World Hypertension Day: Raising Awareness About the “Silent Killer”
World Hypertension Day, observed every year on May 17, aims to raise awareness about high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is often called the “silent killer” due to its subtle nature. High blood pressure affects more than 1.3 billion people worldwide and is a global public health concern. In this article, Dr. Preet Pal Thakur, Co-Founder of Glamyo Health, explains what high blood pressure is, why it’s called the silent killer, its risk factors, complications, and how to manage it through lifestyle changes.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a medical condition characterized by persistently elevated blood pressure levels above the normal range. It affects your body’s arteries and often causes no symptoms. When you have high blood pressure, the force of the blood against the artery walls is always stronger.
Why is it called the silent killer?
High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it usually does not show any noticeable symptoms until complications arise. Many individuals may be unaware of their high blood pressure, emphasizing the need for regular blood pressure monitoring, especially among high-risk individuals.
Risk factors for high blood pressure
Many risk factors contribute to the development of high blood pressure. Some of them are age, family history, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco consumption, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, and underlying health conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep apnea.
Complications due to high blood pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to serious complications and threaten your health. Effective management of blood pressure levels is important to reduce the risk of these complications, which include heart disease, paralysis, kidney disease, and other heart conditions such as coronary heart disease and aortic disease.
How to manage high blood pressure through lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes play an important role in preventing and managing high blood pressure. Regular physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet, reducing sodium intake, limiting alcohol consumption, stopping smoking, and managing stress are some lifestyle changes one could make.
Blood pressure guidelines
The American Heart Association and other organizations recommend a blood pressure goal of less than 120/80 mmHg for most adults. However, target values may vary depending on a person’s age, overall health, and the presence of other medical conditions.
Awareness and screening
Raising awareness about high blood pressure is essential for better early detection and treatment. Regular blood pressure checks are especially important for people over the age of 40 and those with known risk factors. Community initiatives, educational campaigns, and regular health check-ups can contribute to early identification and intervention.
Importance of regular monitoring
Regular monitoring of blood pressure is important to ensure effective management. This can be done at home using validated blood pressure monitors or through regular visits to healthcare professionals. Monitoring allows for timely changes in treatment plans and helps individuals monitor their progress toward blood pressure goals.
Hypertension is a widespread health condition that requires attention, awareness, and management. By understanding the facts and figures surrounding high blood pressure, recognizing risk factors, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, individuals can take steps to prevent and effectively manage high blood pressure.
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