Recently on 28th July – ‘World Hepatitis Day’, I wrote an article in this column titled Protect Yourself From Hepatitis. Soon afterwards I thought of writing an article on Hypertension that is High Blood Pressure which is afflicting a very large percentage of people. High Blood Pressure is commonly referred as a silent assassin or silent killer as more than half of all Hypertension persons don’t know that they are at risk. Most people do not experience any adverse symptoms and they lead a normal carefree life until Hypertension affects them fatally. It causes strokes, heart attacks and Alzheimer’s disease. Some people experience frequent headache or giddiness and when they see a doctor their Hypertension is diagnosed and are put on lifelong medication and advised a lifestyle change to keep the Blood Pressure normal.
I was diagnosed of borderline High Blood Pressure a few years ago when I went for a health check-up which was required for a Life Insurance Policy. Since then I am under medication and my Blood Pressure is under control. I regularly monitor and record my Blood Pressure at home using a Digital Sphygmomanometer and I see a doctor from to time for check-ups and advice. My Blood Pressure is under control due to the daily medication that I take and I must continue with it forever. In case my BP rises in the future I will be advised a different and powerful medication which I must take to combat the risks of Hypertension.
My attempt to write on this subject is to warn and advise the followers and casual visitors to my blog about the dangers of this silent and serious affliction. For those of you who would like to know the fundamentals of Blood Pressure in brief - Blood Pressure is the force or pressure that carries blood to all parts of our body. A Blood Pressure reading is the pressure that blood puts on the walls of our arteries. There are two parts to a Blood Pressure. One is called SYSTOLIC – it is the top or the first number in a Blood Pressure reading. The other number is called DIASTOLIC – it is the bottom or second number in the reading. The SYSTOLIC number is the Peak Blood Pressure when our heart is beating or squeezing out blood and the DIASTOLIC number is the pressure when our heart is filling with blood or resting between beats. A normal Blood Pressure reading is 120/80, where 120 is the SYSTOLIC number and 80 is the DIASTOLIC number. Arteries that are tensed, constricted or rigid offer more resistance resulting in High Blood Pressure and make the heart work harder. The chart at the top of this article clearly explains about Low, Normal and High Blood Pressure and the medical classifications. Any abnormal reading needs the best of medical attention and constant monitoring, regular medication and lifestyle changes. A healthy diet with low salt, very little red meat, less sugar and sweets, no saturated fats etc., weight reduction, moderate exercise, no smoking, alcohol in moderation, good sleep and stress free life are advised.
There are a number of books to choose from and vast information available on internet for understanding risks and combating High Blood Pressure. Those affected with Hypertension may please equip themselves with full knowledge of the ailment to take proper care of themselves.