Health

Social Distancing

Social distancing is being used very often all over the world since the emergence of this COVID-19 pandemic. So what is social distancing? Is it applicable to everyone or only some persons?

Social distancing is the deliberate action of creating a physical space between you and another person, whether it is your family, friend, coworker or merely someone you see on the street. The World Health Organization recommends a distance of 1 meter or 3 feet between you and someone who is coughing or sneezing. Many are taking this simple action for granted but it is paramount to adhere to this advice to control the spread of the virus . WHY?

COVID-19 is spread from person to person via droplets that is coughed or sneezed into the atmosphere by someone who is infected with the disease. Once you would have inhaled the droplets that are infected with the virus you too can become sick and spread the virus to many others even when you are not showing signs and symptoms of the disease.

Anyone can catch this disease despite your ethnic group, religion, age and location in the world. Therefore, if you know you are sick you should stay at home and once you leave the house wear a mask to protect others from the virus especially the elderly population who seem to be more susceptible to this disease. In my homeland, the business institutions and supermarkets are trying to promote social distancing by only allowing a few persons into the building at a time but then those waiting to enter the building are congregating outside in clusters with no mask, socializing and having a merry time. It is very appalling but the sad reality that we are facing due to lack of perception of severity.

It is important to be safe and to protect the people around us. Maintain social distancing as much as you can and at all times. Forget about visiting your neighbor for movie night, forget about beer night with the boys, forget about visiting grandma and grandpa for now and forget about greeting others by hugging and kissing. The beautiful thing about this is the fact that technology still allows us to connect with our friends and family all over the world.

BE SAFE, STAY AT HOME!


Tips for Lowering Your Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure is something that has been an issue among men and women for years. Most importantly, people have struggled for years to have complete control of their blood pressure and have tried multiple remedies to lower it. Some have been successful, but many have failed to do so. I will share some valuable tips for lowering your blood pressure, however before I do, I will explain what it means to have elevated blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the force with which the blood pushes against the walls of the blood vessel. When the pressure in the arteries is higher than acceptable range, it is referred to as elevated blood pressure or Hypertension. Elevated blood pressure can be caused by modifiable or non-modifiable factors.

Modifiable causes are: 

Diet- foods that are rich in sodium and an overall unhealthy diet

High cholesterol

Overweight or obesity

Diabetes

Physical inactivity

Smoking

Non-modifiable causes are:

Chronic kidney disease

Gender especially males

Increase age

Family history of hypertension

What is considered normal blood pressure? The Chart below shows the value of normal and abnormal blood pressures. Source: American Heart Association.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of what elevated blood pressure is, its causes and the normal range, we can delve into the tips for reducing high blood pressure. 

  • Diet

Diet plays a very important role in controlling the blood. Eating foods that are healthy daily can result in a significant decrease in blood pressure. Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension- DASH diet is an easy to follow and flexible diet which allows you to choose from a wide range of foods and aid in creating a heart-healthy eating style as part of lifestyle modification. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. It gives way for the consumption of meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans but limits the consumption of sugar sweetened foods and beverages. This diet also limits the amount of red meat and added fats.

  • Exercise

Physical inactivity or adapting to a sedentary lifestyle can cause an increase in blood pressure. Inactivity can lead to overweight or obesity which can lead to elevated blood pressure. Therefore, walking for at least 30 minutes a day, for five days per week can surely result in a noticeable decrease in the blood pressure. Exercise for Better Health

  • Daily Logging

I encourage all my patients with Hypertension to keep a daily log of their blood pressure. I recommend that the blood pressure be taken early in the morning before starting any form of activity and at nights just before bed. These timings allow for an accurate recording of the blood pressure since it eliminates other factors from contributing to an increase. Below is a chart that you can print and use to keep track of your blood pressure. Ensure to make a note of the target blood pressure (bp) given to you by your health-care provider. It would be useful to keep track of the pulse as well. It is a valuable vital sign that helps the physician in prescribing appropriate medications to control Hypertension.

  • Lower Sodium Intake

It is important to read the food labels carefully and observe the sodium content. According to the Food and Drug Association the Daily Value for sodium is less than 2, 300 milligrams (mg) per day, other sources recommend less than 1,500mg per day. Sodium can be hidden in many packaged foods such as:

Canned soups

Bread and rolls

Cold cuts and cured meat

Sandwiches 

Surprisingly, many brands of the frozen meals that are available in the supermarkets are high in sodium to increase its shelf life and improve taste. As such you should read the label to ensure that the sodium content is less than 30% of the daily value.

  • Weight loss

Shredding the excess weight can result in a decrease to your blood pressure. It does not require much weight loss to see a noticeable change in the blood pressure, as little as 10lbs can do the trick. Adopting a healthy lifestyle which includes dietary change, perhaps adapting the DASH diet and consistent exercise can surely guarantee a decrease in your weight.

  • Stress 

Circumstances and situations that can contribute to an increase in your stress level are all around especially during this pandemic where the unemployment rate is so high. Many are struggling to find food to eat and the money to pay rent, mortgages and school fees. However, you should endeavour to find measures to reduce stress level to maintain normal blood pressure values. Dealing with Stress!