Why is Hypertension Called the Silent Killer?
Hypertension is a highly prevalent lifestyle disease that affects around 30% of India’s adult population. Although this disease has no apparent symptoms, it has still been termed as one of the most dangerous lifestyle diseases, and rightly so. Though it was thought to be a disease of the old, it is observed in young adults in their late 20s and early 30s.
Untreated or delayed treatment of hypertension can cause cardiovascular and other health complications. Before we understand why high blood pressure is known as the silent killer, here’s what you need to know about this condition.
What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension?
Blood pressure is when blood flows through the arteries and exerts pressure on its walls. On average healthy adults, the blood pressure level is around 120/80 mm Hg. A blood pressure reading is usually made of systolic and diastolic pressure.
The systolic pressure is the blood pressure recorded when the heart contracts and is the first number in a reading. The diastolic pressure is a blood pressure reading when the heart relaxes between two beats and is the second number in a blood pressure reading.
It is termed pre-hypertension when your systolic pressure is over 120 mm Hg but less than 129 mm Hg. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure levels are above 129/80 mm Hg.
When your blood pressure levels are :
- 130/80 mm: You have stage 1 hypertension
- 140/90 mm Hg: You have stage 2 hypertension
Getting a blood pressure reading of 180/110 mm Hg is termed a ‘hypertensive crisis’ and is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.
What are the Types of Hypertension?
Depending upon the cause of high blood pressure, there are two main types of hypertension, namely :
Also called essential hypertension, this type of disease is most common. Primary hypertension is when the cause of your blood pressure is not an underlying disease. People usually develop this type of hypertension as they grow older.
When your blood pressure levels increase due to another medical condition or the use of certain medications, it is termed secondary hypertension. This type of disease usually improves or resolves after the medical condition is treated or you stop taking medicines responsible for raising blood pressure.
Why Is It Important to Know About Hypertension?
High blood pressure is a silent killer because it does not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. When your blood pressure levels are chronically elevated, it forces your heart to pump harder against the resistance in the blood vessels. This can overwork your heart and result in serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure.
Hypertension is a silent killer for numerous reasons. Several death cases in the developing and developed nations of the world are usually due to high blood pressure as a significant or primary contributing factor.
To avoid severe and life-threatening complications due to undiagnosed and untreated hypertension, it is essential to know your blood pressure readings and if you have high blood pressure.
How To Manage Hypertension?
Management of hypertension is relatively easy, and with the suitable methods and timely intervention, people with this lifestyle disease can live a healthy, good quality of life.
Hypertension management and treatment usually involve the following :
If you have been diagnosed with chronically high blood pressure, your doctor will determine the most suitable medication for you, depending upon the cause. Some commonly used groups of anti-hypertensive medicines include ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, or a combination of any two groups of anti-hypertensives.
Your diet plays an essential role in the development and management of hypertension. Hypertensive people must cut down the salt in their food and preferably follow a DASH diet loaded with fiber, proteins, and other healthy nutrients.
Apart from salt, it would help to cut down on processed, fried, and packaged foods loaded with saturated and trans fats that contribute to your blood pressure and increase cardiovascular diseases.
Hypertensive or otherwise, you must get a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day or 150 minutes of exercise a week. Some activities that effectively keep your blood pressure levels in the normal range include running, jogging, brisk walking, swimming, and cycling. Don’t forget to include strength training at least two days a week.
Stress is a major contributing factor to hypertension in people today. If you wish to keep your blood pressure levels in the optimum range, you must bust the stress. Some activities that can help you are yoga, meditation, mindfulness, a long relaxing walk, getting a massage, or pursuing a hobby.
Other lifestyle changes
Other lifestyle changes that can help manage your hypertension are maintaining optimum weight and BMI, limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.
Ignoring early signs and symptoms of hypertension can result in organ damage and lead to severe health complications. Make sure you keep your BP in control under all circumstances. Find expert advice and more information articles on hypertension, how to identify it, prevent and manage it right here on BPinControl!