by MarshaneilSoumi D’ Rozario | 15th April, 2019
High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is a condition leading to high pressures in the walls of the blood vessels in the body. Undiagnosed and untreated, this leads to a variety of complications, mainly stroke, intracranial haemorrhage, heart attack and heart failure, vision loss and kidney failure. Normal pressures are less than 130/80. Majority of the patients do not have any symptoms due to Hypertension. That is why it is called a silent killer along with Diabetes.
The prevalence of Hypertension is rapidly rising in India, and one in every four adults in India ishypertensive. The more staggering statistic is that 12.5% of 18-25 years age group is hypertensive. This age group constitutes nearly 25% of our population. It equals nearly 3-4 crore young hypertensives in India. India not only has the greatest number of hypertensive patients in the world but also in the sheer percentage of the population, we rate among the highest prevalence in the world. Also, this does not take into account the 25-40 age group. Dr. Praveen Kulkarni, Cardiologist, Global Hospital, Mumbai, discusses Hypertension among youngsters.
• Unhealthy lifestyle: Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle is a leading cause for the surge in hypertension. Coupled with poor eating habits like high processed food intake, unhealthy Trans fatty acids rich food and high salt consumption, we understand the reason for this epidemic. Rising obesity in the young is also a big contributor to hypertension
It plays a major role in hypertension. Studies have documented a high level of “stress” hormones, which over time lead to hypertension. Another causative factor peculiar to modern society is inadequate sleep. People who sleep less than 6 hrs a day tend to develop high BP more often.
• Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA):
It is an entity resulting in frequent choking of the windpipe during sleep, andis a frequent contributor to hypertension.
• Smoking and alcoholism:
This is on the rise in the younger population, also leading to hypertension.
• All these factors, along with traditional risk factors like family history, diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney failure, etc., explains the reason for an explosion on young hypertensives.
Hypertension is a silent killer. Unlike the understanding of most, patients with Hypertension remain asymptomatic. Giddiness and headache is the presenting symptom initially. Chronic or long-standing hypertension rarely gives rise to any symptoms in itself. However, the more dreaded part is symptoms arising as complications of hypertension. This includes vision loss, stroke or paralysis; heart failure or heart attack and kidney failure.
Management and prevention:
• The first step in management is the diagnosis of hypertension: In the absence of symptoms, periodic BP monitoring remains the only way to a diagnosis. Once diagnosed, aggressive lifestyle changes remain the cornerstone for managing hypertension.
• Weight reduction:
target body mass index (BMI) of 18 to 25 kg/m2. This can result in an approximate reduction in systolic blood pressure of 5-20 points per 10 kilograms of weight
• Diet intake:
Adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Reduce saturated and total fat. This can be expected to drop systolic blood pressure by 8-14 points.
Reduce dietary sodium to less than 2,400 milligrams or about 1 teaspoon a day. Average Indian consumes three times more. The approximate reduction in systolic blood pressure would be 2-8 points.
• Physical activity: Brisk walking, at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week, can decrease systolic blood pressure by 4-9 points.
Limiting alcohol intake is expected to result in a reduction in systolic blood pressure by 2-4 points.
Medicines are usually initiated when lifestyle measures fail. Compliance with drugs has to be emphasized, as patients tend to skip medicines in the absence of any symptoms.
No age is now considered as safe for cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension. The adage of “Prevention is better than cure” was never more appropriate. Aggressive lifestyle modification, early diagnosis and treatment, will help prevent a health epidemic in these young patients of hypertension.
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