What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure, which can lead to severe health complications. Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. High blood pressure, or Hypertension is when this pressure is higher than it should be.
Why is it important to avoid Hypertension?
Hypertension is known as ‘the silent killer’, it is a condition which shows no symptoms, in fact, over half of people in the UK who suffer from high blood pressure are not diagnosed. Hypertension can cause severe health issues if it’s not identified and treated, it could lead to a heart attack, stroke, heart disease and even kidney disease. It is the third biggest cause of death in the UK, and around 1 in 3 adults suffer from it.
As we spend the majority of our adult lives at work, her at Parcel2Go we have created a list of useful tips to help minimise your risk of Hypertension in the workplace.
The average adult spends around 12 hours of their day sitting down (this may be less if you have a manual/active job) and our work chairs are probably the seat we spend the most time in. Research has shown that sitting down all day can drastically increase your chances of suffering from hypertension, and if you slouch then your chances are even higher. To combat this, we suggest getting up from your desk every 30 minutes – go for a little walk around the office or get up and stretch, if you usually drive out somewhere to grab some lunch then walk there instead. The small amount of exercise will do your body (and your mind) a world of good.
2. Avoid Stress
This one might be easier said than done, but stress is one of the number one contributing factors to high blood pressure. Whilst we can’t always control stress caused from work or others, we can manage our own stress. If you find yourself getting a little worked up whilst at work, take a quick break, get some fresh air, or take 5-10 minutes and listen to a meditation tape, there are some great apps such as Headspace which can be downloaded to your phone and listened to at your desk.
3. Drink H2O
We all know by now that drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day is good for us, but few people know that it actually helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. Not drinking enough water, and therefore being dehydrated, can result in higher sodium levels in the blood stream, which in turn leads to high blood pressure. Drinking plenty of water also aids in weight loss, being over weight is another major contributing factor - losing as little as 10lbs can prevent hypertension.
4. Take your own lunch
Eating a healthy diet is proven to lower your risks of hypertension, if you already suffer from it then it can help reduce your blood pressure. Taking your own lunch to work will ensure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet – pre plan meals for the week and try to incorporate a mix of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish. Eating out for convenience can result in grabbing the closest thing you can find, which let’s face it, isn’t always healthy, and often packaged foods that are deemed as ‘healthy’ have high sugar and salt content. Reducing sodium (salt) in your diet can reduce blood pressure dramatically, avoid eating processed foods or adding salt to your meals.
5. Cut the Caffeine
Excessive amounts of caffeine in your diet is directly linked to hypertension, especially consistently drinking four or more cups a day, in fact, even one cup of caffeine can cause a short increase in your blood pressure even if you don’t suffer from high blood pressure. We all know that feeling when we are at our desks and can’t focus without a cup of coffee, but if you’re consuming a few cups a day, along with tea and other caffeinated drinks, you’re massively putting yourself at risk. It’s fine to drink as part of a balanced diet, but limit yourself, maybe have one caffeinated drink in the morning and one after lunch for an afternoon pick me up, then stick to water to help stay hydrated and alert.
6. Work it
Exercise is proven to help lower your blood pressure, and if you’re already healthy it will help keep you that way. We suggest getting in a workout at least 4 or 5 days a week – go to the gym straight after work, book yourself on to a yoga class or go for a swim. If you’re blood pressure is already high, and you need to lower it, start off with light exercise of around 20 minutes and build it up as you become more active. If you’re slightly nervous about going to the gym by yourself or aren’t sure what to do, get a team of your work mates and start together, skip the after-work drinks and make it an after-work health session. You’ll thank us later!
There are a number of factors that can increase your chances of hypertension or make it worse if you already suffer with it, as we spend the majority our time at work, it’s important to look at work environment and see how that impacts on our health, especially blood pressure. Parcel2Go aim to help raise awareness this of Hypertension and encourage individuals and employers to create a healthier, happier work atmosphere.