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How Regularly Should You Check Your Blood Pressure; Top 10 Reasons Why You Should

Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions that people in India suffer from. World Hypertension Day 2018 is organised by World Hypertension League with the theme “Know your numbers”, which focuses on making people more aware about high blood pressure. High blood pressure is lifestyle disease, which is caused by living a poor lifestyle, eating unhealthy and salty foods in excess and lack of exercise to name a few. This World Hypertension Day, we speak to Dr. Vivek K. Nambiar to know the nitty-gritties of high blood pressure, why is the incidence of the disease so high in India, the major causative factors of high blood pressure and much more.

This World Hypertension Day, Dr Vivek gives the following reasons for checking your blood pressure regularly:

1. High blood pressure or hypertension is the top life-taking lifestyle disease. It is very important to know about this disease because it is a silent killer. Hypertension does not give any symptoms.

2. Conditions like obesity and high blood sugar will all be characterised by a few common symptoms like feeling tired and fatigued all the time, frequent urination, infections and lethargy. However, there are no symptoms of the condition.

3. The only way to be aware of your blood pressure levels is by getting it measured regularly. All adults should get their blood pressure regularly. Cardiologist Dr Sameer Gupta says, “A person who is not suffering from hypertension and is above the age of 20, should get blood pressure checked once in 2 years if his/her blood pressure is found to be on normal levels. If you have pre-hypertension or someone whose blood pressure is usually on the higher end of normal levels, get your blood pressure checked every year. Hypertension patients who are on medicines should check their blood pressure a couple of times in a month to keep a check on fluctuations.”

4. This is not just for old people, but also for adults and young people. Blood pressure problems are becoming more common among the young because of change in lifestyle, eating habits, exercise habits and not getting adequate sleep.

5. If the condition is recognised at a very late stage, it can cause acute restlessness, stroke, damage to kidneys and vision. Hypertension can thus lead to damage of one or more organs if a person leaves it untreated for too long.

6. Hypertension is very common in India because of genetic tendencies for the condition here. Our dietary habits, which include excess salt consumption, make us more prone to risks of hypertension. Also, sedentary lifestyle habits in rural areas make the condition a very common problem in India. Excess intake of alcohol and regular smoking can make people more prone to risks of hypertension.

7. If you get hypertension at a young age, the complications can increase as you age with the condition. It can affect your heart and increase risks of heart disease. Kidney is affected very badly because of high blood pressure. In fact, hypertension is the most common cause of kidney failure.

8. The goal of observing World Hypertension Day is to make public more aware of the fact that they need to get their blood pressure checked regularly. The day is meant to make people understand about the silent nature of hypertension. This is why, the theme of World Hypertension Day 2018 is to find out the readings of your blood pressure.

9. The idea is to take maximum number of people to smaller clinics or medical camps where they can measure their blood pressure effectively. We need to find more and more people with hypertension and guide them regarding treatment of the disease.

10. Hypertension is one of the most underdiagnosed entities with no symptoms.

(Dr Sameer Gupta is Interventional Cardiologist at Metro Hospital, Noida and MP Heart Clinic, Greater Kailash)

(Dr. Vivek K. Nambiar is Head of Division of Stroke, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi)