World Hypertension Day is celebrated annually on May 17 to raise awareness about the disease. Read on for symptoms, risk factors and what one can to do keep high BP in check.
Although a serious medical condition, symptoms of hypertension or high blood pressure are often dismissed by people as routine. However, it is a 'silent killer,' affecting millions of people across the world. In India, one in four adults suffer from hypertension, while only 10 percent of those affected have their blood pressure under control, IANS reported, quoting the latest report by the Indian Council for Medical Research.
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.28 billion adults between 30-79 years of age across the world have hypertension. Of this, two-third comes from low- and middle-income countries.
The WHO also believes that an estimated 46 percent of adults with the disease are unaware that they have the condition.
To raise awareness about the disease and to educate people about it, World Hypertension Day is celebrated annually on May 17. The theme for this year is: ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer,’ which aims to generate awareness about the importance of measuring blood pressure accurately.
What are the common symptoms?
At most times, people do not immediately act on the symptoms of hypertension. For this reason, it is necessary to check blood pressure on a regular basis. Some of the symptoms can include early morning headaches, irregular heart rhythms, nosebleeds, buzzing in the ears and vision changes. Those with severe hypertension can have nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, chest pain, anxiety and muscle tremors.
The best way to detect and evade the risks of hypertension is to get the blood pressure measured by a health professional. Although individuals can measure their own blood pressure with the help of automated devices, a health professional will be able to assess the risk and associated conditions that come with hypertension.
Ignoring blood pressure issues can prove deadly. If not controlled at the right time, hypertension can damage vital organs, believe experts.
Hypertension can lead to cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke. It can also lead to heart failure, chronic kidney disease, arrhythmia and dementia.
“High blood pressure can affect your health and cause serious complications if it is left untreated," Hindustan Times quoted Dr Rajesh Budhiraja, Associate Director of Internal Medicine at the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad, as saying.
The WHO identifies unhealthy diets high on added salt, saturated fat and trans fats food, low physical activity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol and overweight or obesity as some of the modifiable risk factors.
Apart from this, individuals can have non-modifiable risk factors such as a family history of hypertension, age over 65 years and presence of other diseases such as diabetes or kidney ailments.
How can hypertension be reduced?
Although hypertension is a lifestyle disease, it can be managed, said experts. Affected individuals can reduce salt intake to less than 5g daily and have a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Cutting down on tobacco and alcohol can also reduce the risk of hypertension. Engaging in proper physical activity on a regular basis is key to preventing hypertension-related complications.
Those already affected by the disease can reduce and manage stress. Regularly checking and treating high blood pressure is very important.
“Hypertension can be treated with common inexpensive drugs but the problem is people themselves decide to stop the hypertension drugs thinking they are cured which can be dangerous,” IANS quoted Shuchin Bajaj, Founder-Director of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, as saying.