Hypertension is popularly known as the silent killer for a reason that people do not recognize that they have high blood pressure until a heart attack, stroke or some complication occurs. A hypertensive patient should be evaluated for presence of cardiovascular condition like a coronary artery disease, ischaemic stroke, chronic kidney disease, peripheral artery disease diabetes, dyslipidemia, gout, albuminuria and sleep apnoea as these conditions can affect Blood Pressure (BP).
Our Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) continues to increase throughout life due to progressive stiffening of arterial wall while after 50 years Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP) may start decreasing. A high SBP pressure in older people is a major risk factor for cardio cerebrovascular situation and renal dysfunction. In addition, treatment of risk factors help in controlling BP e.g. specific treatment of sleep apnoea improves BP control. Certain drugs can increase BP and may be needed to stop, if possible.
More than 30% of people who have high blood pressure are not aware of it. The only way you will get to know your blood pressure through regular checkups. You must look out for following symptoms for an extremely high blood pressure:
- Blood in the urine
- Chest pain
- Vision problems
- Difficulty in Breathing
- Severe headache
- Irregular Heartbeat
How to Manage your Blood Pressure?
It is important that BMI of patients should be measured for a proper weight management. An interesting observation is that waist circumference helps in determining the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Women having a waist circumference of >80cm and men >90cm are at a very high risk of developing Cardio Cerebrovascular Disease. Few measures mentioned below can help you in managing high blood pressure:
- Non-pharmacological measures: Patients who are in hypertension of stage 1 or less and are not associated with any organ damage and other cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyle changes can be made for 6 to 12 months.
- Weight loss: A modest weight loss can be beneficial for people who are associated with diabetes and dyslipidemia.
- Salt reduction: Low salt diets reduce BP as well as decrease the need for medications.
- Exercise: A high BP patient should be encouraged to walk, climb stairs, bicycles, and integrate physical activity in their daily routine. Moreover, doing aerobic exercises will significantly lower your BP.
- Say no to addiction: Stop cigarette smoking and moderate your alcohol intake so as to manage your hypertension.
- Drug treatment: Medicines should be started in patients having BP >140/90 mm Hg, medicines in whom lifestyle modifications have been tried for some months. While for patients with BP ≥160/100 mm Hg medicines should be started immediately.