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Indian Doctor Shares Why Hypertension Becoming Silent Killer Worldwide

© AP Photo / Jenny KaneIn this Aug. 8, 2020, photo a pulse oximeter that is used to check a patients oxygen saturation level hangs next to a blood pressure cuff at a hospital in Portland, Ore.
In this Aug. 8, 2020, photo a pulse oximeter that is used to check a patients oxygen saturation level hangs next to a blood pressure cuff at a hospital in Portland, Ore. - Sputnik India, 1920, 17.05.2023
World Hypertension Day is celebrated every year on May 17 to combat alarmingly low awareness rates regarding hypertension. This year's theme is "Accurately Monitor Your Blood Pressure, Take Control, and Increase Your Lifespan."
An estimated 1.28 billion adults around the world, aged 30–79, have hypertension; of these 46% of the adults are unaware that they have the condition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) report said.
Hypertension is high blood pressure in the blood vessels reaching 130/90 mm Hg or above, which triggers serious health issues like heart attacks, brain hemorrhage, kidney failure, poor eyesight, and others.
Calling Hypertension “a silent killer,” Dr. Tarun Sahni, Senior Consultant on Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi told Sputnik that it is one of the major risk factors that silently damages the organs if not treated on time. It leads to the death of around 10 million people annually.
“A lot of patients show up in the emergency with a heart condition or brain hemorrhage, the biggest reason for their medical emergency has been found to be hypertension. Some of the patients are younger, look fit, and never reported a medical condition before,” Dr. Sahni said.

Present scenario of hypertension in India

Dr. Sahni shared the overall prevalence of hypertension in India is projected to be about 30%.
“30% of the one billion [plus] population is a large number,” Dr. Sahni noted.
Referring to another study, Dr. Sahni added that around 51% of men have hypertension compared to women, and that it increases with age.
“At the age of 18 to 29, the percentage of people with hypertension was only 22%. But when you go to the 40 to 59 age group, the incidence has gone up to 55%. Those who are 75 and above, there is a percentage of almost 60% of people with hypertension,” he said.
According to his analysis, people living in rural areas have a lower incidence of high blood pressure compared to those living in urban areas.
The WHO has said that one of the global targets for non-communicable diseases is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 33% between 2010 and 2030.

What’s causing the rise in Hypertension?

High blood pressure has been blamed on stressful and sedentary lifestyles, obesity, too much drinking, smoking, and heredity; these risk factors are likely to be directly linked to causing hypertension.
“The way people's lifestyles are changing, there remains a strong possibility that the incidence of hypertension will go up. We should be careful and try to stop hypertension from happening,” Dr. Sahni said.
The Common Misconception
Having treated so many patients with hypertension, Dr. Sahni told Sputnik that more than 80% of people with the condition have no symptoms of it at all.
“The biggest misconception people have is to believe that you will have symptoms before you are diagnosed to have hypertension. They walk into the OPD for something else, and then they realize that he or she has hypertension. So, don't believe that I have no symptoms, so I don't have hypertension."
"After a certain age and time, it's always good to see your doctor and get your blood pressure checked in case you have hypertension or has a family history of it,” Dr. Sahni explained.

Symptoms Go Unnoticed

The most prominent symptoms of hypertension are severe headache and the inability to sleep, which, Dr. Sahni shared, people tend to ignore and prefer to take painkillers.
“Some of these patients who come to us with complaints of headache, they don’t realize that it could be due to hypertension. It's an incidental finding, when they come for some other medical problem, and later diagnosed with hypertension,” Dr. Sahni.
Hence, doctors recommend people, especially the elderly, to undergo regular check-ups and get their blood pressure monitored.
While less than half of adults (42%) with hypertension are diagnosed and treated, approximately one in five adults who live with it (21%) have it under control.


Taking an effort to remain stress-free is another way to prevent hypertension.
“Stress-induced hypertension is a big risk. If there is stress at home, try and mitigate the stress at home. And if you find that you're unable to manage and handle stress on your own, take advice from experts, psychiatrists, or psychologists in managing your stress,” Dr. Sahni said.
For young people, who are freshly diagnosed with hypertension, Dr. Sahni added that lifestyle modification is the major backbone for managing hypertension, irrespective of whether we want medication or not.
The lifestyle modifications include exercise, diet, proper sleeping, proper eating, simultaneously reducing additional salt, and cutting down drinking alcohol to once or twice a week.
“Foods that are rich in fat, sugar, and salt should be avoided because they will add to your body weight which adds to hypertension. Even potato chips, salted peanuts, and pickles that are high in salt should be avoided,” Dr. Sahni concluded.