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World Hypertension Day: “Not many are aware, nose bleeds can be devastating and lead to ICU admissions” – Times of India

Hypertension is a silent killer and billions of people all over the globe are living with the disease. Many are controlling it poorly and are at the risk of major cardiovascular disease. This year on World Hypertension Day, doctors want to emphasize the importance of monitoring blood pressure. Hypertension is the biggest risk factor for heart diseases, stroke, kidney complications and premature death. Dr Honey Savla, Consultant Internal Medicine, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central recommends everyone who is 35 and above to regularly monitor their blood pressure.

We all know about headache, giddiness, chest pain and restlessness as typical signs of hypertension but we are unaware of some lesser known signs of high blood pressure like nose bleeds which can be devastating and can call for ICU admission, adds Dr Salva. There are some lesser known signs like breathlessness and edema over feet which also occur in cases of high blood pressure. Intractable nausea and vomiting can be indicative of undiagnosed high blood pressure and brings one to the outpatient department often. Certain signs like black spots in the vision and sudden onset one sided decrease in vision can be a telltale sign and shouldn’t be missed.

Talking about the shift in the age group for most of the non communicable diseases, Dr Salva says hypertension is no exception. “Now a days we seen individuals in the age group of 30 to 40 who have high blood pressure and deserve treatment for the same. Simultaneously there is increase in complications of hypertension i.e. stroke and myocardial infarction ,even kidney failure in age group of 40 to 50 which was not seen in the last decade.”

Hypertension is a lifestyle disease but at the same time we can’t deny the genetic component to it. Amongst the individual factors, stress in day to day life, working beyond one’s capacity, resorting to drugs to relieve stress or as peer pressure and above all poor eating habits have led to high blood pressure in younger ones.

There are certain measures by which one can control their risks to hypertension. Dr. Sanjay Mittal Director- Clinical and Preventive Cardiology , Heart Institute, Medanta Hospital, Gurugram recommends the following:

Learn to have patience and to control anger- Some people who tend to lose their patience easily, are advised to follow yoga and meditation.

Follow de stressing activities- Stress and anxiety temporarily increases the blood pressure which may become a long term problem if not given due attention. People are advised to follow laughter therapy and clapping which helps them to distract, relieve pain and stress and improve their sense of living.

Improving sleep cycle- The decreased sleep causes increased risks factors of high blood sugar levels and increasing the risks/ worsening blood sugar levels. Our body releases hormones during sleep that helps repair cells and control the body’s use of energy. The unhealthy sleep routine, increased screen time lead to energy consumption which eventually make people feel feeling drowsy in the day time. The lack of sleep can cause confusion, anxiety, overeating and diabetic like conditions which increases the risk to hypertension by three fold. People should avoid sleeping during the day, stay in as much bright light during the day time, avoid caffeine at night, maintain a routine and avoid alcohol consumption.

Maintaining healthy weight- It has been observed that fat around the belly (pear shaped body) refers to increased insulin resistance which further gets converted into hypertension. People should control their sugar intake and avoid sweets, sugary drinks, and red meats.

Staying fit and regular exercise- There are certain myths associated with people with high blood pressure, that they should avoid physical activities as it might spike their BP which is not true. Physical activities help in controlling high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), it also helps manage weight, strengthen the heart and lowers stress level. People with high blood pressure can take advice from their trainer and doctor to follow physical activities which can cause no harm.

Dietary approach to control high BP, which in other words, is known as Dash diet for hypertension– People should follow a diet rich in citrus and high fibre fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy foods. The diet The DASH diet includes eating more than usual 3 times in various food groups including grains, vegetables, fruits, Low-fat or fat-free dairy products, Meat, poultry, and fish

Keep a check on salt intake– Excessive salt intake causes hypertension. The excessive salt makes the body hold onto water. If someone eats too much salt, the extra water in the blood causes extra pressure on the blood vessel walls, raising your blood pressure. People can consume potassium rich salt, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure.

Environmental factors –The environmental factors can significantly increase arterial blood pressure (BP) including cold temperature, high altitude, loud noises, and ambient air pollutants. It is important for people to understand the triggers and to stay at a distance from them.

Low fat and controlled carbohydrates intake- People tend to focus on controlling their fat intake and sometimes ignore the carb intake. Both high and low percentages of carbohydrate diets were associated with increased risk of new-onset hypertension. A controlled low carb diet helps in improving insulin resistance, promoting the loss of sodium in the urine which eventually improves the blood pressure.

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