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Hypertension and sailing

Planning your next sailing trip? Learn everything you need to know about hypertension and how to manage this health condition effectively while onboard.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is an extremely common health issue. A recent health statistic revealed that 1 out of every 3 adult population may be diagnosed with high blood pressure. This medical condition is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. As the flow of blood into your narrow arteries increases, your blood pressure also tends to increase.

Health risks of hypertension
Hypertension can have serious repercussions on your health and well-being. There are two types of blood pressure, primary and secondary hypertension. Primary is more dependable on age, sex and family history. It tends to develop gradually over the years. And, secondary hypertension can be caused due to underlying health conditions like tumors of certain glands and organs, chronic alcohol use, etc. Some of the health risks of the hypertensive crisis include:
• Stroke
• Heart attack
• Loss of consciousness and memory loss
• Damage to the eyes and kidneys
• fluid backup in the lungs
• Aortic dissection
• Unstable chest pain

How is hypertension connected with sailing?
Sailing is an activity that requires upper body strength, stamina, and endurance. Sailing does help build muscle strength and increased physical endurance, improves your cardiovascular health and can even assist with reduced blood pressure. Apart from physical benefits, proximity to water has the potential to improve our mental well-being too. All said and done, it is important to keep your health on check at all times, especially before boarding. It is imperative to have regular scheduled medical appointments and keep up with the recommended medication from your doctor. If you are a frequent sailor, it’s a best practice to even maintain a health journal quoting your medical conditions and your varied blood pressure levels.
When you are off on a sailing trip, it’s highly recommended to have a healthy diet plan as per your dietitian’s request. Always include a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope and any other dependable devices in your packing list. Although headaches, bloody noses or shortness of breath can be due to several other health conditions, if you associate them with exertion and stressful situations, it can most surely be symptoms of increased blood pressure.

Tips to handle hypertension on board
Prior to sailing, it’s best to attend a coaching session on identifying the symptoms and treatments for potential health issues that may occur onboard. Here are some tips to help you effectively handle hypertension.
• Control weight: There’s an increased chance of being diagnosed with hypertension and cardiovascular disease if you are obese. Hence, it’s important to control your weight on board.
• Maintain an exercise schedule: The risk of blood pressure increases when your body is inactive. Keep up with your exercise schedule and improve your active lifestyle even when you are onboard.
• Eat healthily: Stick to your recommended healthy diet, especially when it comes to salt consumption and calories.
• Quit the use of tobacco: Smoking can cause several health issues, one of the most critical ones being damage to your arteries.
• Control stress: Stress is directly proportional to your fluctuating blood pressure levels. You cannot refrain from taking stress, but you can start practicing meditation on board.

Sailing is an exceptional sport that can help improve your cardiovascular fitness. You tend to uptake a large amount of oxygen while engaging in sailing and it benefits your cardiovascular health and reduces hypertension concerns.

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