Shyama Rajagopal

World Hypertension Day is being observed today.

KOCHI: High calorie consumption and lack of exercise has brought about an explosion of vascular diseases in society. Hypertension is one of the most significant conditions that manifests into a lot of diseases like heart attacks, strokes and kidney disorders.

“It is a silent killer that affects about 40-50 per cent of the adult population in the age group of 30-70 years”, said cardiologist K. K. Haridas. People generally tend to ignore mild or borderline hypertension as there are usually no symptoms accompanying this condition.

The general statistics arrived on the basis of various studies by different institutions reveal that 3.5-4 per cent of people with hypertension have a risk for heart attacks, 3 per cent of people have a risk of stroke and a long-term hypertensive person has a risk of kidney disease.

As there are no clinical symptoms, people need to be more alert towards this condition, said Dr. Haridas.

The general perception is to avoid treatment for hypertension fearing other side effects, said cardiologist Johny Joseph.

While diet and exercise would keep the hypertension of some individuals under control, it is most important to keep a regular tab on it, he said. A disease without symptoms is generally left untreated until it is too late. This is what happens in case of hypertension. Awareness on the disease should be spread on a war-footing, feel doctors.

The World Hypertension Day being observed on May 17 with its theme on ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Blood Pressure' stresses the need to control both body weight and blood pressure, said cardiologist Saji Kuruttukulam.

“Obesity is no longer just a social embarrassment but a global epidemic affecting children, adolescents and adults”, he said.

Increasing urbanisation and sedentary lifestyles and eagerness to adopt Western ways have resulted in more Indians joining the 1.5 billion victims of high blood pressure across the world, he added. One of the earliest symptoms of a renal failure due to hypertension could be frequent urination at night, said nephrologist Abi Abraham. Control of blood pressure levels is more important in treating renal disease than control of blood sugar levels, Dr. Abraham said.

In fact, a renal failure could show lower blood sugar level too, he added.

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