More youths under the grip of hypertension

Namrata Devikar
Friday, 17 May 2019

“The Global Burden of Diseases study reports that hypertension associated with mortality and morbidity in India is one of the highest in the world and is increasing." said Dr Narkhede.

PUNE: Hypertension is called a ‘silent killer’ with every third person suffering from it. Systemic hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, vascular disease and chronic kidney disease. 

On the eve of World Hypertension Day (May 17), doctors from the city said that one of the biggest concerns is the high number of young patients, who report hypertension, mainly leading a sedentary lifestyle with poor dietary and activity habits.

An interventional cardiologist from Columbia Asia Hospital Dr Pramod Narkhede said that nearly 40 per cent of the patients in the hospital are treated for hypertension and related diseases are aged under 50 years.

“The Global Burden of Diseases study reports that hypertension associated with mortality and morbidity in India is one of the highest in the world and is increasing. Lack of diagnosis due to poor awareness and health screening practices as well as less than optimum use of controlling mechanism is fast making hypertension one of the leading non-communicable diseases (NCD) in India,” said Dr Narkhede. 

“We need to strengthen our primary healthcare system for better hypertension screening and control,” he further added.

Echoing similar views, Dr Ramakanta Panda, world’s leading heart surgeon and Vice-Chairman of the Asian Heart Institute, said one of the main reasons for high prevalence among youngsters is that they are less likely to seek medical attention as they feel that they are absolutely fit and fine. It can thus remain undetected for a long time.

“Regular blood pressure check-ups are necessary. Patients who suffer from an existing condition of hypertension besides checking their blood pressure, need to follow the intake of prescribed medication regularly,” said Panda.

During pregnancy, some mothers also suffer from hypertension, along with swelling of the hands and feet due to water retention and appearance of protein in the urine can develop. This condition is called pre-eclampsia.

Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Kharadi, said a timely diagnosis of pre-eclampsia is important for both mother and child.

“If the condition is not diagnosed in time, it can lead to complications to the mother and the baby. The mother could develop convulsions. Therefore, timely diagnosis is very important since a rise in the blood pressure is the first sign of pre-eclampsia. It is also important to start medications to prevent a further rise in the blood pressure, monitor the mother and the unborn fetus through clinical examination, fetal movement count, sonography and dopplers,” said Dr Pawar.

Speaking on hypertension and infertility, Medical Director of Nova IVI Fertility Dr Manish Banker said for women, hypertension is said to affect the lining of the uterus, which could potentially affect the healthy implantation of an embryo.

“Additionally, hypertension, when combined with factors like obesity or smoking, can have a detrimental impact on the body’s capability of reproducing naturally. Women who smoke are at a higher risk for reproductive problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, etc. For men, tobacco harms their testicles, affecting their ability to produce quality sperms,” said Dr Banker.

For keeping hypertension or high blood pressure away, doctors advice:
- Follow a DASH Diet: The diet should contain low fat, less salt and more vegetables and fruits, along with whole grain cereals. The DASH which is ‘Dietary approach to stop hypertension’, eating pattern helps in preventing hypertension, which consists of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, no fat or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grain food, fish, poultry, beans and seeds, as well as unsalted nuts.
- No substitute for regular exercise: Regular exercise is as important as taking medicines. Physical exercise does not only help control your blood pressure but also helps in weight loss, blood sugar regulation and effective stress management- all of which are key for a healthy heart. 
- Avoid alcohol: Excess alcohol consumption can lead to hypertension. It is better to completely avoid alcohol. If consumed, it is advisable to limit the intake to one or two drinks per week only.
- Say no to smoking: Smoking is a risk factor for many other diseases including hypertension and should be stopped completely. 
- Regular check-ups: The prevalence of hypertension increases with advancing age to the point of being 50 per cent in people within the range of 60 to 69 years of age and approximately 75 per cent in those being 70 years of age and older. Therefore, it is important to track blood pressure.

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