India has become a rapidly growing economy, thanks to its huge mass of working population. But an alarming fact about our population is that majority of the people suffer from hypertension. According to statistics published by CADI Research, the number of hypertension patients in India is expected to reach 214 million by 2025. High blood pressure is a chronic illness which is prevalent both in urban and rural India, with around 40 percent of the cases being reported from urban areas. A peculiar observation is that, hypertension goes undiagnosed in most cases and is detected when the person becomes extremely sick. A regular doctor check-up at home or a clinic can help you diagnose the illness in the early stages.
Why is Hypertension dangerous?
When the flowing blood exerts extreme pressure on the walls, it will cause the vessels to get damaged and rupture. Since the symptoms develop over a long period of time, hypertension can lead to paralysis, heart failure, Aneurysm, stroke, dementia, kidney failure or scarring, damage to eye vessels and nerves, sexual dysfunction and loss of bone density.
Here are some of the common causes of hypertension:
- High Sodium – People who regularly consume food items that have a high level of sodium can prone to develop hypertension.
- Age – seniors are more vulnerable to high blood pressure because as the body ages, the blood vessels become stiff which increases chance of hypertension.
- Sleep Apnea – this is a condition where the oxygen levels deplete while a person is sleeping, which in turn increases blood pressure.
- Unhealthy lifestyle – Consuming unhealthy food and living a sedentary lifestyle can cause a person to put on excess weight which causes the blood vessels to narrow down and this increases the blood pressure.
- Intoxicants – Smoking, alcohol and use of any kind of recreational drugs put pressure on the arteries which increases the blood pressure.
- Hereditary – If your close relations suffer from high BP, you will also have a greater probability of developing it.
Other illnesses that cause hypertension include
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- Congenital kidney or heart diseases.
- Thyroid problems
- Adrenal gland problems
- Endocrine tumors
The doctor will measure your blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. If the levels are high, a few more readings will be made over a period of time to check for consistency. In most cases the blood pressures vary due to environmental conditions. So in order to rule out this possibility you will be checked over a few weeks of time.
If the levels are found to stay elevated then your physician may recommend the following tests:
- A urine test
- Cholesterol test
- Screening of your heart’s activity
These tests will help determine whether you have primary or secondary hypertension. Secondary hypertension is caused as a side-effect of another underlying illness.
In case of primary hypertension, your physician will recommend a few lifestyle changes including modifying your diet. If this does not bring down the blood pressure levels, he will put you on BP medications.
For secondary hypertension, the doctor will start treating the primary illness that is causing the BP. In some cases the medications that patients take for an illness can increase the BP. If this is the issue then the doctor will either change the medicine or reduce the dosage.