World Hypertension Day, observed on May 17th every year, is an initiative to raise awareness about hypertension, often known as the silent killer. This is because it often gets unnoticed due to its subtle nature. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension affects more than 1.3 billion people worldwide, making it a global public health concern. Dr Preet Pal Thakur, Co-Founder, Glamyo Health explained this health condition in detail.
What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition characterised by elevated blood pressure levels persistently exceeding the normal range. It affects your body's arteries and often causes no symptoms. The force of the blood pushing against the artery walls is always strong when you have high blood pressure.
Why Is It Called Silent Killer
Dr Thakur explained that hypertension is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because it usually does not present noticeable symptoms until complications arise. Many individuals may be unaware of their high blood pressure, emphasising the need for regular blood pressure monitoring, especially among individuals at higher risk. To avoid health complications, it is essential to learn the risk factors and complications of this silent killer.
Also Read: Hypertension: 7 Foods For High Blood Pressure
Risk Factors For Hypertension
Several risk factors contribute to the development of hypertension. Dr Thakur listed some of them as follows:
- Family history
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Tobacco consumption
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Individuals with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep apnoea are also at higher risk.
Complications Due To Hypertension
Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to severe complications and pose a threat to your health. It is crucial to manage blood pressure levels effectively to reduce the risk of these complications:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Other cardiovascular conditions like coronary heart disease and aortic disease
How To Manage Hypertension Through Lifestyle Modifications
Dr Thakur said that lifestyle modifications play a significant role in the prevention and management of hypertension. Here are some of the lifestyle changes that you should make:
- Regular physical activity
- Maintain a balanced diet
- Reduce Sodium intake
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Manage stress
Blood Pressure Guidelines
Blood pressure is measured using two values: systolic pressure (top number) and diastolic pressure (bottom number). The American Heart Association (AHA) and other organisations recommend a blood pressure goal of less than 120/80 mmHg for most adults. However, target values may vary depending on an individual's age, overall health, and the presence of other medical conditions.
Awareness and Screening
Dr Thakur said that raising awareness about hypertension is essential for better early detection and treatment. Regular blood pressure screenings are essential, particularly for individuals above 40 years and those with known risk factors. Community initiatives, educational campaigns, and regular health check-ups can contribute to early identification and intervention.
Importance of Regular Monitoring
Dr Thakur further added that regular monitoring of blood pressure is crucial to ensure effective management. This can be done at home using validated blood pressure monitors or through regular visits to healthcare professionals. Monitoring allows for timely adjustments in treatment plans and helps individuals track their progress towards blood pressure goals.
Hypertension is a prevalent health condition that requires attention, awareness, and management. By understanding the facts and statistics surrounding hypertension, recognising the risk factors, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, individuals can take steps towards preventing and managing hypertension effectively.