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Understanding the Causes of High Blood Pressure in Malaysians

Understanding the Causes of High Blood Pressure in Malaysians

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common health condition in Malaysia. It is estimated that about 30% of the Malaysian population suffers from hypertension. High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. In this article, we will discuss the causes of high blood pressure in Malaysians, as well as ways to prevent and manage this condition.

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a condition where the force of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels is consistently too high. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and a normal reading is considered to be 120/80 mmHg. A reading above 140/90 mmHg is considered to be high blood pressure.

Causes of High Blood Pressure in Malaysians

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of high blood pressure in Malaysians. These include:

  1. Lifestyle Factors

Malaysians are at risk of high blood pressure due to their lifestyle habits. Some of the lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure include:

  • Lack of exercise: Sedentary lifestyles and lack of physical activity can lead to high blood pressure.
  • Poor diet: Malaysians have a diet that is high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats, which can contribute to high blood pressure.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of high blood pressure.
  1. Genetic Factors

Hypertension can also be hereditary. Malaysians with a family history of high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing this condition.

  1. Age and Gender

High blood pressure is more common in older adults and in men than women.

  1. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of high blood pressure in Malaysians, including:

  • Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of hypertension.
  • Kidney disease: Kidney problems can lead to high blood pressure, eventually resulting in liver failure. Hence, it is important to go check for liver health screenings.
  • Sleep apnea: This condition can cause hypertension due to breathing difficulties during sleep.


Prevention and Management of High Blood Pressure

There are several ways to prevent and manage high blood pressure in Malaysians:

  1. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help reduce blood pressure levels. Malaysians should aim to engage in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

  1. Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can help prevent and manage high blood pressure. Malaysians should aim to eat a diet that is low in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help lower blood pressure levels.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent and manage high blood pressure. Malaysians should aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight through regular exercise and a healthy diet.

  1. Reduce Stress

Stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Malaysians should try to reduce stress through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

  1. Take Medications as Prescribed

In some cases, medications may be necessary to manage high blood pressure. Malaysians should take their medications as prescribed by their healthcare provider.


High blood pressure is a common health condition in Malaysia, and it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Lifestyle factors, genetic factors, age and gender, and medical conditions can all contribute to the development of high blood pressure. Malaysians can prevent and manage high blood pressure through regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and taking medications as prescribed.

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Cholesterol is a fat molecule synthesized by the body to serve various vital and structural functions. Your body produces these molecules on its own, and also absorbs it from foods you eat, especially animal sources like meat, dairy, and eggs.

High levels of cholesterol in your blood is known to cause heart and blood vessel diseases. Cholesterol can bind to other substances in your bloodstream and clog up your arteries which can lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

You’ve probably heard of LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol, which are different types of cholesterol, and that some are “bad” and some are “good”. In general, LDL cholesterol is termed “bad” cholesterol for its tendency to build up in vessel walls damaging them. HDL cholesterol is termed “good” cholesterol for its counteractive effect, where it transports cholesterol from your bloodstream back into the liver, preventing its buildup in your vessels. Having too much bad cholesterol (LDL), and/or very little good cholesterol (HDL) is dangerous, and can lead to the mentioned conditions.


Several factors could contribute to high cholesterol levels, and they all have to do with your lifestyle:

  • An unhealthy diet: eating processed, fried, and fast foods that are rich in saturated and trans fats is a major source of bad (LDL) cholesterol. These fats are also found in different sweets, fatty meat, dairy foods, and pastry.
  • A sedentary lifestyle: moderate and intense physical activity is needed to lower your LDL cholesterol and elevate the protective HDL cholesterol.
  • Smoking: like in many other diseases, smoking is a cause. Smoking raises your LDL cholesterol levels and reduces the HDL cholesterol level, tipping the balance towards more problems.

The good news is, there are many medications in use today that can help you manage your high cholesterol level and protect your body against its dire effects. Moreover, there are several diet and lifestyle changes that you can adopt to reduce your cholesterol level naturally without needing medications:

1. Take control of your diet

The thing is, a high cholesterol level is largely a dietary problem. The importance of controlling what and how much you eat cannot be stressed enough.

  • Avoid saturated fats: These fats are found in many of the things we eat, especially meat products. Processed and fast foods contain higher proportions of saturated fats, and hence it’s best if you avoid these altogether. These fats mainly increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and are not a healthy choice.
  • No more trans fats: The FDA is working on banning trans fats from food products for the ill effects they cause. These fats are usually found in fried foods and some forms of pastry. You can check the label on the product you’re buying and search for the ones containing “partially hydrogenated oil”, which is a more complex way of saying trans fats.
  • Choose foods with good cholesterol: As already mentioned, HDL cholesterol is considered a good type of cholesterol, one that protects your vessels and prevents them from clogging up. Foods like avocado,  olive oil, fresh nuts, fish, and some fruits are good HDL sources and would be a great substitute for unhealthy foods in your diet.
  • Opt for foods high in fiber: These foods can help reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your guts, and hence would help drop your LDL. Foods like oatmeal, beans, fruits, vegetables, and seeds are rich in fiber, and you would be smart to incorporate them into your diet.
  • Try foods rich in Omega-3: These are a special type of fatty acids that you’ve probably already heard of. Many studies claim that Omega-3 protects your heart and improves your health. The most famous source of this nutrient is fish. You can try to replace red meat in your diet for fish to take the full benefit.

2. Exercise more

As already said, having a sedentary lifestyle puts you at a higher risk of having high cholesterol. You can work out around 30 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week to stay within the recommended physical activity level. Staying active can raise your good cholesterol (HDL) levels and protect you against various metabolic disorders.

Now, you don’t have to start running marathons right away, but you can start by choosing to walk more often rather than drive. Maybe invest in a bicycle and take it to work twice a week. With time, your body will be more used to moving and you can start doing higher intensity exercises like jogging or swimming.

3. No more smoking

As with most other medical conditions, smoking is one of the causes. It is well known that smoking harms your heart and blood vessels, and can cause many types of cancer. Stopping smoking can help raise the level of HDL cholesterol, enhancing its protective effects on your body.

4. Lose those extra pounds

If you’re overweight or obese, you should consider losing some weight through diet and exercise. Extra weight is an important cause of metabolic disturbances which include high cholesterol. Moreover, obesity can lead to many diseases like hypertensiondiabetes, and heart problems.

You can lose weight by adjusting your diet and exercising a little more. Seeking the help of a healthcare professional to set a comprehensive diet and training program can be worthwhile.

5. If you drink, do so in moderation

Some studies have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol may increase HDL cholesterol, which is a good thing. Nevertheless, data is still inconsistent in this regard, but if you do indeed drink alcohol, make sure you do so in moderation. This translates to a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day for women or two drinks for men.

High cholesterol is harmful to your health and is usually a result of unhealthy life habits. The most important controllable factor contributing to high blood cholesterol is your diet. By getting your diet in check, and maybe exercising a little more and quitting some bad habits, you will probably be able to control your cholesterol levels and gain numerous other health benefits.

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