Hypertension is ranked as the third biggest risk factor for heart disease in India. As per World Health Organisation (WHO), it is directly responsible for 57% of all stroke deaths and 24% of all coronary heart disease deaths in the country. As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), about 9% women and 14% men falling in the age bracket of 15-49 years, suffer from hypertension nationally.
“Hypertension can cause significant damage to women during pregnancy, regardless whether the patient is suffering from high blood pressure during the gestation period or has a history of chronic hypertension. Some of the common hypertension disorders related to pregnancy include gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia, which may lead to disastrous consequences, including risking the lives of the mother and child,” said Dr. Ranjana Becon, Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.Moreover, the rising stress”>stress levels in the life of youngsters is compounded with the problems in the change in their food habits with potato wafers, noodles and other such items being consumed regularly by them which have high sodium or salt content. “One way to combat hypertension is to reduce salt intake and lower stress”>stress levels in life. There should be free counseling centers set up by the government. There should also be special government clinics to give necessary medical help to such people. People should also go for regular health check-up” said Dr. Dharminder Nagar, MD- Paras Healthcare.
Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” and person with hypertension may not notice any symptoms. While undetected, hypertension can cause damage to the cardiovascular system and internal organs, such as the kidneys.
“A number of risk factors increase the chances of having hypertension. Firstly, it is the age. People aged over 60 years are at a greater risk of developing hypertension, as with age, blood pressure can increase steadily making the arteries stiffer and narrower due to plaque build-up. Obesity is another risk factor of hypertension. Regular consumption of large amounts of salt can increase a person’s blood pressure, as does smoking tobacco,” said Dr. Bharat Kukreti, Associate Director- Interventional Cardiology, Paras Hospitals Gurgaon.
It is advisable to focus on the lifestyle risk factors of hypertension that you can change.
· Limit the amount of alcohol
Alcohol can be good for health if consumed in moderation. However, having it in excess can raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
· Quit smoking
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal.
· Balanced diet
Eating more fruits and vegetables along with less fat is recommended for people who are at a risk of high blood pressure. Whole-grains, high-fiber foods, omega-3-rich fish, non-tropical vegetable oils like olive oil, skinless poultry, low-fat dairy products, etc should be included in the diet.
· Manage body weight
Hypertension is closely related to obesity and excess body weight. Weight reduction is crucial for overweight people and people with normal weight should make sure that do not add on any extra weight. Talk with your doctor about the best weight for you.
· Exercise regularly
Physical activity is extremely vital to prevent the chances of hypertension. The more exercise you indulge in, the better it is, but even a little bit can help control blood pressure. Moderate exercise for about 30 minutes three times a week is a good start.
· Reduce stress”>stress
Chronic stress”>stress may contribute to high blood pressure. Take some time out for daily meditation or relaxation activities and you can eliminate or reduce stress”>stress to a great extent.
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