The World Health Organization defines Hypertension or high blood pressure as a stealth condition where the heart muscles are overworked as the organ works harder to pump blood out to the body. A chronic disease, hypertension and can last for years and even lifelong.
Every year more than 10 million cases of hypertension are reported in India. To get some insight into this health issue, Patriot Interacted with some patients suffering from HBP.
Rajesh Jain, retired Air Force officer, 82, was diagnosed with hypertension five years ago. “My physician told me that it should be under the supervision of a cardiologist. To keep my blood pressure in check, I take medicines prescribed by my cardiologist and walk for about 2 to 3 km depending on my daily routine. Besides, I follow a balanced diet. I believe your basic food habits should be suitable to your body’s requirements,” he says.
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Puneet Verma, an entrepreneur, who has been suffering from Hypertension for two years dubs it “a serious problem”. “If neglected, it can even cause brain haemorrhage. It should be supervised properly to avoid any risks. I keep a check on my blood pressure on a daily basis and I avoid being angry most of the time. I do not have any side effects from the medicines that were prescribed to me by the cardiologist. Treatment of hypertension is something very important as it could be dangerous.”
To dig deeper into treatment and diagnosis of hypertension, Patriot spoke to two NCR-based interventional cardiologists.
Dr Sameer Gupta
What according to you is Hypertension?
Hypertension, by definition, means an increase in blood pressure and the guidelines have recently changed. Anyone with a blood pressure of 130mmHg over 80mmHg is considered to have Hypertension.
In Stage 1 hypertension, where the blood pressure readings are 130-140 (upper number) and 80-89 (lower number), one doesn’t necessarily need medicines, but that is when you should start caring for your diet and all.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first is systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and the second is diastolic blood pressure that measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
What causes High Blood Pressure?
There are many reasons for having high blood pressure but some of the major reasons in today’s life are increasing weight, smoking, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, increased salt and caffeine intake, kidney problems.
What is the treatment for High Blood Pressure?
Patients should do exercises and make some diet changes to their lifestyle such as eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, low salt intake, low alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and losing fat if you are overweight. This definitely helps to reduce blood pressure. If these mechanisms don’t work or if your blood pressure is on the higher side like 150 or 160 then you need to be under medication to treat hypertension.
What health problems are associated with Hypertension?
Hypertension can cause multiple problems and can affect each and every organ. Starting from head to toe, it can cause brain haemorrhage or stroke, visual problems, heart attacks or blockage in the arteries of heart, kidney failures, and blockage in the arteries of legs. So, there are a whole host of problems that can happen with untreated or undiagnosed hypertension.
Pie-Chart describing average incidence of Hypertension as per age groups from NFHS 5
What are the symptoms of having hypertension?
Like I said earlier, Hypertension is a silent killer, not many people have symptoms of having high blood pressure. Some people might feel heaviness in the head or have headache, some people may complain of weakness but that’s a minority of people. But in the majority of people hypertension remains asymptomatic so people should have been screened to make sure that hypertension is not present.
What is the fact behind the myth, that hypertension is not a serious problem?
That is a completely false statement that it is not a serious problem. People take hypertension for granted as it is very common nowadays. However, hypertension can cause multiple problems right from brain haemorrhage to kidney failures. So, it is something which needs to be taken seriously but it is not something to be scared about. There are treatments available to treat it properly and effectively. So, these things do not happen.
Do young people have the risk of hypertension?
Lot of younger people also have high blood pressure. People at the age of 20-25, having stress, lack of sleep, overweight, poor diet in lifestyle can definitely have hypertension. Sometimes hypertension can be a side effect of other conditions like kidney problems or some other general things also.
What is the key message?
It is high time that the world needs to understand that Hypertension is indeed a serious issue and if someone has Hypertension, it is important not to be ignorant, but get yourself checked and take treatment.
Dr Ranjan Modi
According to the NFHS Survey, hypertension cases are increasing rapidly in Delhi. So, What are your views on this?
It’s true that almost one out of three individuals in most metro cities in India are suffering from Hypertension. The biggest reason for this is the present lifestyle, stress of work and Type A personalities. These all can lead to individuals being hypertensive at a younger age.
Do High Blood Pressure medicines or treatments cause side effects?
Hypertension has a lot of complications like heart diseases, stroke, and renal failure. These diseases are preventable and medications can help to prevent these complications.
The medication of hypertension does not have side effects, rather their benefits are far more and surpass any effect people can think of. I would really suggest not to think of side effects of these medications, rather think of the benefits of these hypertensive treatments and please continue the treatment to prevent any complications.
In our usual conversations we see people use terms such as “I feel like my blood pressure is rising” and there is no possible equipment available at the moment to check what to be done in such situations. So what do you think about this mentality of people?
Hypertension is asymptomatic so the usual common symptom with which an individual can present to you is headaches. In almost 50 percent of the patients, they may not have any symptoms.
So if you think your blood pressure is rising, please go to the nearest doctor, get your BP checked or get a blood pressure instrument in your house. And if you have consecutive three to four readings of blood pressure then please consult a cardiologist and get it treated.