Around 1.13 billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension, which is more common among men than women. In reality, only 1 in 5 people have it under control, while others still face the risk of complications.
Therefore educating the public and increasing awareness of hypertension, the main objectives of World Hypertension Day, acquires more relevance. The day is celebrated annually on May 17 and India is also proud of the fact that Yoga, a great weapon to curb this killer, is getting accepted worldwide.
The theme for World Hypertension Day 2022 is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”.
Controlling Blood Pressure
Hypertension also known as high blood pressure is a silent killer because there are huge chances of it getting sidelined as work pressure or as an effect of exertion, and usually there are no noticeable symptoms also.
In worst cases high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, heart failure, aneurysm, stroke, memory problems or dementia. Monitoring blood pressure regularly is the key to evade risk of serious illnesses. Contrary to old times, recently young people are increasingly diagnosed with hypertension.
If proper treatment is taken, immediately after noticing symptoms such as severe headache, blurring vision, breathing difficulty especially after exertion, chest discomfort, and easy fatigability, blood pressure can be controlled.
Hypertension in India
A research on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website said, “About 33% urban and 25% rural Indians are hypertensive. Of these, 25% rural and 42% urban Indians are aware of their hypertensive status.”
“ Only 25% rural and 38% of urban Indians are being treated for hypertension. One-tenth of rural and one-fifth of urban Indian hypertensive population have their BP under control,” it said.
The data from the GBD (Global Burden of Disease) study of 2016 said that hypertension led to 1.63 million deaths in India in the year 2016 alone. Based on results from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – 4, there was a prevalence of 8.8% for females and 13.6% for males in the age group 15-49 years in 2015.
The India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) is being implemented with its prime focus on controlling high blood pressure. The project has been initiated in 83 districts of 18 states and has registered 1.4 million patients across the country.
As part of the National Action Plan and Monitoring Framework for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), there is a target to reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by 10% by 2020.
Yoga and lifestyle changes can control Blood pressure
Blood pressure should be less than 140/90 mmHg for the general population and for those with hypertension without any other complications. For those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, it should be less than 130/80 mmHg.
Yoga and relaxation exercises have been successful in checking high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. The power of Yoga to control hypertension has been evident in experiment-trials by government and private health institutes. Yogic therapy not only reduces high blood pressure, but also reduces serum cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, blood glucose, and body weight.
Numerous asanas, to name a few, Tadasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Bhujangasan and Shavasan are beneficial in this respect. Pranayama is another important tool of Yoga that can do wonders in controlling hypertension, but serious practice of Pranayama is advisable only under guidance of an expert and after study of all the associated restrictions that comes along with practice.
The International Yoga Day is to be celebrated on 21 June and to mark the countdown to the day, the Ministry of Ayush has been conducting Yoga demonstrations as part of Yoga Utsav.
Besides Yoga, using medications as prescribed and making lifestyle changes can control blood pressure. Adhering to a well-balanced diet that’s low in salt, limited use of alcohol and quitting smoking can help in reducing blood pressure and associated heart disease. Regular physical activity is a must to get any desired results.