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Lifestyle Awareness: Understanding Hypertension

  By posted Jun 30th 2012
Healthy Living


Lifestyle Awareness: Understanding Hypertension

Hypertension, more commonly called high blood pressure, is a common complaint among men and women alike. It is a commonly seen health condition among people who are obese, often stressed or anxious, alcoholics, diabetics or smokers. There are no stark symptoms of high blood pressure, thus it mostly goes unnoticed. But it is important to get your blood pressure checked once in 3 months as it is often linked to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney diseases. Dr. Manjinder Singh Sandhu, Head-Cardiology at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon helps us understand hypertension in detail...

Hypertension: An Overview

Hypertension is a condition in which the patient has higher than normal blood pressure. It is currently defined as a BP of > 140/90 mmHg.

Three Main Types of Hypertension

Primary Hypertension:
It implies that there is no single causative factor or abnormality which can explain the elevated BP. In primary hypertension there are various genetic, neural and renal abnormalities that contribute to elevated BP. Vascular and hormonal abnormalities are also seen and all these have a complex interplay in causing raised blood pressure.

Secondary Hypertension:
There is an identifiable cause for elevated BP and majority of these are treatable causes with possibility of cure in a significant number of patients. Common secondary causes are Chronic Kidney disease, Renal artery stenosis, Coarctation of aorta, primary aldosteronism, Cushing's syndrome and Pheochromocytoma.

White coat hypertension:
More commonly known as white coat syndrome, it is a phenomenon in which patients exhibit elevated blood pressure in a clinical setting but not in other settings. It is believed that this is due to the anxiety some people experience during a clinic visit. As night-time and self measured values are often not subject to daily stress the blood pressure levels noted are within normal limits but clinical values during the office visit are subject to unusual anxiety and are noted to be unusually high.

Causes of Hypertension

You have a higher risk of hypertension if you:

  • Are obese
  • Are often stressed or anxious
  • Drink too much alcohol 
  • Eat a lot of salty and fried food
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure
  • Have diabetes
  • Smoke

Preventing Hypertension

One can keep blood pressure under control without medications by adopting healthy lifestyle options like cessation of smoking, healthy eating habits like low salt, plenty of fruits and vegetables and an active lifestyle involving daily walking or cycling. Practices like yoga, meditation also help in reducing BP.

*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images  




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