Why High Blood Pressure is a “Silent Killer”?

High blood pressure is usually called the “silent killer”

Most of the time, high blood pressure (HBP, or hypertension) has no clear symptoms to indicate that something is wrong and this high blood pressure can be a “Silent Killer”The most useful ways to protect yourself are being aware of the risks and making changes that matter.

Blood pressure is the lateral pressure exercised by the blood on the arterial walls. Usually, men above 50 and menopausal women are more at risk though it is usually found in the age bracket of the 30s and 40s as well.

A few points to be aware of:

  • Many individuals with high blood pressure don’t actually know they have it. Usually, the signs and symptoms are misunderstood.
  • High blood pressure develops slowly over time and can be connected to many causes.
  • High blood pressure cannot be healed. But it can be handled effectively through lifestyle changes and, when needed, medication.

Hypertension: Main cause of morbidity and mortality

As per doctors, of the total number of brain strokes registered, 50-60 % can be attributed to hypertension. Brain strokes can be haemorrhagic or infarction. Hypertension also puts additional organs at risk like the heart (heart attacks and heart failure), kidney (kidney failure and leakage of protein), liver (stressed liver metabolic disorder), eyes (loss of vision, retinopathy), diffused vascular diseases (aneurysms)  and triggers bleeding from any weak junctures of organs such as the nose. It is one of the biggest reasons for morbidity and mortality.

 As per doctors, “More extreme case, long-standing untreated hypertension, can be risky and consistent fatal. It could provoke changes in the arteries of the organs. For instance, in the brain, it would result in haemorrhage (intracranial bleeding) or occlusion of the artery (infarct). The pathophysiology of the illness is an accumulation of unwanted substances (fats, collagen etc) in the arteries, which gets accelerated if someone has high BP.”

Keeping BP under control

As per the doctor’s advice, “If there is a family history, get BP checked yearly bright from the age of 15. Limit the intake of salt, and ensure to get 30 minutes-one an hour of moderate-intensity exercise (brisk walking) at least four days a week. One requirement is not to sweat a lot or do high-intensity cardio but regular lightweight exercise is adequate. Prevent obtaining overweight or obese. Thoroughly stop smoking and limit alcohol intake to a maximum of 60 ml that too periodically in a tropical climate like India’s.” And for any mistake, high blood pressure can be a “Silent Killer”. 

Measures to check BP correctly

Medical experts also exaggerate the correct method to check the BP readings at home since many individuals do it the wrong way, which gives incorrect readings and causes panic. One should not come to a judgment based on a single reading but rather take three to four readings. A normal BP should ideally be 140/90 and both the systolic, diastolic and mean readings are necessary.

Explaining the correct usage of BP instrument at home, many senior consultants suggest that, “Firstly, at least 30 minutes earlier to the BP measurement, avoid eating food, bathing, exercising, smoking and drinking alcohol. As these will instantly enhance the blood pressure temporarily and show incorrect readings. 

Secondly, do not hold a discussion with anyone in person or over a phone/video call. Talking or active listening will add to your BP readings. Instead, sit peacefully for 10 minutes before checking your BP. 

Thirdly, put the cuff on the bare arm and not over clothing while taking the measure.”

 “Since pose plays an essential part in giving an accurate reading, the fourth point is taking the measurement seated in a correct pose. One should support the arm at the heart level to which the instrument will be attached. The person can rest the arm on a table or desk at heart level, keep the legs uncrossed and use a backing for the back and feet while sitting on the chair. Failure to maintain the correct pose may show a higher BP reading,” as the doctor suggests.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The higher the BP is above the normal (140/90) and the longer in duration it stays high, the riskier it is. High BP is normally detected while checking the BP for some other illness like fever. “Hypertensive crisis can be 2 classes— emergency & urgency

An emergency is where the BP (Blood Pressure) is dreadfully high like 220/130, there is organ damage and bleeding and there is a requirement to immediately bring it down. The crisis can also be urgent where the BP (Blood Pressure) has to be brought down within a couple of days, there may be an infarct but no bleeding.  If Hypertension (HBP) is detected in stage 1 (mild) or stage 2 (moderate), doctors propose lifestyle modification for three months and two months respectively before prescribing medicines. In stage 3 (severe), Doctors suggest lifestyle transformation for a month before prescribing medicines. However, a person’s age, genetics, overall health, and co-morbidities are taken into carefulness before prescribing medicines,” as per doctors’ suggestion.

“Once hypertension is detected and if the patient has been prescribed medicines to keep BP (Blood Pressure) in check, it has to be continued lifelong. Depending on his situation, the dosage can be increased or minimized by the doctor but it should not be stopped by the patient on his own,” as per the doctor’s suggestion. If you found this type of symptoms in your Hypertension, talk to your doctor and start the prescription early otherwise as it moves to 2-3 stages, high blood pressure can be a “Silent Killer” for you.

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