HYPERTENSION – BEWARE OF THE SILENT KILLER
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According to Indian Council of Medical Research, Hypertension is responsible for 57 per cent of all stroke deaths in India. Over the years, it has become a serious health problem in India that leads to 1.1 million deaths annually in the country.
Health Survey evaluated hypertension separately in men and women population. Survey reported greater prevalence of hypertension in men (27.4%), aged 15-49 years than women (20%) aged 15-54 years. This translates into 207 million people (men 112 million, women 95 million) with hypertension in India.
A person with hypertension may not notice any symptoms, hence called a ‘silent killer’. Regularly checking of blood pressure is important, as there will usually be no symptoms to make you aware of the condition. If the blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including:
- Severe headache
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Vision problem
- Irregular heartbeat
Blood pressure could be best regulated through diet and lifestyle adjustments. By living a healthy lifestyle, one can keep the blood pressure in a healthy range and lower the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Avoiding stress, or developing strategies for managing unavoidable stress, can help with blood pressure control. Using alcohol, drugs, smoking, and unhealthy eating to cope with stress will add to hypertensive problems. These should be avoided.
Healthy diet: Eating more fruits and vegetables and less fat is proven to help people to lower their blood pressure. Eating food that are low in salt and high in potassium can also lower the blood pressure.
Managing body weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk for high blood pressure; and weight reduction is normally followed by a fall in blood pressure. A healthy, balanced diet with a calorie intake that matches the individual’s size, gender, and activity level will help.
Physical activity: Physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight and lower the blood pressure. People should exercise on at least 5 days of the week. Walking, jogging, cycling or swimming are highly recommended.
No smoking: Smoking can raise blood pressure. Giving up smoking reduces the risk of hypertension, heart conditions, and other health issues.
Limited alcohol: Moderate to excessive alcohol consumption is linked to raise blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke. Avoid drinking too much alcohol.