Hypertension is a silent killer that often manifests itself when some damage has already been done to the body; it is responsible for at least 45% of deaths due to heart disease and 51% of deaths due to stroke.
When was the last time you visited a doctor to get your blood pressure checked? Some months back? A few years back? Never?
In majority of cases, the problem of hypertension or high blood pressure is left undetected and untreated for a long time -- long enough to cause damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes and brain Sometimes, people realize that they’ve had a problem of high blood pressure after problems related to the affected organs surface.
Doctors believe, regular screening for blood pressure can help early detection and initiation of treatment. Keeping the blood pressure under control, even if one is diagnosed as having high blood pressure is important as this will prevent complications.
According to an estimate of the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to over 60% of the world’s total cardiac patients. The scenario is worsening, as younger people as early as in their 20s, are also falling prey to the disease due to a series of factors including lifestyle disorders and stress.
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure is responsible for at least 45% of deaths due to a heart disease and 51% of deaths due to stroke, says the WHO. Yet, the concept of preventive check-ups for early detection has not yet caught up in Indian society.
"Many a time, high blood pressure does not show very obvious symptoms. Often, people may have headaches or feeling of dizziness which they ignore, believing them to be trivial issues. Several times, we see patients who are shocked or surprised to know they have high blood pressure because they feel it is a disease of older people. This is dangerous as high blood pressure is one of the major triggering factors of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or loss of vision" says Dr. Amit Gupta, Columbia Asia Hospital – Palam Vihar
Doctors believe that a regular check on blood pressure is imperative for all people above 35 years of age. Hypertension is an early indicator that a person can suffer a heart, kidney or brain crisis in the future. With timely intervention, this can be prevented. This is possible, only when you know that you are living with hypertension.
"Many a time, even after being diagnosed with high blood pressure, people neglect it and do not take medication regularly. This is another dangerous trend that can be life threatening. If hypertension is detected early, one can effectively prevent complications," says Dr. Amit Gupta, Columbia Asia Hospital – Palam Vihar
While regular preventive check-ups are an important aspect, another crucial element is following a healthy lifestyle. Unhealthy eating habits, acquired habits like alcohol consumption and smoking, lack of exercise, obesity and stress are risk factors for hypertension that eventually increases the odds of heart attacks, renal failure, blindness and stroke.
"Simple lifestyle changes are sometimes enough to control borderline hypertension in people. With such changes, mild hypertension can be treated. While medicines are advised in many cases, changes in life style contributes to lowering the blood pressure, so that lesser medicines are needed. Such lifestyle changes can also help prevent complications in hypertensives" says Dr. Amit Gupta, Columbia Asia Hospital – Palam Vihar
"Eating the right diet sans junk food and reducing salt intake is important. One should also include exercise or brisk walk for at least 45 minutes daily," says Dr. Amit Gupta, Columbia Asia Hospital – Palam Vihar. Smoking and alcohol are major contributors to developing hypertension.
Due to the fast paced lifestyle, heightened stress is common, particularly with unrealistic deadlines at work and balancing a home and work life. Activities that soothe nerves and relaxes the body and mind, take a back seat in the modern world.
Doctors suggest that there needs to make a sincere attempt to spare some time for pursuing hobbies and including activities like walking as stress busters.