter vegetables are all good to go:
Carrots – rich in potassium which relaxes the tension in blood vessels and arteries.
Beetroot – contains Nitric oxide gas that relaxes and dilates blood vessels.
Spinach – Contains lutein that prevents thickening of artery walls.
Raddish – Lowers blood pressure and keeps blood flow in control.
Also include fruit, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
Be sure to contact elderly relatives and assist with heating bills if necessary so that they are not tempted to turn off the geyser or the heater. Your intervention could save a life.