Lifestyle changes are a must to prevent hypertension irrespective of guidelines indicating threshold levels

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Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke and other complications

New Delhi, 13 July 2018: If the new blood pressure (BP) (hypertension) guidelines are adopted, they could increase the number of people identified as having the condition and being recommended for drug treatment, as per a new study. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently released guideline recommendations for hypertension with lower blood pressure values used to define elevated blood pressure, and lower treatment thresholds, than those recommended in current guidelines.

High BP should be treated earlier with lifestyle changes and in some patients with medication – at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90 – based on new ACC/AHA guidelines for the detection, prevention, management and treatment of this condition.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, organ malfunction, vision loss, metabolic syndrome and memory problems. The new guidelines mean that there will be more people diagnosed with hypertension. It is likely to bring an additional 15% to 20% of the Indian population in the ambit of abnormal blood pressure, including the younger generation. The guidelines are encouraging because people would start making changes to their lifestyle and diet much earlier than they would have otherwise. Those with risk factors will also get diagnosed at an early stage and take appropriate measures to control their blood pressure.”

To improve blood pressure control and reduce cardiovascular disease risk in these patients, a small percentage of them will be asked to take medications while the majority will be recommended non-pharmacological interventions with healthy lifestyle changes.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, 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.