Hypertension, the silent killer

Not just medication but a change in lifestyle can save you the risk of heart attacks and stroke caused by hypertension

Every minute 3 people die, somewhere in India, because of cardiovascular diseases, namely heart attack and stroke* The sad part is – they need not die.

According to a paper published in Current Science journal in 2009 hypertension or High Blood pressure is responsible for 57% of all stroke deaths and 24% of all deaths due to heart attack.

Tragically, in majority of cases , patients are unaware of their high blood pressure. Hypertension is called the silent killer .If not treated properly, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and eye complications.

How to prevent hypertension?

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

At individual level, you can change your lifestyle to mitigate hypertension risk , and subsequent complication. Get your blood pressure checked at least once in six months, if you are not a hypertensive. If you are a known hypertensive, you need more frequent checks. Check if you are overweight , diabetic, have a family history of heart attack, stroke, hypertension or sudden death.

Your chance of having hypertension is increased if you have an abnormal Lipid profile or/and you are a smoker as well. It is important to check since, most of the times you may not get any symptoms.

You may ask :" What can I do in addition to taking medicines if I am an hypertensive?"

The answer is , reduce your weight, cut down on your salt intake-No additional table salt, no pickles, mixtures, salted groundnuts, Cashew nuts, No alcohol , No smoking. Have a brisk walk 45 minutes at least 4 times a week. Yoga and meditation are known to help hypertensives. Regular review by your Doctor is invaluable. .

Also remember, that it is not only longevity, which may be affected, but quality of life that is at risk.

*Gaziano, T., Reddy, K. S., Paccaud, F., Horton, S. and Chaturvedi,V., Cardiovascular disease. In Disease Control Priorities in Developing World (eds Jamison, D. T. et al.), Oxford UniversityPress, Oxford, 2006, pp. 645-662 "1.5 million people die because of cardiovascular diseases"

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