World Hypertension Day 2024: Early signs of hypertension and step-by-step tips to manage it | Health - Hindustan Times
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World Hypertension Day 2024: Early signs of hypertension and step-by-step tips to manage it

By, New Delhi
May 17, 2024 10:30 AM IST

Headache to blurry vision, here are early signs of hypertension that you must pay attention to. Uncontrolled BP can lead to life-threatening complications.

Hypertension or high blood pressure develops silently and starts affecting various aspects of your well-being, even before you know it. The condition often doesn't cause any symptoms that could help identify the disease. World Hypertension Day is observed every year on May 17, Friday. Uncontrolled levels of blood pressure can lead to heart disease, heart failure, aneurysms, dementia, and even death. Blood pressure is the condition where the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Hypertension is when your BP is above 140/90 and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120. Since the condition is difficult to detect without monitoring blood pressure, it's advisable for people over 40 to check their blood pressure once in a year and those from 18-39 once in every 3-5 years. (Also read | World Hypertension Day 2024: What is resistant hypertension; the condition that doesn't respond well to medications?)

Hypertension is when your BP is above 140/90 and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120. (Freepik)
Hypertension is when your BP is above 140/90 and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120. (Freepik)

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition identified by elevated blood pressure in the arteries that typically develops over the course of several years. Hypertension is a prevalent condition worldwide impacting around 1.28 billion adults aged 30–79 years. In India, it impacts every 1 out of 4 people. According to WHO, “only 12% of people with hypertension in India have their blood pressure under control, and an estimated 46% of adults with hypertension worldwide are unaware that they have the condition”.

World Hypertension Day 2024 theme

Hypertension Day’s theme for the year 2024 is 'Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer', aiming to increase awareness around the gravity of this condition. High blood pressure is linked to more than half of deaths from heart disease and stroke. Hypertension can be easily detected and treated, and its control is paramount to reduce the burden of CVD.

Hypertension is also known as a silent killer due to its tendency to not show evident symptoms.

Early signs of blood pressure

Some early symptoms of high blood pressure that can be noticed by the individuals, as per Dr Darpan Choudhary, MBBS, MD, DM Cardiology, Interventional Cardiologist at United Superspeciality Hospital are:

1. Headaches: We experience headaches due to several reasons, but a hypertension-induced headache usually spreads all around the head instead of being focused on one place. Along with the headache, there is a pulsing sensation that is caused by a sudden spike in the blood pressure up to critical levels. Typical headache medicines are mostly ineffective in reducing this pain.

2. Blurry vision: High blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in the eyes leading to sudden and temporary blurry visions. If the condition persists, this could lead to long-term blurred vision or complete loss of sight.

3. Chest pain: Not getting enough blood flow to the heart during a hypertensive crisis can lead to chest pains. The pain might worsen while doing physical activities and one can feel pressure in the chest, squeezing, or a feeling of fullness.

4. Nausea: Almost half of the people with hypertension develop feelings of sickness and nausea. As blood pressure builds in the vessels of the brain, the increased pressure can trigger nausea.

Longer term complications of hypertension

"Hypertension can impact a person’s day-to-day life and hinder their daily activities. Moreover, long-term untreated hypertension can lead to kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke, and if ignored, can even be fatal in just one year. Therefore, it is important to keep the early symptoms in mind and get a timely diagnosis for effective hypertension management," says Dr Choudhary.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be fatal but with timely diagnosis and a healthy lifestyle, hypertension can be managed efficiently. Mentioned below is a guide to managing hypertension effectively:

How to manage your blood pressure effectively

It is crucial to have a timely diagnosis with the help of routine check-ups and consult a specialized doctor if any of the above-mentioned symptoms persist. Dr Choudhary shares few tips:

  • Checking blood pressure regularly is paramount along with maintaining it under 140/90 mmHg. A healthy lifestyle, eating healthy, doing moderate physical exercises, and sleeping 7-9 hours daily can help maintain blood pressure.
  • Managing stress is a vital aspect for people suffering from hypertension. One can try managing stress with the help of stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga along with engaging in activities that help you relax and unwind.
  • Taking medication as prescribed by the doctor without missing any doses.
  • Treating any other condition that the patient might have along with hypertension on priority is also important for the well-being of a person, as it might accelerate the condition.

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