Age is a significant risk factor in developing hypertension

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Precaution and prevention must happen from an early age to avoid complications later

New Delhi, 6 March 2019: A recent study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, has indicated that older Indians living in cities are more likely to suffer from hypertension when compared to their rural counterparts. It indicates that the underlying causes in this ‘independent’ urban effect on hypertension may be due to some other city-specific stress such as social insecurity and environmental pollutants including noise.

Approximately 44% of the older Indians living in the cities suffered from hypertension, whereas its prevalence was 35% among their rural counterparts. Increasing age is one of the major risk factors for developing hypertension.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Old age and obesity are two major risk factors for hypertension. People with resistant hypertension have a high cardiovascular risk. The Indian diet is high in sodium and our salt consumption is one of the biggest contributing factors for non-communicable diseases. Excessive salt over time can cause irreparable damage to the kidneys as well. High salt intake also causes a rise in blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension. High blood pressure can harden the arteries, further decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen. An impairment in the flow of oxygen, to an organ such as your face, can cause your skin to dry and wrinkles faster which can make one look less youthful- not to mention the other health effects.”

Hypertension generally doesn’t cause any outward signs or symptoms. Yet it silently damages blood vessels, the heart, kidneys, and other organs. It isn’t a disease. It is a sign that something is wrong in the body.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief 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

  • Reduce salt intake as much as possible, lower the better. Add only normal amounts of salt when cooking or use alternatives to salt.
  • Preserved and packaged foods have maximum salt; reduce them as much as possible
  • Read the labels when shopping. Look for lower sodium in cereals, crackers, pasta sauces, canned vegetables, or any foods with low-salt options. Or, eat less processed and packaged foods.
  • Ask about salt added to food, especially at restaurants. Most restaurant chefs will omit salt when requested.
  • Remember the word ‘Na’, which is present in many drugs, soda etc.
  • Nothing can be preserved without adding salt to it, therefore beware of processed and frozen fruits.
  • Remember that it takes three months of a salt-free diet to get adjusted to it and ultimately start liking it.

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.

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