Keeping BP at Bay

Dr.Sushil Kumar Sharma
The main purpose of the WHD is to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic. Hypertension also known as Silent Killer is a major cause of a range of health problems such as strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease, and can also contribute to dementia. Many people who suffer from hypertension are not aware that they have it as there can be no symptoms, often people only find out after suffering a heart attack or stroke.
The Theme for World Hypertension Day is Know Your Numbers with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world.
Types of Hypertension
a) Primary Hypertension
The vast majority of high blood pressure diagnoses fall into the category of “primary hypertension,” also called “essential hypertension.” This classification means that your doctor or health care team is not able to locate a single cause that explains the elevated blood pressure.
Another medical term used to describe illness without obvious underlying cause is “idiopathic,” and you may hear your doctor use this term. High blood pressure is a complicated disease, with complex and often interrelated genetic and environmental factors. Thus, it is usually not possible to say for sure which elements combined to produce it.
b) Secondary Hypertension
A modest number of high blood pressure diagnoses are classified as “secondary hypertension.” This classification differs from a diagnosis of primary hypertension by a clearly identifiable cause of the high blood pressure. A wide variety of underlying problems can cause high blood pressure. Some important conditions include:
* Obstructive sleep apnoea
* Kidney problems
* Adrenal gland tumours
* Thyroid problems
* Certain defects in blood vessels you’re born with (congenital)
* Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
* Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
* Alcohol abuse or chronic alcohol use
Symptoms of Hypertension
Most hypertensive people have no symptoms at all. There is a common misconception that people with hypertension always experience symptoms, but the reality is that most hypertensive people have no symptoms at all. Some hypertension cause are headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, palpitations of the heart and epistaxis. It can be dangerous to ignore such symptoms but these cannot be solely relied upon to signify hypertension. Hypertension is a serious warning sign that calls for major changes in one’s lifestyle. The condition can be a silent killer and it is important for every-body to know their blood pressure reading.
Risk factors for developing high blood pressure
Family history
Advanced age
Gender Related Risk Pattern
Lack of physical activity
Poor diet, especially one that includes too much salt
Overweight  and Obesity
Alcohol Consumption
Stress and Ethnic Back ground
Causes of Hypertension
There are many behavioural risk factors for the development of hypertension including unhealthy diet is estimated to be related to about half of hypertension.
* About 30% related to increased salt consumption, and about 20% related to low dietary potassium (low fruit and vegetables).
* Physical inactivity is related to about 20% of hypertension.
* Obesity is related to about 30% of hypertension.
* Excess alcohol consumption also causes hypertension.
* Being tobacco free is especially important for people with hypertension.
These behavioural risk factors are highly influenced by people’s working and living condition
In addition, there are several metabolic factors that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other complications of hyper tension, including diabetes, high cholesterol and being overweight or obese. Tobacco and hypertension interact to further raise the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Why High Blood Pressure Is A Matter Of Concern
High blood pressure can lead to serious health implications. These potential implications can motivate one to take care of his/her arteries and live a healthy life
Possible health consequences that can happen over time when high blood pressure is left untreated include:
* Damage to the heart and coronary arteries, including heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure, aortic dissection and atherosclerosis (fatty build ups in the arteries that cause them to harden)
* Stroke
* Kidney damage
* Vision loss
* Erectile dysfunction
* Memory loss
* Fluid in the lungs
* Angina
* Peripheral artery disease
Prevention of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is preventable and treatable. The old adage, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ is especially true for high blood pressure
Weight Reduction     Attain and maintain BMI < 25kg/m2 Dietary salt Reduction     DASH – type dietary plan     Diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low – fat dairy products with reduced content of saturated and total fat.
Moderated  alcohol consumption.
For those who drink alcohol, consume < 2drinks/day in men and <1 drink/day in women
Physical activity     Regular aerobic activity, e.g., brisk walking for 30 min/day at least five days a week.
The agenda behind observation of World Hypertension Day is to raise awareness of the common populace regarding the causes, consequences and necessary prevention of hypertension. Keeping in mind the fact that the hypertension exerts substantial public health burden on cardiovascular health status and healthcare systems in India, a holistic approach entailing the involvement of health care providers, policy makers and health educators is required. Further, existing interventions should look at incorporating multicomponent and multilevel approaches for better managing Blood Pressure among the general population.
Hypertension is divided into Secondary as well as Primary types which are based on many of the Factors. Hypertension which is Primary are quite common and the causes of the Primary Hypertension are unknown. Secondary Hypertension causes many of the diseases such as Sleep Syndrome of Apnea, Recreational Drugs, Coarctation of Aortic, No Proper functioning of the Thyroid Gland, Bad Food, Alcoholic Drinks, wrong or over medicines usage. Hypertension is a disease which is inherited from the Child to the Parents who are having many types of Habits like Smoking, Drinking Excess Alcohol, Oral Contraceptive Pills usage, Obesity, Lack of Exercises etc.
Hypertension can also leads to brain hemorrhage, heart Attack, Failure of the Heart and Kidney, Damage of the Eyes etc. World Hypertension Day is used to celebrate to spread the knowledge about maintaining the Normal Blood Pressure for lots of people. It is reported that around 3 of the ten people are suffering from the Hypertension. Almost 1.8 Billion people are suffering from the Hypertension and the 50 percent of the people who are knowing about the causes and situations of the Hypertension do not focus on the Hypertension for the High Blood Pressure problem.
(The author is HoD Cardiology SSH)


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