A basic guide to understanding stress and managing it

A 2015 survey conducted by YouGov showed that 60 percent of the workforce in UAE suffered from stress in some form or the other. The survey also stated that 49 per cent of UAE residents are reportedly stressed about some issue daily.

Stress is a silent killer, and it may be managed or mismanaged. Stress if ignored can lead to chronic problems like asthma, ulcers, heart conditions, stroke, etc.

People need to be aware of the symptoms of stress because people consider stress to be a state of mind for a brief period of time rather than a medical condition. However, absence of any symptoms does not mean absence of stress. Frequent headaches, chest pain, insomnia, fatigue, irritability etc. are symptoms that must be taken seriously as they are signs that your body gives you to manage your stress.



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Hypertension Day

  1. What is hypertension?

Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure (in adults: >140/90 in at least 2 consecutive separate readings/days.

  1. Are there any symptoms or signs that show blood pressure is too high?

Patient with hypertension is usually an asymptomatic/ mostly symptomless condition, however, a patient with hypertension may experience severe headache/ nape pain, severe anxiety, vision problems, shortness of breath and nose bleeds.

  1. How does stress affect blood pressure, and what can we do to lower stress levels?

Stress would make a person do unhealthy practices like overeating, drinking alcohol and poor sleeping habits that can cause high blood pressure. Ways to avoid stress: Have some hobbies/ sports. Connect with other people.

  1. High Blood Pressure: Why Prevention and Control are urgent and important?

Risk factors of hypertension are usually modifiable/ preventable such as lifestyle and dietary factors (e.g. Physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and a diet high in sodium which is present in processed and fatty foods). It’s very important to start precautionary measures because long-standing hypertension could lead to a serious medical condition such as Heart failure and Heart attack, Aneurysm, stroke and kidney failure.

Another risk factor which is nonmodifiable is Genetic.

  1. Does hypertensionoccur in children? If yes how and what should be done to prevent it?

Hypertension may occur in all stages of life. It may occur in children with kidney, cardiac, endocrine/ hormonal problems and in certain tumors. It may also be caused by chronic, poorly managed stress. Some conditions that can lead to hypertension cannot be prevented, however, observing healthy lifestyle, hypertension might be prevented. Measures such as consuming low fat, low salt diet (avoid consuming fast foods, junk foods), having some sports, aerobic/ isotonic exercise and weight reduction for those obese children could decrease the chance of having hypertension in children.



Dr. Lezel Mahinay Baliad

General Practitioner

Aster Bahrain





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High Blood Pressure – A Silent Killer

High blood pressure is a common condition which in the long-term cause health problems by causing damage to various organs which used to be called as Target Organ Damage. Commonly Heart, Kidneys, Eyes and Brain gets affected, however, the damage can be widespread.

As per one of the surveys conducted by Dubai Health Authority (DHA), One 1 in 15 individuals in Dubai is diagnosed with hypertension (6.7%) and there is a little gender difference in its prevalence which means male and female have an equal chance of developing high blood pressure.

There is a strong association between age and hypertension. As the age progresses the chances of developing high blood pressure increases. In the same survey,12.1% population in the age group of 40-59 years had high blood pressure as compared to 31% population in the 60+ age group.

Knowledge about this disease and taking preventive steps at the right time are important in managing this common health problem.

A silent Disease

One can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and target organs continues. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and Kidney Diseases.

Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work on it with your doctor to control it.

The common symptoms of high Blood Pressure are headaches, dizziness ,shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe stage. However, these can be the  warning signs and one should at least get Blood Pressure monitored if they occur.

When you visit a Doctor and Get BP measured:

Whenever you visit your doctor, one should preferably Wear clothing so that the blood pressure cuff can fit around your arm properly.

One should avoid caffeinated food and drinks right before measuring blood pressure. You may want to use the toilet before having your blood pressure measured. Holding urine can cause spuriously high readings of blood pressure.

One should make a note of regularly taken medicines as few of them may cause high blood pressure.Inform your doctor of these medications.

Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot to discuss, it’s a good idea to note down everything before an appointment .

Risk factors

Various conditions make a patient vulnerable to high blood pressure. Some of them cannot be modified and some can be modified by changing lifestyle. It is interesting to note that modifying lifestyle has got therapeutic benefits.

It’s important to make note of conditions which one can modify to control high blood pressure. Some of them are – obesity, physical inactivity, Use of tobacco, excessive salt (sodium) in diet, Alcohol intake and Stress. Of course, there are other factors which one can not change like age,race etc.

Blood Pressure treatment goals

It is a very common concern of patients who are on treatment for high blood pressure that what should be their Target blood pressure level.

It is important to understand that naturally occurring levels of blood pressure and levels brought down with medicines are different entities.

Although 120/80 mm Hg or lower is the ideal blood pressure goal, it is not clear if medications are needed to bring down Blood pressure to that level. However, Natural occurrence of this level is a good thing.

The patients on medicines should have target levels as follows –

  • For a healthy adult age 60 or older : Less than150/90 mm Hg
  • For a healthy adult younger than age 60 : Less than140/90 mm Hg
  • If the patient has had chronic kidney disease, diabetes or coronary artery disease or are at high risk of coronary artery disease : Less than140/90 mm Hg
  • For the patients age 60 or older, use of medications may produce lower systolic blood pressure (such as less than 140 mm Hg), the medications won’t need the change unless they cause negative effects on the health or quality of life which patient can bring to the notice of the treating doctor.

Life Style Modifications

It is important to understand that lifestyle modifications have got therapeutic value and they should continue irrespective of medication use or occurrence of normal values on medications.The common lifestyle recommendations for healthy heart and blood pressure are-

Eat a healthy diet

The patient should take less salt and adopt Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH diet) which emphasizes on an intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. One should eat less saturated fat and Trans fat.

A lower sodium level — 1,500 milligrams (mg) a day — is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and individuals of any age who are black or who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

Maintain a healthy weight/Increase physical activity

One should try and achieve at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination or moderate and vigorous activity.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol can raise blood pressure even in healthy adults. If one chooses to drink alcohol, it should be done in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Quit smoking

Tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries causing increased blood pressure and heart disease.

It’s always better to stitch in time to save nine. Knowledge is liberation and knowing about hypertension and means to avoid it can be a way to attain good health. We should try and adopt the policy of Prevention is better than cure.

Dr. Sachin Upadhyaya

Specialist (DNB) Cardiologist 

Aster Jubilee Medical Complex, Bur Dubai


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