The end of 2020 is coming in a few weeks and we are all very excited to shake off what we may commonly refer to as the pandemic year. Like the Christmases of the past, most of us are in a celebratory mood so we tend to let loose and get busy. But if you have pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure, the tensions related to celebrations can be very bad for you. Prevent hypertension from destroying your holidays. Here are some tips for you to stay healthy throughout the holidays.
Hypertension and Related Illnesses Reach a Peak During Christmas
“Tis the season to be…hypertensive?”
For all of us who have lived our years in this world know that Christmas is tagged as the happiest time of the year. Parties left and right happen among families, schools, offices, and organizations. We enjoy our rich heritage dishes, especially those fatty Filipino favorites that feature pork, rice, cream, and many others. That’s our tradition.
- Related: Happy Christmas Family Traditions
Just to make sure that we can fit all our gatherings in the last two weeks of the year, we try to hold events at different times. There are breakfast, brunch, lunch, coffee, dinner, and after-dinner get-togethers to join.
Our favorite centerpiece in every gathering is still, of course, the lechon or the whole roasted pig. While tastes vary between regions, we cannot deny that lechon orders really skyrocket during the holidays.
And with that, so does the blood pressure of many people.
Rich, fatty, high-carb, and sweet-laden diets combined with holiday stress and lack of sleep are fatal combinations for those who already have high BP. That is the reason why at this time, stroke and heart attacks are also very common.
Prevent Hypertension and Heart Disease During the Holidays
Here are some simple tips to prevent hypertension and other related diseases that stem from our lifestyle choices during the holidays.
1. Eat moderately.
Christmas or not, this is a good rule to follow. It’s not about avoiding all kinds of “bad” stuff, but eating in small portions. That way, we are still happy and our cravings are satisfied. We would not feel bad because we did not eat something that we love like lechon, ice cream, fruit salad, or paella.
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2. Cut down on alcohol intake.
If you do not have pre-existing conditions, drinking some wine or beer during the holidays is fine. Just don’t overdo it to the point of being drunk. Moreover, too much alcohol has a debilitating effect on the liver. But alcohol has a different effect on blood pressure, as drinking too much can really make one hypertensive. (Source)
3. Learn to say no.
If there is one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that there are things that we can do without. The same is true with events and engagements. If they are not good for your mental health and overall well-being, say no.
A lot of times, we think we have to do this or go to that. It’s just FOMO, or the fear of missing out. But in doing so, we miss sleep, stress ourselves unnecessarily, and ruin our health.
And this is not just for the elderly. Many young people overstretch themselves and some unfortunate ones end up with a cardiac arrest.
Things can pull you from different directions during the holidays. Aside from parties, there are year-end deadlines and quotas as well as shopping stress. Take breaks several times every day just to take a breather. Also, diffusing essential oils can really lift up your mood. Stress can really elevate your blood pressure like no other, so relax.
5. Check your maintenance medicines.
Do you have a pre-existing condition and you have prescription medication? Make sure that your prescription refills are stocked up during the holidays. Most drugstores close for Christmas and New Year to allow their employees some days off to be with their families. Do not get caught up in the rush without your maintenance medicines. It could be fatal for some people.
6. Try not to gain weight.
Obesity is one of the precursors of hypertension. And most of us tend to gain more weight during the holidays. Try to keep your weight at a minimum by following Tip #1, which is to eat moderately, and to incorporate physical activity in your daily regimen.
- Related: Boneless Lechon Belly Recipe
#PanatangPamilya and #PanatangSanofi to Prevent Hypertension During Christmas
My own mother and my father in law have hypertension. Since my mother is younger, she manages it with lifestyle choices like eating more vegetables and keeping the weight off. She just has medicines for emergencies.
As for Papa, he is already almost 80 years old, so his blood pressure and heart condition are being monitored constantly. He is also under maintenance medication.
The good thing is, both of them are also careful with what they eat and are taking natural supplements for overall wellness.
Moreover, we try to keep the dishes in the family as “healthy” as we can. During those times that we prepare rich foods, everyone is reminded to eat moderately—not just the elders.
Indeed, health is a family affair and that is exactly what #PanatangPamilya wants to achieve. This movement is #PanatangSanofi, something that Sanofi has started during the pandemic in order to bring down the cases of lifestyle diseases in the Philippines. These are hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
Our Family is Our Support
Battling a chronic disease is hard but with the help of the entire family, everything gets easier. We can help a patient financially and physically, like preparing healthy meals for them.
But more than that, they need emotional and psychological support. Many of them get depressed because of their situation. Or they may give up on the exercise regimen they started. Family members are the closest people around them, so it is but natural that patients will look to family for support.
This should be the #PanataNgPamilya.
Sanofi encourages Filipino families to commit to fighting Chronic Diseases. If awareness and education are done on the family level, Sanofi believes that chronic disease statistics in the Philippines will really go down.
What Can We Do?
Sanofi is bent on advocating disease awareness. They are campaigning for healthier families in order to achieve a Healthier Philippines. Eventually, it is their aim to bring down cases of diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease.
In order to be the bridge between Filipino families and quality healthcare, Sanofi has collaborated with doctors, patients, and healthcare providers. So now, they have come up with holistic solutions and innovations like the following programs:
Healthier PH Sessions. These are online discussions that tackle issues in managing our family’s habits.
WeHealth. This is an eHealth ecosystem that virtually connects patients and doctors in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Medical consultations may be availed 24/7 plus prescription medicines may now be delivered to our homes.
Empower Patient Support Program. This is for the continuous care and medical education of Diabetes patients.
We are on the road to a Healthier Philippines. But of course, the decision still lies on us. We should make the decision to live a healthier lifestyle and to live in moderation.
A Pandemic Reminder
We are still not out of the woods yet because Covid-19 is still here. If you are parents to teenagers, please talk to them. While we may be able to easily tell off our young children to stay at home, teenagers are more likely to go out with friends.
As much as possible, celebrate Christmas with people in your own household. That is by far our safest way to spend the holidays wisely.
The holidays are not the time to let loose. Or we may lose someone that we love.