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.

Number of people with hypertension in India shows significant increase in the last one year

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A majority with the condition are unaware of it

New Delhi, 10 May 2018: According to a preventive health programme conducted by a union health ministry, around 1 of every 8 people in India have high blood pressure. The results were drawn after screening about 22.5 million adults across 100 districts in India in 2017. The figures have increased significantly from the 1 in every 11 indicated by the National Family Health Survey in 2015/16. This indicates an urgent need for people to change their current lifestyles for achieving better health outcomes.

What is alarming is the fact that the screened population belongs to the rural pockets of India, where hypertension has so far not been reported as a significant health concern. The health ministry programme defines high blood pressure as a reading of more 140/90 mmHg; globally, even a reading of 130 is considered high blood pressure.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Many people with hypertension are not aware of the condition and therefore, the risk of associated long-term health complications such as heart disease. Treatment without a proper and timely screening cannot serve any purpose. In the absence of proper lifestyle changes, people can even become dependent on medication for life. 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.”

Perhaps because of all the ways hypertension interferes with health, the average life span for people with it is five years shorter than it is for those with normal blood pressure.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “High blood pressure is not a disease but a sign that something is wrong in the body. In some people with hypertension, the culprit is a narrowing of the arteries supplying the kidneys (renal artery stenosis), or an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or adrenal glands (aldosteronism). When these are treated, blood pressure drops back to normal. More often, though, doctors find no underlying cause for high blood pressure. This condition is called essential hypertension.”

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.

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.

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