By – Dr. Varun Bansal, Consultant, Cardiology and Cardio Thoracic Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood against the arteries. Many studies have already indicated that uncontrolled blood pressure puts the patient at risk of stroke, heart diseases, and kidney diseases and affects almost all the organs in the body. As per 2017 AHA guidelines regarding high blood pressure, stage 1 hypertension is when blood pressure is above 130/80 mm Hg, and stage 2 hypertension is blood pressure more than 140/90 mm Hg.
The NFHS (National Family Health Survey) – 5 reported ‘among the 22 States & UTs, around a quarter of the male population on average is estimated to be having elevated blood pressure or taking medication to control it’. Another not so old study published in Indian Heart Journal predicted hypertension prevalence to increase to 44% by the year 2030.
Most of the times, high blood pressure has no signs or symptoms and is often termed as ‘silent killer’.
There are many ways how one can keep a check on his/her blood pressure:
1. Assess family history and diagnose early: If someone has a family history of hypertension makes one at more risk to develop the same. It is best to keep a check on lifestyle habits and check early to prevent any complications.
2. Lifestyle modifications and body weight control: Obesity is a major risk factor for hypertension and one should be very careful about body weight and lifestyle habits so that hypertension can be prevented.
3. Low salt diet: High salt foods are known to cause consistently high blood pressure levels. WHO recommends salt intake of less than 5 grams per day for an adult to keep the blood pressure in check.
4. Regular exercise: Regular exercise increases blood flow to end arteries of the body and thus helps in control of hypertension.
5. Reduce stress: Long term stress is known to contribute to high blood pressure and stress relief helps in control of hypertension.
By above ways, one can try and control hypertension without medications; however medications – as advised by a medical practitioner might be essential in controlling hypertension and preventing long term effects and complications.