Only 40% Indians are aware that they suffer from hypertension

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The May Measurement Month is an effort to create awareness and encourage people to get checked at regular intervals

New Delhi, 08 May 2018: May 2018 has been declared as the Measurement Month worldwide by doctors to get more people to pay closer attention to their blood pressure and avoid the silent killer called hypertension. Hypertension is defined as sustained high blood pressure over five weeks or more. The condition shows no real symptoms and can lead to complications such as kidney failure, stroke and even blindness in the longer term.

India has about 200 million adults with hypertension. Of this, only 40% are aware of the condition and only 20% take measures to tackle it. In light of this, a worldwide public screening initiative was signed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with other stakeholders as part of the May Measurement Month.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “In India, it exerts substantial public health burden on cardiovascular health status and the health care system. Hypertension is estimated to account for 10.8 percent of all the deaths and 4.6% of DALYs in the country. The adult Hypertension prevalence has shown a drastic increase in the past three decades in urban as well as rural areas. It is important to get an annual checkup done after the age of 30 even if you have no family history of hypertension, are not diabetic or don’t have any other lifestyle-related disorder. For those in the high-risk category, a checkup is advised every month. Hypertension can be prevented provided a person makes necessary lifestyle changes right at the outset. The aim of May Measurement Month is to spread the message of prevention and encourage people across various age groups to check their blood pressure at regular intervals.”

Although rare, some symptoms of hypertension can include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes chest pain, palpitations, and nosebleeds.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. It adds to worries about health. It alters what you eat and how active you are, since a low-sodium diet and exercise are important ways to help keep blood pressure in check. Some people need medication and may need to take one or more pills a day, which can be a costly hassle.”
Some tips from HCFI.
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for your height.
• Exercise regularly.
• Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
• Limit sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams a day (one teaspoon of salt), and get plenty of potassium (at least 4,700 mg per day) from fruits and vegetables.
• Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
• Reduce stress.
• Monitor your blood pressure regularly, and work with your doctor to keep it in a healthy range.

Vahans (Vehicles) in Mythology

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In ancient era, knowledge was imparted through verses or songs or “geet” (Gita), folktales and short plays (puranas) and epics.

The depictions in puranas of Gods and Goddesses was probably to convey some meaning for examples, the vahans or vehicles used by Gods and Goddesses symbolize tendencies, which need to be controlled.

The deity or God denotes positive behavior. According to the Advait philosophy, the deity represents ‘you’ and the vahan denotes the control. Gods and their Vahans represent the path to control the animal tendencies and live a more positive life.

Following are a few examples.

Lord Ganesha rides a Mouse. Mouse in mythology denotes greed and Ganesha as ‘vighnaharta’, the one who removes obstacles. This means that one should learn to control greed to tackle obstacles in life.
Lord Shiva rides Nandi. The bull symbolizes uncontrolled sexual desires and the duo signifies that sexual desires must be first controlled to learn meditation.
Saraswati (the Goddesses of knowledge) sitting on a swan symbolizes viveka, which means that one must learn to control the power of discrimination or viveka to acquire knowledge. A swan can drink milk and leave water from a mixture of milk and water.
Indra (the one who has a complete control over the intellect) riding on the elephant Airavat symbolizes that for its development the intellect (Indra) requires control over masti and madness (elephant).
Durga (the perfect woman) riding a lion symbolizes that to become a perfect woman, she must learn to control agitation or aggression (lion).
Lakshmi (wealth) rides an owl. In mythology, owl denotes ignorance or foolishness. This means that to earn righteously, these owl-like characteristics within us must be controlled.
Lord Vishnu (the doer) riding the eagle or Garuda means controlling your desires to eat an unbalanced diet. Eagles are opportunistic predators i.e. they eat almost anything they can find.
Krishna riding five horses indicates the need to control our five senses. The five horses are the Indriyas or senses, such as sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
Peacock is the vehicle of Kartikeya; it represents conquest of one’s ego or pride (vanity).
The vehicle of Goddess Kali is a black goat. Agni rides Mesha, a ram. Kubera, the God of wealth, also has a ram as his vehicle. A ram is an un-castrated adult male sheep. Goat also signifies uncontrolled sexual desires but to a lesser extent than the bull.
Yamraj rides a buffalo, which is known for its rampant destruction. Lord Yama or Yamraja is referred to as the God of death. He is the twin brother of Dharma Raja, the God of justice. Justice can be done only if one has control over anger and aggressive behavior.
In mythology, apart from Vahans, animals are also shown to be sacrificed, which means to kill the animal tendency within ourselves. In Kali Pooja, a buffalo is sacrificed, which again means that in extreme situations, you may need to kill your ego or anger.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA