Around 30% of world’s adult population, which comes around 1 billion, are affected by hypertension or high blood pressure. It’s a serious medical condition that not increases the risk for coronary heart disease and stroke but also for chronic kidney disease, heart failure, arrhythmia and dementia. Often referred to as ‘silent killer, the high blood pressure shows no symptoms at early stage in many cases. Around 2/3rd of these cases are found in low- and middle-income countries and around half of people living with this condition are unaware of their condition, putting them at risk of heart attack or premature death. So, early detection is key to keep Hypertenion at bay. World hypertension day is observed on May 17 every year to raise awaereness about the risk involved with this condition and measures to prevent it.
This year’s theme is ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer’, focusing on combatting low awareness rates worldwide, especially in low to middle income areas, and accurate blood pressure measurement methods, according to World Hypertension League.
What is hypertension?
Blood pressure is the measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body. So, the higher the pressure in blood vessels the harder the heart has to work in order to pump blood. Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.
Risk factors for hypertension:
According to World Health Organisation, modifiable risk factors include unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables), physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight or obese. Non-modifiable risk factors include a family history of hypertension, age over 65 years and co-existing diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Prevention in the times of Corona:
People with comorbidities are at higher risk of developing complications due to Covid-19. It’s evidently clear that a big section of patients, who succumbed to covid, had some kind of comorbidity. As per US online medical journal WebMD, growing data indicates a higher risk of COVID-19 infections and complications in people with high blood pressure. high blood pressure is the most commonly shared pre-existing condition among those hospitalized, affecting between 30% to 50% of the patients. Other health conditions included cancer, diabetes, or lung disease. India’s apx mdecial body ICMR had also released a docuemnt stating’ The majority (80%) of people diagnosed with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms of a respiratory infection (fever, sore throat, cough) and make full recovery. Some of the people with diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases including Heart Failure (weak heart) may develop more severe symptoms and complications. Therefore extra care is advised for these patients.” So, weaker immune system is one reason people with high blood pressure and other health problems are at higher risk for coronavirus.