A Cardiologist Tells You Everything You Need To Know About High Blood Pressure
It is said that 50 per cent patients with hypertension are not aware even of the condition, and out of the other half who are aware, only 50 per cent of them are on active treatment.
Hypertension, or more commonly known as high blood pressure, is one of the major lifestyle diseases found these days. With growing urbanisation and sedentary jobs, the cases of hypertension among Indian patients have gone up alarmingly. Not only adults, in some case, kids also suffer from hypertension. The scenario in rural areas is even worse due to unawareness about the disease and a lack of proper medical facilities.
It is said that 50 per cent patients with hypertension are not aware even of the condition, and out of the other half who are aware, only 50 per cent of them are on active treatment. Further, out of this 50, only half of them actually manage to bring their blood pressure under control. An increase in blood pressure can be induced by several reasons like unhealthy lifestyle, irregular sleep cycle, consumption of fast food, stress, and more. So on World Hypertension Day today, let’s try to know more about how hypertension can expose you to health risks and what the measures are that you can take to address this.
Why is the control of blood pressure important?
High blood pressure which is untreated or poorly controlled over a long period of time puts the patient at the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney diseases, and blindness. The main problem with high blood pressure is that it often comes without any notice as it doesn’t show any symptoms, making it harder for self-diagnosis.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer and described in 2 numbers. The blood pressure of a normal person should ideally be 120 over 80. If someone’s measured blood pressure is described as 140 over 90, it usually signifies he is suffering from high blood pressure. Doctors only recommend treatment and medication if more than 3 recordings at different times of the day or a week are high. In exceptional cases, if someone’s first recorded blood pressure is over 170 over 100, treatment should be sought immediately.
How to control blood pressure without medicines?
Making positive lifestyle changes can lower someone’s blood pressure significantly or reduce the need for medication, ultimately decreasing the occurrence of heart attack or stroke. The following lifestyle changes will definitely help someone keep their blood pressure in control.
- Losing weight: It has been proved that losing weight can have positive impacts on the body, including maintaining a normal blood pressure.
- Choosing an organic diet: Choosing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts can keep the blood pressure in check. One should also reduce the intake of amount of meat, dairy products, sweets, and sugar.
- Less intake of salt: Salt has the properties to induce the risk of high blood pressure. One should limit the intake of salt to fight the chances of this disease and avoid added salt altogether.
- Limit the consumption of alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol can also lead to high blood pressure and curbing the instinct to swig a bottle often reduces the risk.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help one get rid of many health issues. Exercising at least for 30 minutes daily is highly recommended.
- Avoid prolonged sitting: Prolonged sitting can cause high blood pressure, and one should try to avoid it as far as possible.
How frequently should blood pressure be checked?
It depends. If your blood pressure is very high, you should get it checked every single day and multiple times. The frequency will reduce to once in a few days or weekly until it gradually becomes normal. Once normal, it needs to be checked at least once in a month. Home monitoring of blood pressure can be done very easily with automated machines which are available in all pharmacies. With this, you can check your pressure level multiple times as blood pressure tends to vary during the day.
Medicines for blood pressure
Having high blood pressure for a long period of time can lead to multiple complications. It is very important for patients to consult a doctor and take medications as directed. If you experience any side-effects due to the medications, you should immediately inform the doctor. Since blood pressure tends to vary with age and time, regular check-ups help in titrating the right dosage of the medicines and avoidance of any health complications.
What investigations are needed for high blood pressure?
The most common type of hypertension found among Indians is called primary or essential hypertension, which is genetic. The secondary form of hypertension occurs in a minor percentage (5 per cent) of cases. Secondary hypertension can be caused by kidney disorders or hormonal disorders which need a thorough investigation including blood and radiological investigations provided by medical professionals. A yearly echocardiogram to look for enlargement of the heart is usually suggested by doctors as it acts as a surrogate marker as to how well the blood pressure is controlled over the years.
Dr Vivek G. is an Interventional Cardiologist