CHENNAI: Hypertension is defined as a chronic medical condition characterised by persistently elevated blood pressure levels. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is represented by two numbers: systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. Normal blood pressure is generally considered to be around 120/80 mmHg.

The prevalence of hypertension is influenced by various factors, including age, genetics, lifestyle choices, and underlying health conditions.

Hypertension can be categorised into two types: primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension is the most common type and is usually influenced by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, stress, and obesity.

Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is caused by an underlying health condition, such as kidney disease or hormonal disorders.

Monitoring blood pressure regularly is crucial for identifying hypertension and preventing associated health risks.

To accurately measure blood pressure, an individual should be in a relaxed state, sitting comfortably with their arm supported at heart level. A properly calibrated blood pressure cuff is wrapped around the upper arm, and the measurement is taken using a sphygmomanometer or an automated blood pressure monitor.

It is recommended to measure blood pressure at least once every six months, or more frequently if advised by a healthcare professional. Uncontrolled hypertension can have severe consequences on overall health. Prolonged high blood pressure puts strain on the heart, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Controlling high blood pressure involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, medications, and other treatment options. Adopting a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products can help lower blood pressure.

Engaging in regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, helps lower blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the strain on the cardiovascular system. Managing stress through techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques can help lower blood pressure.

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