Telling signs that you might have hypertension
You could be big and muscular, or lean and fit, and seemingly in the pink of health, but there could still be a disorder lurking in your body. More and more cases of hidden high blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension are being detected now. In fact, hypertension is becoming an epidemic and the numbers are increasing by the day. It has become imperative to know how to reduce blood pressure levels. It is one of the most common non-communicable diseases in India, and it is the biggest single contributing risk factor to death worldwide.
The silent killer
More often than not hypertension gets detected very late. The main reason why it goes undetected in so many people is that it is an asymptomatic, silent disease. So unless one actively gets it checked, it stays hid-den. The symptoms too are usually vague — like dizziness, headache, nosebleeds, flushing, tension and fa-tigue — so they often get missed or attributed to other causes. Adding to problems is the tendency of most Indians to not seek medical care unless we fall sick seriously. Another reason for late detection is that the age of hypertensives is getting younger; people in their early 20s are now falling prey but they don’t suspect it, so they don’t bother to get tested.
Though this condition is usually silent, it is definitely not easy on the body. Undetected HBP is a ticking time bomb — because often by the time one finds out, an organ or two has been damaged. It damages the heart, accelerates hardening of the arteries and build-up of cholesterol-laden plaques on arterial walls, and can be lethal. It is also one of the most important risk factors for stroke, and can also damage other organs like kid-neys, and eyes.
Look out for…
• Severe and consistent headaches
• Unexplained fatigue
• Brain fog or confusion
• Blurred vision
• Shortness of breath
• Irregular heartbeat
• Feeling of pulsation in the neck or head
If any of these persist, it is best to go to a doctor. Even better to check your BP regularly, once every month at least, and maintain a record. If it comes consistently high, go to a doctor.
Know your BP
A blood pressure reading, given in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), has two numbers. The first, or upper num-ber measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure). The second, or lower, num-ber measures the pressure in the arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg and blood pressure consistently over 140/90 is considered hypertension.
And finally, do not ignore these three pillars – staying active, eating wholesome, nutritious foods and being happy. This troika should help you deal with any number of lifestyle diseases.
Hypertension is best prevented, and can actually be done with a few careful changes in our lifestyle and eating habits. It’s worth the effort to stay safe.
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