There are multiple modifiable risk factors that contribute to the cause of hypertension including smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high salt intake and stress.
Hypertension is one of the leading causes of death globally each year, accounting for up to 30 per cent of myocardial infarctions. The theme of World Hypertension Day 2022 is "Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control it, Live Longer." The theme focusses on combatting low awareness rates worldwide, especially in low to middle-income areas with accurate blood pressure measurement methods.
On this day, leading Indian doctors have highlighted the increasing prevalence of hypertension among people as well as ways to manage the condition and to keep your heart healthy.
Risk factors for hypertension
In the present times when most of us are living life like packed under a pressure cooker, lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, etc., are on the rise, stated Dr Ajay Agarwal, Director & HOD - Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Noida.
He noted that hypertension is one of the most common diseases that has large morbidity and is a high risk for cardiovascular mortality in the form of heart attack and brain stroke.
According to Dr Agarwal, there are multiple risk factors for hypertension, some are modifiable, and some are non-modifiable.
He said, "Non modifiable risk factors are genetic and other causes of secondary hypertension that are because of neurohormonal and biochemical factors. However, there are multiple modifiable risk factors which contribute to the cause of hypertension like smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high salt intake and stress."
Diagnosis of hypertension
Dr. RVS Bhalla, Director and HOD of Internal Medicine Department, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, said, "Hypertension should only be diagnosed from a single blood pressure reading if the measurement is 180/110 mm Hg or higher with evidence of cardiovascular disease requiring immediate treatment.
Otherwise, the patient should be reassessed every one to four weeks to confirm blood pressure elevations."
He added, "After diagnosing hypertension, further assessment is recommended to identify cardiovascular risk factors and signs of hypertension-mediated organ damage. The cardiovascular risk factors of diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia, obesity, or nicotine use affect one-half of people with hypertension. In addition to history and physical examination, a cost-effective assessment includes serum chemistry levels, fasting glucose level, fasting lipid panel, urinalysis, and electrocardiography.
Cardiovascular risk should be estimated using a calculator such as the Framingham Risk. Other studies, such as echocardiography, renal artery evaluation, or brain imaging, are not routinely recommended."
Lifestyle modifications essential for managing hypertension
According to Dr. Bhalla, lifestyle modifications are essential for managing hypertension, and optimal treatment starts with diet and activity.
"Dietary changes include salt reduction, moderation of alcohol consumption, and a diet high in vegetables and fruit that is low in added sugars and saturated fats (e.g., DASH diet). Activity recommendations include aerobic and resistance exercises for at least 30 minutes," he added.
If you have hypertension, smoking cessation and active lifestyle can help decrease your blood pressure, asserted Dr Agarwal.
He added, "Low salt intake by simply avoiding processed food, avoiding table salt can decrease BP. Yoga, meditation are also great stress busters which can help to decrease blood pressure."
So, if you're a high blood pressure patient, you need to start building these 3 habits to live a healthier life:
Decrease salt intake
Do some aerobic exercises or walk 10,000 steps daily.
BDST: 1255 HRS, MAY 17, 2022