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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

World Hypertension Day: Managing hypertension during a global health crisis

As the world reels under the effects of COVID-19, people with high blood pressure are more prone to facing severe complications.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Published: May 17, 2020 10:00:19 am
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This year, we celebrate World Hypertension Day with the expanded theme ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer’ to increase awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure (BP) for people around the world. Organsied by World Hypertension League (WHL), while celebrating the World Hypertension Day (WHD) 2020 has been postponed until October 17, it becomes important for every individual to remember to take precautionary measures against hypertension.

As the world reels under the effects of COVID-19, people with high blood pressure are more prone to facing severe complications. Many of the elderly are found with hypertension, which makes them more susceptible to COVID-19, mentioned Dr Sudha, head, health and travel, Digit Insurance.

Hypertension or high blood pressure has always been counted among serious medical conditions in India, which significantly increases the risk of heart, kidney, brain and other diseases. A majority of the population suffers from stress, unhealthy food habits, or some possess hereditary tendencies, all of which can lead to hypertension. That is why in 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) had named hypertension as the world’s number one killer.

In 2017, as per the National Family Health Survey, one in eight Indians suffer from hypertension, which translates to 207 million people (men 112 million; women 95 million). The Global Burden of Disease study had also reported that hypertension led to 1.63 million deaths in India in 2016 and is directly responsible for 57 per cent stroke and 24 per cent of coronary heart disease deaths in India. Thus, these surveys indicate that high blood pressure remains a prominent cause of premature deaths in India.

At this critical time, it becomes important for everyone to manage hypertension and start changing their lifestyle.

Health tips to follow

Maintain health with proper diet

Experts and doctors recommend different treatments for blood pressure patients. For a few, they might suggest a change in their eating habits to include food that is rich in potassium, i.e. bananas, oranges, spinach, broccoli, etc, to reduce blood pressure. Bananas can be included in the diet through cereals, smoothies, shakes, etc.

Avoid salt and fat

low salt intake, less sodium intake, low salt in food, less salt in diet, hypertension, causes of hypertension, Indian express, Indian express news Pay close attention to your salt intake. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

It becomes mandatory for blood pressure patients to consume less salt as the consumption of sodium can cause a spike in blood pressure.

Get enough physical exercise

One must exercise at least 30 minutes a day. The more one exercises, the easier it becomes to control one’s blood pressure. Even moderate exercise for 30 minutes four times a week will bring about changes in one’s body.

Monitor your blood pressure

high blood pressure, covid 19 Keep your blood pressure under control during the pandemic. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Family history and genetics are common risk factors for most diseases. People prone to certain conditions might not be able to avoid them entirely, but they can delay the onset with proper diet, exercise and by drinking enough water. Such people must monitor their blood pressure regularly. Also, those with hypertension should check their eyesight, kidney and heart regularly.

Taking medicines regularly

Hypertension patients should be regular with their medications even if their blood pressure levels are normal. For any changes in the medication, they should always consult a doctor, but not stop the current medication.

Invest in a health plan

The rise in medical costs makes it hard for a family to take care of medical expenses due to hospitalisation, medication, bills, etc. Thus, buying health insurance plans will safeguard you and your family.

Most health insurers cover hypertension-related problems, except if hypertension has been caught early in life or it is longstanding for 10 to 15 years. Also, if multiple organs have been affected due to hypertension, a health insurance policy might not cover the individual. If you invest in the insurance plan at the right time, there are chances that your premium will be low. So, if you or anyone in your family is suffering from hypertension, take extra care during this global health crisis.

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