Hypertension: India’s silent killer affects young and old alike

NEW DELHI: Fast-moving lifestyles, unearthly hours at work, stress, addiction to alcohol and unhealthy meals are making more and more Indians fall prey to high blood pressure at a very young age.

It is a matter of concern that its prevalence is rapidly increasing among younger generation because they are not aware that they suffer from this silent killer.

The biggest problem with High blood pressure (BP) is that there are no symptoms. Thus people tend to be unaware that they have hypertension. In fact, hypertension is the most prevalent chronic disease in India.

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In India, experts say a large number of people are in the pre-hypertension category – BP of 130/90 against the normal range of 120/90. People with BP of above 140/90 are considered to be in the hypertension category.

The prevalence of hypertension ranges from 20-40 percent in urban adults and 12-17 percent among rural adults.

Experts estimate that the number of patients in India with high BP is likely to rise from about 140 million in 2008 to nearly 215 million by 2030 along with an increase in the risk of complications such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems and other serious illnesses.

High BP is, however, both preventable and treatable.

For many people, lifestyle changes such as cutting down on salt, eating a balanced diet, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, getting regular exercise and avoiding tobacco use are sufficient to control blood pressure.

For others, medication is required, which is effective when taken as prescribed.

Experts says that a simple measure like restricting the salt intake per person to less than five grams per day and half an hour of exercise can help control hypertension that is assuming epic proportions in the country.

With IANS inputs

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