Hypertension is a resultant disease of the modern society. The present day socio–economic culture very often stretches personal and social life beyond one’s tolerance limit. This creates ground for many diseases, chief among them is the High Blood Pressure.
At present hypertension is prevailing in almost 1/7th of the population of the world’s industrially developed countries. As the disease strikes lethal blows without giving any warning, it is aptly termed as a “Silent killer”. Ironically, of all the known ailments that lead to premature deaths, hypertension is the easiest to control.
Blood pressure is the pressure required to pump blood evenly to all parts of the body. Blood pressure normally ranges between 110/60 mm Hg to 140/85 mm Hg. If pressure consistently rises beyond 140/85 mm Hg on three different times, then one is considered as hypertensive.
The cause of essential hypertension (where the BP is raised without any primary cause in the heart, kidneys and adrenal glands) is still unknown. Depending on its level of rise, blood pressure is categorized as mild, moderate or severe hypertension
Sudden rise in blood pressure and severe uncontrolled hypertension lead to complications such as paralytic stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney failure and even blindness due to detachment of retina.
Once detected, high blood pressure is to be treated throughout. Maintaining blood pressure at safe level should be the aim of an hypertensive individual. This requires a little sacrifice and determination to abide by restrictions.
Blood pressure is normally maintained within safe limits by the following factors:
- Pumping action of the heart.
- Elasticity of the blood vessels.
- Quality of blood flowing in the blood stream.
- Viscosity (thickness) of blood.
- Peripheral arterial resistance.
The quality of blood can be improved by following the strict regimen of diet which comprises.
- Caloric restriction, if overweight.
- 10–15% fat, 60–70% carbohydrate and 15–20% protein.
- Low in cholesterol.
- Low in salt which eliminates excess water.
- Increased dietary fibre.
- Cold spinal bath, ice massage to the head and spine, trauma and cold pack to head, cold friction, sponger bath, mud bath and cold chest packs all help in bringing down the blood pressure immediately.
- Mud packs applied to abdomen regularly improve circulation to the abdominal region.
- Full body massages done in reverse direction, once or twice a week, not only relax the skeletal muscles but also improve peripheral circulation and lymphatic drainage.
- Yoga therapy, which comprises of yogic kriyas, pranayama, asanas and yoganidra, helps in cleansing the internal system, improving immunity, functioning capacity of the internal organs, providing flexibility, agility, endurance and also a deep sense of relaxation. The heart muscle when relaxed reduces pulse rate, heart beat and blood pressure.
Varicose veins are irregularly dilated, lengthened and thickened veins. They may appear on any part of the body – the oesophageal, haemorrhoidal and spermatic veins but most commonly in the legs. Approximately 20% of population of developed countries have Varicose veins in their legs. Women are more prone (ratio 5:1) and the left leg is more commonly affected than right by the disease. 66% percent of sufferers usually have a strong family history of Varicose veins.
The veins are the vessels which carry the blood back to the heart. They have valves, which ensure the flow of blood only in one direction. When veins dilate, their valves become incompetent, resulting in pooling and stagnation of blood in the superficial veins. Consequently the water in the stagnated and pooled blood rushes to tissue spaces in the leg leading to oedema (swelling) and later on to other complications such as pigmentation of skin (discolouration), fat necrosis (destruction of fatty tissue), eczema and finally ischaemia (lack of blood supply) and ulceration.
Varicose veins are usually seen amongst people who work standing or sitting for long periods of time. Traffic policemen, teachers and people practicing such other vocation and sedentary workers are more prone to the problem. Gravitational pull, obesity and hormonal influences increase the problem.
Varicose veins results in pain, fatigue and heaviness in the legs, ankle swelling, cramps in the legs especially at night, pigmentation of skin, stasis dermatitis, cellulitis of lower limb, etc.
- Reduction of weight, if overweight.
- Avoiding standing or sitting for long time.
- Neutral immersion bath with Epsom salt.
- Contrast foot bath (alternate hot and cold) periodically to relieve cramps, aches and pains.
- Cold packs to the legs applied at night daily are also beneficial.
- Direct mud application to the legs once a while (if there is no ulceration).
- Elevation of affected leg with the help of pillows helps in draining venous blood.
- Drink plenty of tender coconut water, barley water, dhania water or cucumber juice without salt to remove excess water from the system.
- Wear elastic stockings if prolonged standing or sitting cannot be avoided. They help to compress the varicose veins.
- Regular exercises such as contracting leg muscles help the movement of stagnant blood in the veins.
- Walking or treading in cold water relieves painful swelling of veins. By reducing gravitational pull, the venous drainage is improved. The massaging effect due to movement in water helps in stimulating nerve endings around the blood vessels.