High blood pressure or hypertension is a ‘silent killer’ because it often has no obvious symptoms but can cause cardiovascular and other complications, and even death. For this reason, ‘World Hypertension Day’ is observed on 17 May and ‘High Blood Pressure Education Month’ is observed through the month of May to encourage people to know their numbers by getting their blood pressure checked.
The theme for World Hypertension Day is ‘Know Your Numbers’. Fortunately, a simple check-up by the doctor is sufficient to measure blood pressure and detect hypertension so that he/she can prescribe the necessary treatment and lifestyle changes to help bring the levels under control.
Speaking on the subject, Dr. Anurag Sharma, Director, Department of Cardiology, Ojas Hospital,said that hypertension has become a very common condition, but most people ignore it because they do not realize that it can lead to serious heart disease and even organ failure. I know of patients as young as 30 years old who have hypertension. Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy; working professionals who work long hours or sleep late at night or are sedentary; individuals who are obese; and those who smoke, are all at risk for high blood pressure. I encourage all adults to get their blood pressure checked regularly.”
The term blood pressure refers to the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as it flows through them. High blood pressure is the 4th leading risk factor that contributes to health loss in India People as young as 18 years should ask their doctor to check their blood pressure at least once every two years and increase the frequency to once a year after the age of 40 years.
The exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown and this where the danger comes in. Age, lifestyle, family history, stress can all cause high blood pressure this pressure remains high it can over a period of time damage the blood vessels and put a strain on the heart. This is what can lead to serious conditions such as heart failure, heart attack, and problems with the kidneys and eyes.
Those diagnosed with high blood pressure must follow their doctor’s advice to bring their BP under control and prevent or slow the progress of complications. These include: eating a balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains; reducing salt intake; engaging in moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 mins a week; reducing stress; maintaining the right weight; cutting down on alcohol and tobacco; and taking their prescribed medicines as directed.