Yesterday, 17th May was World Hypertension Day.
Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the vessels. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump. If left uncontrolled, hypertension can lead to a heart attack. Hypertension can also lead to stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and cognitive impairment.
Hypertension is a lifelong disorder. For optimal control, a long-term commitment to lifestyle modifications and medical therapy is required. Most people with hypertension have no symptoms at all; this is why it is known as the “silent killer”. Sometimes hypertension causes symptoms such as headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, palpitations of the heart and nose bleeds, but not always. Hypertension is the most important preventable cause of heart disease and stroke worldwide.
All adults should have their blood pressure checked routinely, it is important to know your numbers. If blood pressure is high, consult your doctor. You must adhere to the prescribed medication, lifestyle changes and monitor your health. People with high blood pressure that also have high blood sugar, elevated blood cholesterol or kidney damage face even higher risk of heart attacks and stroke. Therefore it is important that regular checks for blood sugar, blood cholesterol and urine albumin take place.
Various strategies to decrease cardiovascular disease risk include the following:
- Prevention and treatment of obesity: an increase in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference is associated with an increased risk of developing conditions with high cardiovascular risk, such as hypertension and diabetes.
- Regular physical activity and promotion of physical activity for children and young people (at least 30 minutes a day).
- Diets low in salt, total fat, and cholesterol. Reducing salt intake to less than 5 g of salt per day (just under a teaspoon).
- Adequate dietary intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Limited alcohol consumption.
- Avoidance of cigarette smoking.
- Avoidance of the use of illicit drugs, such as cocaine.
- Managing stress in healthy way such as through meditation, appropriate physical exercise, and positive social contact.
Many people with high blood pressure in developing countries are not aware of their disease, and do not have access to treatments that could control their blood pressure and significantly reduce their risk of death and disability from heart disease and stroke. Detection, treatment and control of hypertension is an important health priority worldwide.
Stay healthy Stay happy !!