High blood pressure is one of the most serious health conditions worldwide. Often times, people have high blood pressure for months or even years without knowing it. Knowledge is very important when it comes to health. High blood pressure can lead to other lethal conditions such as, “coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.” (“What is high,” 2011) There are many ways that you can avoid high blood pressure. One of the main values that the Vietnamese culture holds high is physical health. Not only is physical health an important value of the Vietnamese culture, but it is a significant key in avoiding high blood pressure. Growing up, my dad always put emphasis on physical health. He made sure that my diet consisted of healthy foods. Once in a while, my dad would let me get a fast food burger, but that was really rare. Not only did my dad make sure my diet was healthy, he also made sure I exercised daily. My dad made me run on the track at the middle school by my house.
As I got older, he encouraged me to participate in sports and other activities. Exercising daily would make the heart stronger; therefore “the force on your artery walls decrease.” (“What is high,” 2011) Not only does exercise reduce the chances of getting high blood pressure, but it is also a very good way of releasing stress. Stress is a contributing factor in increasing the chances of getting high blood pressure, so releasing stress is beneficial. As a young boy, I witness my dad go through many stressful times because of financial burdens. The stress affected my dad greatly. Till this day, he still stresses over financial burdens especially because of the economy and my college cost. Now that my dad knows he has high blood pressure, he runs the treadmill for at least forty five minutes a day. Maintaining an exercise schedule is crucial to avoiding medical conditions such as high blood pressure.
Also, a healthy diet is important to being healthy. I live at home with my parents, so I eat whatever my mom makes. My mom used to use a lot of oils, salt, and sugars in her cooking, but my dad asked her to stop using so much of it. At my household, we usually eat rice everyday with different dishes my mom prepares. We always have a soy sauce. We eat a lot of fish, vegetables, and grains. Every month, on the first and the fifteenth, no meat is allowed. Usually for those days my mom would make a dish that has tofu and vegetables, and then we would eat it with rice. My mom has to cook healthy since my dad has high blood pressure, but when we go to family parties, my aunties’ cook. My aunties always use a lot butter, salt, soy sauce, and sugar, which can also affect blood pressure. Salt plays a huge factor in increasing blood pressure. Salt increases the blood volume because it attracts and retains water; therefore, causing the heart to work extra hard to move the blood through the blood vessels. Overworking the heart increases high blood pressure and creates strain on blood vessels and arteries.
My aunts never really had any type of education except learning from their parents, so it’s not that they want to increase everybody’s blood pressure, but because they do not know that certain foods increase the blood pressure. Some Vietnamese foods tend to contradict with a healthy diet. My dad usually never eats when we go to family parties, but he drinks a lot. Almost all the adults drink a lot during a family party. Alcohol is a big part of Vietnamese culture, even when it is not a party. There is always alcohol around the house. Not only is it a part of the Vietnamese culture, alcohol is also a big factor in high blood pressure. Alcohol does many unhealthy things to the body. Many people know of the short term effects such as temporary impairment, but not many people know of the long term effects. Recent studies have shown that “drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis is linked to high blood pressure and can lead to hypertension.” (Sheps, 2010)
Researchers are not sure exactly how alcohol affects blood pressure, but many researchers think that “the chemicals in the alcohol may have an effect on the blood vessels and arteries, causing them to tighten and close,” (Sheps, 2010) therefore the blood has to find a way to squeeze its way through. Not only does it increases the levels of high blood pressure, alcohol also, causes other serious health problems such as liver cancer, mental disorders, and many more. Even just drinking small amounts can add up and lead to high blood pressure, yet my dad and uncles still drink huge amounts of alcohol. When there is a family party, people who walk by the house can literally see mounds of beer bottles and wine bottles. Even though my dad knows that he has high blood pressure, he does not know that alcohol can increase his blood pressure even more. He knows that exercise reduces his blood pressure and that certain food can cause an increase, but he does not have a clue that alcohol can increase his blood pressure.
All my dad and uncles know about alcohol is that it gets them drunk and they have to have it at any kind of event. Even if my dad and uncles knew, it would be hard for them to reduce their drinking because they have drunk like that for so long. Alcohol is a huge threat to high blood pressure, but also a huge part of Vietnamese culture. Vietnamese culture has many pros and cons towards avoiding high blood pressure. Physical health is a very important value in the Vietnamese culture, and also a huge factor in reducing high blood pressure. Vietnamese eating and drinking habits are not so good for high blood pressure. Being one of the most serious health conditions, high blood pressure needs to be taken seriously. There are many ways to avoid and to treat high blood pressure. Exercising and eating right are very important to reducing blood pressure levels. Early diagnosis of high blood pressure is very important in treating it. Choosing not to take care of high blood pressure can lead to even more deadly health conditions.
1. Sheps, S. (2010). Blood pressure diet. Retrieved from http://www.blood-pressure-diet.com/alcohol-high-blood-pressure.php 2. What is high blood pressure?. (2011, April 01). Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/