Hypertension, commonly known as High Blood Pressure is a major public health issue in India. It is estimated that nearly 20 to 40% of urban and 12 to 17% of rural adults in India are hypertensive. Studies have shown that by the year 2025, 214 million people will be diagnosed with hypertension.
What is Hypertension? Hypertension is defined as a condition wherein the pressure exerted by the blood over the blood vessels is increased, thus causing health problems related to the heart and other organs. Hypertension is often referred to as the “Silent killer”, because it doesn’t show any obvious signs or symptoms!
How is Hypertension diagnosed? Anyone over the age of 30 years should get their BP checked at regular intervals, at least once in a year. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, it is advisable to get your BP checked ideally once a quarter.
What reading is termed to as Hypertension? Normal or Ideal blood pressure reading is between 90/60 mm of Hg to 120/80 mm of Hg. If your reading is something beyond the range, it is then categorized as follows –
- Pre-hypertension – 120 to 139/ 80 to 89 mm of Hg
- Hypertension (Stage 1) – 140 to 159/ 90 to 99 mm of Hg
- Hypertension (Stage 2) – 160 and higher/100 and higher mm of Hg
Symptoms of Hypertension – As mentioned earlier, most cases do not have any symptoms, but in a few cases the following symptoms are seen: headache, nose bleed, breathlessness but the symptoms are not specific.
What causes Hypertension or what are the risk factors? Hypertension can be caused due to various reasons, common causes are –
- Kidney problems
- Thyroid problems
- Sleep apnea
- Certain medicines like Contraceptive pills, so on
- Congenital defects
Risk factors – The list of risk factors is huge, if you fall in that category, keep a track of your BP –
- Family history of hypertension
- Age – greater than 40 years
- Overweight and obesity
- Alcohol consumption
- Not being physically active
- Excessive salt consumption in diet
- Disturbed sleep more than often
Hypertension once diagnosed is a lifelong condition, but appropriate measures help keep your BP under control. Here are a few measures –
- Eat a healthy balanced diet low in salt and rich in potassium
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking/drinking
- Be active, do not spend more time sitting
- Lose weight on priority
- Avoid canned and junk foods
- Try to sleep at least for 6 hours everyday
- Practice yoga
- Manage your stress
Hypertension is avoidable – getting your BP checked regularly, changing your life style, managing stress effectively can help you be prepared.