We often neglect hypertension as just a minor headache or high blood pressure but it can lead to serious health crisis if not treated at the right time. World Hypertension Day is a great opportunity to get a basic check on our health status, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hypertension affects more than 30 per cent of the adult population worldwide, which is more than one billion people around the world.
The theme of World Hypertension Day 2021 is ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.‘
What is Hypertension?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), ”Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. Each time the heartbeats, it pumps blood into the vessels. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.”
Importance of controlling Hypertension
Dr Arun Das from BK Hospital Tezpur suggests that patients with diabetes, hypertension and heart problems may have more severe symptoms and complications once infected with COVID-19.
He said, “One of the leading causes of hypertension within all ages is the pandemic itself. This is due to lack of outdoor exercises, increased stress levels and unhealthy dietary pattern.”
“It is of utmost importance to manage and control BP levels during this time at regular intervals. If found elevated, it should be treated and efforts should be made to maintain it within the normal range,” he added.
Here’s what he recommends on managing Hypertension:
Exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn helps to control blood pressure. However, it is important to keep exercising on a regular basis.
DASH (Dietary approach to stop hypertension)
The dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH) pattern of food is one of the effective ways to control hypertension. DASH diet consists of whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, low-fat dairy products, lean meat and fish, and low salt.
Do not stop medications
Medicines are a must with a healthy lifestyle and diet for patients with hypertension. Medicines need to be increased stepwise to keep the blood pressure within range. Patients should not stop taking medicines once the level gets normal otherwise it may invariably return to the previous level. Therefore prescribed blood pressure medicines should not be lowered or stopped without your physician’s advice.
Avoid smoking and drinking
Drinking too much alcohol can elevate your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. So, you must avoid smoking and drinking to manage hypertension.