Hypertension is mostly a preventable problem and can be easily prevented with healthy diet, regular dynamic exercise, avoidance of smoking and excess alcohol consumption. On the occasion of World Hypertension today, Dr Tilak Suvarna Interventional Cardiologist and Head of Cardiology, Asian Heart Institute talks about this increasingly important public health issue.
Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, means that your blood pressure is constantly higher than the recommended level which is 140/90 mm Hg. Worldwide prevalence estimates for hypertension may be a little more than 1 billion individuals, and approximately 7.1 million deaths per year may be attributable to hypertension. No wonder then that hypertension is called a “silent killer”, silent because it is not usually associated with any symptoms and in a good majority of people it gets incidentally detected, years after its actual onset.
Hypertension is an increasingly important medical and public health issue. As one ages, hypertension becomes almost inevitable. The prevalence of hypertension increases with advancing age to the point of being 50 percent in people 60–69 years of age and approximately 75 percent in those 70 years of age and older. In fact the lifetime risk of developing hypertension is approximately 90 percent for men and women who were non-hypertensive at 55 or 65 years respectively.
Hypertension, if untreated or inadequately treated, is associated with an increased risk of having heart disease (heart attack, heart failure), stroke, kidney disease and eye damage. High blood pressure is an independent risk factor for heart disease and can increase the risk by 2-3 fold.
Hypertension can affect the heart in several ways
The cardiac complications of hypertension are either due to the increased level of BP per se or due to concomitant atherosclerosis which is aggravated by hypertension. Suboptimal BP is responsible for upto 50 percent of ischemic heart disease. It is estimated that for every 20 mmHg systolic or 10 mmHg diastolic increase in BP, there is a doubling of risk of death from heart disease.
The relationship between BP and risk of cardiac events is continuous, consistent, and independent of other risk factors. The higher the BP, the greater the chance of heart attack and heart failure. Hypertension precedes the development of heart failure in approximately 90 percent of patients and increases risk for heart failure by two- to threefold. Prompt detection and adequate treatment of hypertension is essential to prevent the disastrous sequelae of untreated hypertension.
Treatment of hypertension starts with lifestyle changes - Dietary changes, increased physical activity and weight reduction; followed by drug therapy. Antihypertensive therapy has been associated with significant reductions in heart attack incidence averaging 20–25 percent; and in heart failure incidence, averaging >50 percent.
Read more articles on Hypertension.
Hypertension or high blood pressure or BP is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against artery walls eventually leads to healthy ailments, such as heart problems.read more
Essential Hypertension - About 95 percent of people with high blood pressure have essential or primary hypertension.read more