08 / 06 / 2021

Myths and Facts About High Blood Pressure

Managing hypertension or high blood pressure has become even more crucial now to reduce the risk of COVID-19 adverse events and mortality, says an Indian neurosurgeon, who has also busted some common myths about Hypertension.

Hypertension is defined as high blood pressure in the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The blood pressure is usually determined by the heart’s capacity to pump blood and the health of the blood vessels. According to the medical guidelines followed across the world, if the blood pressure in the arteries exceeds 130/80 mmHg, the condition is referred as hypertension. More than 1 in 5 adults worldwide have raised blood pressure and complications from hypertension account for 9.4 million deaths worldwide every year. As high blood pressure becomes increasingly common these days, there are also a lot of myths and misconceptions about the condition out there.

Myth 1 – Hypertension is common and not cause for much concern.

Fact – High blood pressure is a condition that needs immediate attention. High blood pressure can damage the kidney, heart, blood vessels and can even lead to a sudden heart attack or a stroke. Hypertension is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ as it is often unaccompanied by symptoms.

Myth 2 – It is not possible to prevent hypertension.

Fact – There is no cure for hypertension yet, but it can be prevented and managed.

Myth 3 – Hypertension affects men, women are rarely affected.

Fact – Given the stress levels and the sedentary lifestyle of men and women these days, both genders are equally prone to developing hypertension. Post-menopause, women are more at risk of high blood pressure.

Myth 4 – Hypertension is a geriatric problem.

Fact – More and more research findings are now establishing that hypertension can occur to any individual at any time. Young adults living a sedentary life and indulging in unhealthy lifestyles are at a high risk of developing high blood pressure.

Myth 5 – Hypertension is inherited.

Fact – Leading a healthy lifestyle is of prime importance. A low salt diet, fruits, vegetables, regular exercise and stress reduction techniques such as meditation go a long way in prevention and management of hypertension despite the genetics.

Myth 6 –Hypertension medicines can be stopped if the blood pressure is normal

Fact – Doctors usually monitor a patient for a considerable time before rendering a diagnosis of hypertension. It would be a mistake to stop medicines without advice. Since its symptoms are silent, it can damage vital organs like heart, brain and kidney. Skipping medicines can lead to irreversible organ damage.

Tips to keep Hypertension at bay

Dr. Iyer pointed out some commonly accepted recommendations for those who are at risk of developing high blood pressure –

  • Maintain a healthy weight and live an active lifestyle.
  • Hypertension can be kept at bay by exercising regularly and leading a stress-free life.
  • A healthy diet which is high in nutrients and low in salt and saturated fats keeps high blood pressure away.
  • Quit smoking and avoid alcohol intake.

Increasing hypertension awareness and early control has become even more crucial as managing hypertension reduces the risk of COVID-19 adverse events and mortality, he added.