High blood pressure remains the number one cause of preventable death worldwide. Recognizing the early signs of high blood pressure is extremely important in current times as effective management can reduce the risk of Covid-19 complications. World Hypertension Day, celebrated on May 17 annually, was launched by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) and the theme for 2021 is Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.
To create awareness around the recognition and treatment of high blood pressure, ISH has also launched the May Measurement Month, a global campaign to raise awareness of the need to get your blood pressure checked, aiming to test one million people across the globe.
Hypertension, a silent killer
High blood pressure or hypertension can damage your heart, eyes, kidneys, brain and blood vessels, if left untreated. It’s known as a silent killer because, quite often, one may be unaware that they suffer from it as there are no obvious symptoms. Hypertension develops gradually over time, putting one at risk of heart disease and stroke, among other things.
What the figures say
According to the Great Indian Blood Pressure survey of 2016, there is a high prevalence of hypertension, with almost one in every three Indian adults — or or 234 million — affected. Among them, only 51.4 percent were aware of their disease status. Of those who were aware, around 81.1 percent were on medication. According to a 2014 study, about 33 percent urban and 25 percent rural Indians are hypertensive. Globally, an estimated 26 percent of the world’s population (972 million people) has hypertension, and this is expected to go up to 29 percent by 2025. Because many people feel fine, they don’t get their blood pressure checked.
Understanding your BP reading
It’s important to keep your BP numbers in the healthy range. When you measure your blood pressure, it’s expressed as a fraction with two numbers — one on top (systolic) and one on the bottom (diastolic), for example, 120/80 mm Hg. The top number, systolic, refers to the pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. The bottom number, diastolic, refers to your blood pressure between beats. Both numbers are equally important in determining the health of your heart.
It’s important to note that the Normal BP Readings for digital BP monitoring at home is 135/85 mm Hg and to diagnose a person as hypertensive the readings should be consistently higher than 135/85 mm Hg for a week.
Regular monitoring of blood pressure at home also proves useful when it comes to dealing with masked or white-coat hypertension. Masked hypertension is associated with normal BP at the clinic or office and elevated outside of it, which may be ambulatory daytime readings or at home. Meanwhile, white-coat hypertension is experienced as frequent fluctuations and higher BP spikes in clinical settings, which may be more than usual. According to research, the condition nearly always leads to sustained high blood pressure detection. Treatment may not immediately involve medication and lifestyle modifications are usually recommended. While masked hypertension can lead to cardiovascular risk in both untreated and treated subjects, white-coat hypertension is considered a cardiovascular risk factor as well.
Recognizing the symptoms of a hypertensive crisis
Learn to recognize the symptoms of a hypertensive crisis in oneself and others, so that medical assistance can be provided at the earliest. Ignoring the signs can lead to damage to one’s organs and cause other life-threatening complications. Symptoms of a hypertensive crisis include:
Health risks of hypertension
High blood pressure raises your risk of heart attack and stroke, by damaging the walls of your arteries, making them susceptible to deposits of plaque that may lead to blood clots. This, in turn, can block blood flow to the heart or brain, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
Hypertension can also result in chest pain or angina, causing pressure or a squeezing pain when you perform certain physical activities, such as climbing stairs or exercising.
High blood pressure can also be responsible for kidney damage, besides putting you at risk of developing vision problems as well as sexual dysfunction.
How stress contributes to hypertension
When you’re feeling tense or find yourself in a stressful situation, the body produces a surge of hormones which cause your heart to beat faster and raise your blood pressure. Stress also leads one to make poor decisions such as overindulgence in alcohol and unhealthy food.
There are several ways to manage stress, such as maintaining a work-life balance, practicing meditation and breathing exercises, etc. However, if stress and anxiety persist, remember to consult your doctor.
Learning to manage hypertension
Several lifestyle factors can be controlled with certain changes in your diet and routine. For instance, regular physical activity will help build your heart muscle and also in maintaining your ideal weight. Meanwhile, too much salt or sodium in your food leads to fluid retention, which in turn contributes to high blood pressure. It’s time to increase fresh vegetables as part of your meals. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake are some effective ways to lower blood pressure.
If you have been prescribed blood pressure medication, it is important to not miss it to avoid serious complications because of the disease. Awareness plays a big part in controlling and managing hypertension. With regular checks, your doctor can identify high blood pressure and successfully manage it through healthy lifestyle changes and perhaps medication as well.
You may also start by visiting the May Measure Month website to be part of a global awareness campaign.
Why choose Omron BP monitors for monitoring
A trusted brand from Japan with over 45 years experience in home blood pressure monitors, Omron’s monitors are available in over 110 countries/regions and used worldwide by millions of people and healthcare professionals. Here are some reasons to choose Omron BP monitors to check your readings regularly and stay on top of your health:
Stay safe and live longer by keeping your blood pressure in check with regular readings and following a healthy lifestyle.
(* According to an independent survey by MIMS in July 2019 on 600 doctors in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam. **As per the Global Home Appliance Market Comprehensive survey 2016 by Fuji Keizai Co. Ltd. (Data for 2015) and was recognised for cumulative sale for best home-use digital blood pressure monitors Worldwide (as on Nov 2016).)