World Hypertension Day – 17th May 2013

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Theme: Healthy Heart  Beat – Healthy Blood Pressure
By Dr. Ksh. Kala Singh

Every year 17th May is dedicated to World Hypertension Day (WHD). This is an initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL), an umbrella organization of 85 national hypertension societies and leagues.

The world hypertension Day was 1st inaugurated in May 2005 and has become an annual event ever since. The purpose of the WHD is to promote Public awareness of hypertension and to encourage Citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic. In other words, World Hypertension Day has been established to highlight the preventable stroke, heart and kidney disease caused by high blood pressure and to communicate to the public information on prevention, detection and treatment. The world hypertension league recognized that more than 50% of the hypertensive population worldwide are unaware of their condition. So for awareness of  Hypertension, we must do different activities such as newspaper articles, media coverage, rallies, Public forums & mass public physical activities, as well as involvement of politicians, Policy makers, popular public figures, NGO’s and Clubs etc.

The theme for 2013 is Healthy Heart Beat – Healthy Blood Pressure

HEALTHY HEART BEAT

The average adult heart beats 72 times a minutes; 1 lac times a day. We can count our pulse by palpating on the wrist joint. The pulse will irregular, increase or decrease according to various physiological and pathological conditions. Irregularity will occur in different heart diseases like Hypertension, Rheumatic Heart disease, Heart block and cardiomyopathy etc. In such conditions when the pulse is irregular we call it atrial fibrillation or arrhythmias. Symptoms of arrhythmias range from feeling an irregular beat in your chest, to tiredness, fainting or absolutely nothing. When the heart is not pumping well, blood clots can form in the heart and travel to the brain causing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation are usually intermittent, often recurring and may become permanent. It is very common in among older patients. The combination of having atrial fibrillation and hypertension both significantly increase the risk of stroke.

The World Hypertension League executive board felt that it is important to improve the public  awareness   about atrial fibrillation – arrhythmias. In order to make it easier for the public to understand they have used the simple terminology – Heart Beat. A Healthy Heart Beat means a heart having normal beat/contraction and causing no discomfort to the body.

HEALTHY BLOOD PRESSURE

Blood Pressure is merely the Pressure that the Blood exerts on the blood vessels, while circulating. It is measured with an instrument called Sphygmomanometer. The average Blood Pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If it is       120-139/80-89 mmHg, it is Prehypertension. When it reaches 140/90 mmHg, it is called Stage I Hypertension. Healthy Blood Pressure in an adult means having normal Blood Pressure of 120/80 mmHg without causing any discomfort to our body. Healthy Blood Pressure will help to maintain a healthy heart rhythm.

There are two types of hypertension, Essential (Primary) & Secondary. The exact etiology of Primary is unknown and there are definitely causes in Secondary hypertension. Many factors are responsible for the Primary Cause. They are.

a) Hereditary :- Most experts believe that hereditary does play a role in causing high blood pressure.

b) Excess intake of Salt :- That an excessive intake of common salt (Sodium Chloride) elevates the blood pressure is an indisputable.

c) Mental tension and approach :- All researchers accept the role of mental tension and negative thinking in the development of blood Pressure.

d) Obesity (Excessive Weight):- The incidence of high blood Pressure is 2 ½ times more in obese than in normal personal.

e) Sedentary life :- The incidence of high blood pressure is much higher in sedentary persons than in Physical labourers.

f) Smoking :- The incidence of high blood Pressure has been found to be higher in smokers. Smokers more often fall Victims to atherosclerosis, heart attack and cerebral hemorrhages.

g) Alcohol Consumption :- The incidence of high  blood pressure in drinking is 2 ½ times higher than that in non – drinkers.

h) Age :- High blood pressure is common in older age group.

Prevalence : One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure. The proportion increases with age from 1 in 10 people in their 20s & 30s to 5 in 10 people in their 50s. 70 million Americans and 1 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure. The global burden of hypertension is rising and Projected to affect 1.5 billion persons, one third of the world’s population by the year 2025.

In India, it was reported on 1995 from Jaipur, the incidence of Hypertension was 30% in male and 33% in female. Again on 1999 the incidence at Mumbai was 44% in male and 45% in Female. In Manipur there is no clear cut study report but many Hypertensive patients are brought to the hospitals with severe complications.

Signs and Symptoms

High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it often does not produce any signs or symptoms to some patients. Patient may have headache, dizziness or nosebleeding, palpitation, muscle cramps, giddiness, burning of eyes, distended neck veins, insomnia, neck pain & vertigo. But some patients have high blood pressure for years without every knowing it. Sign and symptoms typically don’t occur until high blood pressure has advanced to a higher possibility of life threatening-stage.

Hazards of High Blood Pressure

In patients of high blood  pressure the blood vessels are thickened, hard and brittle. This disorder is term atherosclerosis. Heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, cerebral haemorrhage (stroke) and retinal haemorrhage are the natural consequences of high blood pressure. Also it shortens the life and drags its victim to a premature death.

Prevention of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is preventable and treatable. The old adage, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ is especially true for high blood pressure.

• Reducing salt intake 2-4 gms/day, avoid salty foods as much as possible.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Eating a balance diet. Cut down on foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. These are mainly found in fast foods, ready to eat packaged foods and restaurant foods.

• Eat more fruits and vegetables.

• Avoiding harmful use of alcohol.

• Taking regular physical activity at least 1 hr per day as gardening, walking etc.

• Avoid tobacco use. Smoking is major cause of death and disability.

• Control Blood cholesterol and blood sugar.

• Sound sleep at night. Sleep 2 hrs gap after dinner.

The ultimate goal of World Hypertension Day observation is to give awareness of the consequences of Hypertension to the General Population, so that we can prevent, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, retinal haemorrhage and atherosclerosis.

– LOVE   YOUR   HEART .   HEART   IS   YOUR   LIFE –

(Dr. Ksh. Kala Singh is the Secretary of The Manipur Heart Care Society, Imphal)

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