16 May 2021
Hypertension or high blood pressure (BP) – commonly termed as the ‘silent killer’— poses a great risk for heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral arterial disease and aortic dissection, said Dr. Ankur Ahuja, MD, DM- Cardiology, Senior Consultant- Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali on the occasion of World Hypertension Day.
A host of factors – genetic, sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, faulty eating habits such as high salt-diet, drinking and smoking, are largely responsible for it. Hypertension largely goes undetected and silently progresses over the years before complications manifest and lead to its diagnosis, the doctor explains.
Dr. Ahuja advised that one should get their BP checked every few years, even if one is asymptomatic. Though the mercury sphygmomanometer is the most conventional form to check BP, owing to its deficiencies and safety issues, automatic BP monitoring has now become the most preferred choice. Further, 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring — multiple automated measurements over a day – is being increasingly recommended.
Following a healthy lifestyle can prevent and control hypertension to a large extent, said Dr. Ahuja. He suggested, one should consume a balanced diet which includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and lean proteins, especially fish. Cut down on salt intake, avoid smoking and drinking. One also needs to avoid processed meats and undertake aerobic exercises like walking, running, badminton, swimming. Keep a watch on your weight too. If changes to lifestyle still don’t yield the desired result, one needs to take medication as per doctor’s advice. Often multiple medications are required to control BP to an optimal level.