Blood pressure (BP) is an essential metric of a person’s overall health status. When blood pressure readings rise above the normal range, it is clinically referred to as Hypertension. Hypertension can be classified based on blood pressure readings as follows:
- Blood pressure equal to or less than 120/80 mmHg – Normal,
- 120-130 mm Hg systolic and 80-90mmHg Diastolic- Prehypertension or Stage 1 Hypertension.
- Blood pressure equal to and above 140/90mmHg is considered very high and requires immediate attention.
There are two clinical types of Hypertension:
- Primary/ Essential Hypertension – Primary Hypertension occurs due to hereditary or genetic predisposition coupled with lifestyle choices.
- Secondary Hypertension- Secondary Hypertension may be due to clinical disease states, e.g., such as chronic kidney disease or adverse effects of drugs.
Hypertension is highly prevalent in India. Statistics show that 1 in every 3 adults is prone to develop Hypertension within their lifetime. Also, 1 in every 8 young adults between the age of 20-40 years has the propensity to develop Hypertension.
Thus keeping the above in mind, getting your blood pressure checked regularly is of utmost importance.
Unchecked Hypertension can affect the body in 2 ways. One scenario is where it affects the arteries causing microvascular damage, resulting in heart attacks and strokes. The second scenario is where it affects the organs directly to cause macro-vascular end-organ damage such as hypertensive cardiomyopathy (heart disease), hypertensive nephropathy (kidney disease), and hypertensive retinopathy (retina damage in eyes).
Interestingly, 70% of patients have no or minimal symptoms during early Hypertension. Hence regular health check-ups are vital. Early Hypertension has minimal symptoms such as end of day non-specific headaches, visual disturbances, excessive fatigue and unexplained tiredness. Later, one may start showing symptoms such as breathlessness on exertion, excessive urination at night and leg swelling.
Excessive salt consumption has a direct correlation with raised blood pressure. Thus all hypertensive patients are advised to consume a low salt diet. Tea and coffee contain caffeine which can cause blood pressure to rise temporarily for 1-2 hours post-consumption. Thus it is advised to limit consumption to max 2 caffeinated drinks per day.
Several lifestyle measures can be adopted to prevent and control Hypertension.
- Weight reduction to maintain BMI below 25 kg/m2.
- DASH diet (Dietary advice to stop Hypertension)- Increasing fresh fruits, vegetables and dietary fibre intake; reducing the consumption of foods rich in trans fats/saturated fats and full-fat dairy products.
- Salt restriction- To limit intake of salt to less than 5 gm per head per day.
- Regular aerobic exercises such as 30 minutes of brisk walking or jogging
- Limiting alcohol intake to a maximum of two units per day for men and 1 unit per day for women. Avoid binge drinking.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid stressful lifestyle choices.
- Maintain a healthy life balance.
As mentioned earlier, please do check your blood pressure regularly. On dhani, get free doctor consultations for 30 days and a flat 50% discount on prescribed medicines with free home delivery. Download dhani today.