According to the India Council for Medical Research, hypertension affects one out of every four adults in India, with only 10% of patients having their blood pressure under control. Managing blood pressure for 25 million people, according to the report, could prevent half a million deaths from cardiovascular disease over the next ten years. To start controlling high blood pressure, it is critical to accurately measure it and then take appropriate preventive measures. To emphasis this, 2022 World Hypertension Day theme is ‘Measure your blood pressure accurately, control it, and live longer.’
Impact of high blood pressure on the body
According to Dr. Ashish Agarwal, Director, Cardiology, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka, if left untreated, high blood pressure contributes to a high disease burden of heart attacks and heart failure, brain strokes, kidney disease, vascular dementia, aneurysms, and blood vessel blockages,As per Dr. Agarwal, hypertension can lead to following diseases:
- Stroke or heart attack: High blood pressure can cause atherosclerosis, or the hardening and thickening of arteries, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other complications.
- Congestive heart failure: The heart has to work harder to pump blood against the higher pressure in the vessels. This leads to the thickening of the heart’s pumping chamber( also known as left ventricular hypertrophy). The thickened muscle may eventually struggle to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, leading to heart failure.
- Aneurysm: Aneurysms form when blood vessels weaken and bulge as a result of high blood pressure. When an aneurysm ruptures, it can be life-threatening.
- Kidney blood vessels that have become weak and narrowed: This can make it difficult for these organs to function normally.
- Blood vessels in the eyes that are thickened, narrowed, or torn: This may cause vision loss.
- High blood pressure that is uncontrolled can impair your ability to think, remember, and learn.
- Dementia: Blood flow to the brain can be restricted by narrowed or blocked arteries, resulting in dementia (vascular dementia). It can also be caused by a stroke that interrupts blood flow to the brain
Effect of hypertension on pregnancy
Preeclampsia is a dangerous blood pressure disorder that occurs during pregnancy. In most cases, the disease appears after the 20th week of pregnancy. It can harm many organs in the body, as well as the mother and her developing foetus (unborn baby). “This condition can affect women who have high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes, or have a family history of preeclampsia, have autoimmune diseases like lupus, or are obese. High blood pressure (hypertension) and high protein levels in the urine are common symptoms of this condition. Headaches, blurred vision or light sensitivity, dark spots appearing in the vision, right side abdominal pain, swelling in your hands and face (edema), or shortness of breath are all other common symptoms of this condition. Although there is no cure for preeclampsia, women who have it must be monitored by their doctors at all times,” says Dr. Gauri Agarwal, Director and Co-Founder, Seeds of Innocence.
The doctor will prescribe the appropriate medication to aid in the normal development of the foetus while also protecting the pregnant woman from harm.
How to measure blood pressure accurately
“Before taking blood pressure, don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, or exercise for at least 30 minutes. It’s critical to use a cuff that fits the arm properly. Cuffs that are too small can cause the blood pressure to rise artificially.Sit up straight with your back supported, feet flat on the floor, and your arm supported at heart level while wearing the cuff on your bare arm. Make sure the cuff’s bottom is directly above the elbow’s bend. Before taking a measurement, take five minutes to relax. Refrain from talking or looking at your phone.Also, make sure your bladder is empty, as a full bladder can raise blood pressure temporarily,” adds Dr. Ashish Agarwal.
Blood pressure can be raised by some medications, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and common decongestants. Caffeine, alcohol, smoking, salt intake, and stress can all be harmful.
We recommend that people check their blood pressure at the same time each day, such as twice in the morning and twice in the evening for one week, then talk with their doctor about the results.
Because blood pressure varies greatly, a patient should not be concerned about a single high reading. People should consult their doctors if the average over a week is unusually high. If not, people should continue to engage in heart-healthy habits and monitor their blood pressure in the future.