What is Hypertension?
Hypertension, most commonly known as high blood pressure is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, stroke and even death. The condition is caused when the blood vessels have permanently raised pressure. Each time the heart beats to carry the blood from the heart to various parts of the body, pressure is created by the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels. The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump.
Results of the Dubai Health Survey 2016 revealed that 3.5% of the total population of UAE suffer from hypertension with 3.2% being males and 5.1% being females. Acknowledging the alarming rise in the incidence of hypertension UAE, it has become the need of the hour to create awareness about the condition and its devastating health consequences.
What are the symptoms of Hypertension?
Hypertension does not have any specific depictive symptoms, nonetheless it damages the body functioning further causing heart diseases and stoke. People of all age groups may develop the condition, although the risk increases with age.
Hypertension increases the risk of chronic conditions including stroke, myocardial infarction, neurological & kidney disorders. Stroke is one of the leading causes of mortality, along with cardio vascular diseases and is also the number one cause of chronic disabilities in the world. The condition does not have any obvious symptoms to indicate that something is wrong, hence a lot of times the condition goes unnoticed. Individuals with hypertension can live for years without experiencing any symptoms or health issues, causing it to be a silent killer.
Are you at risk?
The most common factors that increase an individual’s risk of developing Hypertension are growing age, obesity, unhealthy lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption etc. The condition is also sometimes genetically transmitted and it is best to talk to a specialist and understand your risk factors in advance if the condition runs in your family.
Additionally, people with underlying health conditions like diabetes, chronic kidney conditions etc are also at the risk of developing hypertension.
What is an increased range of blood pressure?
Ideally a reading of blood pressure below 120/80mmHg is considered to be normal. A reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg depicts that the person is at the risk of developing Hypertension.
How is the condition diagnosed?
Since the condition does not present depictive symptoms, it becomes extremely important to monitor your BP regularly in order to understand any fluctuations in the readings. BP can be checked at home or at a clinic. Blood pressure is recorded as two readings;
- Systolic bloodpressure – the maximum pressure during a heartbeat, when the heart is pumping blood throughout the body.
- Diastolic bloodpressure – the lowest pressure between heartbeats, when the heart is filling with blood.
When checking your BP at home, know what you are doing and learnt he right way to check the readings. One high reading does not mean you have hypertension, it requires a minimum of 3 elevated readings to confirm that a person has the condition.
How is hypertension treated?
Management of the condition will depend on the severity of your condition. In some cases, the condition can be managed with simple lifestyle changes including weight loss, change of diet, physical activity etc.
Treatment of the condition is a multi-faceted approach including, medications, physical activity and lifestyle modifications. Following unhealthy lifestyle practices like sedentary lifestyles, excessive consumption of fatty, junk and canned foods and high sodium diet lead to obesity which in turn fuels chronic health conditions. Inactive lifestyles coupled with dependence on unhealthy food is a widely prevalent culture among people in the UAE.