Hypertension-myths and realities

Well one of the second largest killer  coming under the preview of non contagious disease.The World Health Organization (WHO) reports NCDs to be by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing over 60% of all deaths. 
 In US alone one in three has hypertension(HTn) where global index no better.
One of other disease coming under the head of non contagious disease ,also known as silent killer,you must have noticed people saying ‘Oh he/she was alright till yesterday,had no symptoms with no major disease died of sudden stroke,MI or had a paralytic attack!!!!!!
     1.Don’t feel any symptom.

  • That is the reason it is called silent killer disease.
  • Persistent hypertension creates risk for strokes,heart attacks/heart failure and still is one of the leading causes for kidney failure.
  • HTn has a cascading effect on most vital organs as they are deprived of adequate blood supply and oxygen.
  • Here comes the need of half yearly /annual health checkup so as to screen even what some call as pre hypertension condition.

     2.HTn means check BP every day.

  • Initially yes,when one is prescribed with a new regime of treatment/change of drug or dose,but there after twice/thrice a week generally suffice but preferably at the same time  .
  • Harmful effects occur over a period of long time i.e.years and not days/month
  • Keep a record of average BP over month and show the pattern to your healthcare professional.  

   3.Normal range is 110/70 to 120/80 mm Hg.

  • No,normal BP has now a slightly wider range depending upon ethnic groups,demographic locations and conditions,age gender,etc.
  • Health bulletin released by WHO for country specific can be seen for that.
  • But for US below 120/80 is normal.

    4.Manage either systolic or diastolic.

  • No,a serious myth,both are equally important

  5.Blood pressure is controlled,so i can stop taking pills.

  • Unfortunately like many other NCDs ,HTn cannot be cured ,once diagnosed,it can only be controlled/managed .
  • The moment treatment is withdrawn there are high possibilities HTn bounce back.

     6. My BP is controlled by Pills meaning I can continue my old life style of smoking,alcohol     consumption etc.

  • No,all these are excessive risk factors with continues excessive smoking,high alcohol consumption pills become less effective as arteries become harder & narrow with formation of plaque etc.

     7.All HTn pills have side effect and nothing can be done for that.

  • Gone are the days when HTn pills had major side effects and nothing could be done but now scenario has changed,now doctors prescribe pills which are practically without side effects.
  • But yes exceptions are there a pill which suits one might have some side effect for other,like ACE inhibitors might induce dry cough in some,but these effects are of mild nature ,do inform about even any slight change you notice.

    8.Old age means HTn.

  • Age has no specific relation to HTn.
  • There are many factors which cause hypertension-genetic,stress,lifestyle,kidney impairment,etc
  • Collecting in simple words,HTn is caused when due to some reasons heart has to work harder to pump blood to different parts of body.

   9.High cholesterol levels means definitive HTn.

  • Poor eating habits with sedentary life style may increase may increase both but not necessarily that high cholesterol means also high BP.

   10.Diabetic on insulin will become Hypertensive.

  • There was a thought years back when insulin therapy was initiated,but with improvised insulin and techniques now we know that there is no substantial base to it.

   11.I am hypertensive suffers from severe headache means stroke is about to happen.

  • No,severe headache can occur due to various reasons,though mild heaviness or mild headache can be associated with HTn.,but prolonged very high values might trigger severe headache or worse impending stroke,but then this is not always the case,individual body responds differently.
  • Remember headache is not a disease ,it  is a symptom for some underline disease.

   12.Diet has no or minimal role in managing BP.

  • DASH -Dietary approach to stop hypertension.system is now used worldwide to control blood pressure with minimal support of hypertensive pills.
  • Further information can be seen at DASH

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