All about high blood pressure, heart health & my personal take on the COVID-19 lockdown
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Did you know that online sales for alcohol in Australia increased massively (Waters, 2020)? But so did the sales of gym equipment!!! We were all given this one huge challenge. For some of us, the impacts may have been far greater than for others, but ultimately, it’s important to remind ourselves that how we think about it and what we do about it, are choices that will always remain ours. I would have wished the public health message put more emphasis on looking after our health through good diet and exercise and getting out in the sunshine. This has enormous benefits not just for a healthy immune system but also for our mental health.
Lots of people have been complaining about gaining unwanted extra kilos over this time, while I was struggling holding onto my muscle mass. With the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of my clinic, my blood pressure got as high as 140/105 which is high enough to require medication. Moreover, hypertension makes you also susceptible for complications in case of a COVID-19 infection. What a big wake up call for me to make some lifestyle changes. I adapted my fitness goals to focus more on good healthand not just my performance in the gym. So I increased my intake of fruit and vegetables and added some running into my exercise programme 3 days per week. The first run was only 4km and I walked intermittently when the going got tough. After a few weeks, I had no trouble running between 5 - 10km and my times improved. Most importantly, my blood pressure and heart rate improved rapidly. This morning, when I got back from my run, I had a reading of 120/80 mmHg. I am proud that I was able to solve this health issue without the continuing need for pharmaceutical medicines. High blood pressure is not uncommon. If you are struggling with hypertension yourself, hit me up for a chat.
Key facts about Hypertension (WHO, 2019):
It is advisable to get your blood pressure checked routinely, especially if you’re over 40. Hypertension can run in the family, but often lifestyle is a big factor in its prevention and management. Importantly, it is known as a silent killer, because often you won’t have symptoms while the excessive pressure can harden arteries, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.
Hypertension is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
It is a major cause of premature death.
In 2015, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women worldwide had hypertension.
In Australia, hypertension affects 1 in 3 adults (AIHW, 2018)
Fewer than 1 in 5 people with hypertension have the problem under control.
Individuals with hypertension have an increased risk of serious complications with COVID-19 (Heart Research Institute, 2020).
What you can do for prevention (WHO, 2019)
Eat adequate amounts of vegetables and fruit
Limit the intake of transfats
Be physically active on a regular basis
Do not smoke and drink less alcohol
Reduce salt intake
Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW). (2018). Australia’s health. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/fe037cf1-0cd0-4663-a8c0-67cd09b1f30c/aihw-aus-222.pdf.aspx?inline=true Heart Research Institute (HRI). (2020). COVID-19 and heart health. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.hri.org.au/health/your-health/lifestyle/covid-19-and-heart-health Payne, S., Macintosh, A., & Stock, J. (2018). Body size and body composition effects on heat loss from the hands during severe cold exposure. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 166(2), 313–322. https://www.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23432 Waters, C. (2020). 'Running a million miles an hour': Online alcohol sales soar. Sydney Morning Herald, Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/running-a-million-miles-an-hour-online-alcohol-sales-soar-20200407-p54hx3.html World Health Organization (WHO). 2019. Hypertension. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hypertension