With considerable increase in hypertension or high blood pressure among a number of people across the globe, May 17 is observed as the ‘World Hypertension Day’ to spread awareness. Around 46 per cent people in the world are suffering from hypertension which is really alarming.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure abnormally surges to undesirable levels. It is an increased force exerted by blood against the artery walls. While normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg, high blood pressure is defined as a level greater than 130/80 mm Hg or 140/90 mm Hg as per the guidelines. 

Silent killer

Hypertension is also called ‘the silent killer’ as there are no noticeable signs of it most of the time.  There is a significant risk of brain damage, heart, kidneys, and blood vessels ailments due to hypertension. Ignoring it for a long period of time could be fatal as it leads to stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. High blood pressure should be diagnosed early and treated appropriately.

Accurate measurement

As per a survey, one in every three Indian adults above the age of 60 is being affected by high blood pressure. It is pretty vital to regularly monitor blood pressure and undergo treatment to evade the risk of serious ailments. Monitoring blood pressure is important, but measuring it in an accurate way is also crucial. Accurate measurement of high blood pressure in people gives a clear picture of the cardiovascular risk. This is also very helpful for the people with borderline blood pressure who need proper diagnosis and treatment with right kind of medication. A small error in the measurement of blood pressure has the danger to mislabel someone as having high blood pressure and hence resulting in unnecessary medication.  

Warning symptoms 

Headaches: If someone is suffering from severe headache too often, it could be a symptom of high blood pressure.

Nose bleeding: If someone’s nose is bleeding, it could be a sign of high blood pressure.

Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath is also an indication of high blood pressure.

Irregular heartbeat: Hypertension patients are often found with irregular heartbeats due to uncontrolled pressure in which blood exerts force against walls of the artery.

Chest pain: Hypertension patients often suffer from chest pain due to shortness of breath.

Accurate measurement

When you are measuring your blood pressure, the correct sized blood pressure cuff needs to be put on the bare arm. An empty bladder is advisable as a full bladder can increase readings. One should avoid talking while measuring blood pressure and the arm should be supported at the level of the heart. Consuming food, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided for 30 minutes before measuring. While monitoring blood pressure at home, minimum of three readings should be recorded and the average of the last two readings should be considered for the reading.

Lifestyle changes

There is probably no cure of hypertension. However, lifestyle changes matter a lot to keep it in check. Quality of life should be enhanced by eating a well-balanced diet and limit salt. Alcohol consumption and smoking should be totally avoided. One should do regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and manage stress. Hypertension patients should take their medications properly and work together with their doctors to minimize the health risks.

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