Making necessary lifestyle changes is mandatory to keep hypertension at bay, says M. Sai Gopal

One can pop any number of pills to control hypertension, but if medicines are not backed up by mandatory lifestyle changes, then the patients will continue to be in the high risk group. They stand the risk of succumbing to three most common life threatening ailments including cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, kidney failure and brain stroke, which are linked to this silent killer.

According to doctors, if one keeps hypertension under control, then the risk of having a stroke is reduced by 35 to 40 per cent.

A host of estimates and studies suggest that nearly 25 per cent of heart patients and 20 per cent of patients with end-state kidney disease have uncontrolled hypertension.

Among the general population in India, the prevalence of blood pressure is anywhere between 25 and 30 per cent.

The challenging aspect of hypertension is its silent nature.

“Hypertension does not present symptoms but is a major risk factor for heart ailments, kidney failures and strokes.

Monitoring and management by making necessary lifestyle changes is mandatory. Salt intake should be reduced,” says professor, Nephrology, Gandhi Hospital, Dr. Pradeep Deshpande.

Physicians say that salt makes kidneys hold more water in the body and the water thus stored raises blood pressure and impacts kidneys, heart and brain. Salt has sodium, which directly acts on the ability of kidney to remove water from the body resulting in the accumulation of more water.

An authority on hypertension, Dr. Venkat S. Ram points out that the Indian trend on blood pressure is very different.

“Hypertension is on the decline worldwide while in India the cases are on the rise. Major contributor for such a scenario is undiagnosed, uncontrolled and untreated blood pressure.

A heart attack in the middle of the night can be due to hypertension and hence there is a need to diagnose blood pressure early and take treatment aggressively,” he says.

Rich diet

So apart from taking medicines, “Our diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat milk and milk products, whole grains, potassium and fish oil.

In fact, naturally occurring potassium lessens the impact of sodium and it should be a part of our diet,” Dr. Deshpande points out.

Apart from diet, other modifications needed include weight control, moderate exercise, reducing alcohol, giving up smoking and controlling caffeine consumption.

“Normal persons can have blood pressure reading of 140 by 90 while diabetics should have a reading below 130 by 80,” he said.

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