Hypertension is defined as high blood pressure in the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The blood pressure is usually determined by the heart's capacity to pump blood and the health of the blood vessels. According to the medical guidelines followed worldwide, if the blood pressure in the arteries exceeds 130/80 mmHg, the condition is referred to as hypertension.
While high blood pressure has become increasingly common, several misconceptions about hypertension are prevailing.
Let us look at a few of these –
Myth 1 – Hypertension is common and not a cause for much concern.
Fact: While it is true that the modern lifestyle has made hypertension increasingly common, it is best to remember that high blood pressure is a condition that needs immediate attention. If left unchecked, High Blood Pressure can damage vital organs, including the kidney, heart, blood vessels, and even lead to a sudden heart attack or a stroke. The biggest challenge that hypertension poses is that it is often unaccompanied by symptoms, which is why hypertension is often referred to as the 'silent killer.'
Myth 2 - It is not possible to prevent hypertension
Fact: It is true that there is no cure for hypertension yet, but this does not make it a condition that cannot be prevented or managed. Doctors across the world are aiming to prevent hypertension by spreading awareness. Here are commonly accepted recommendations for those who are at risk of developing high blood pressure –
• Maintain a healthy weight and live an active lifestyle.
• Hypertension can be kept at bay by exercising regularly (30 min/day, five days a week) and leading a stress-free life.
• A healthy diet high in nutrients and low in salt and saturated fats keeps high blood pressure away.
• Quit smoking and avoid alcohol intake.
Myth 3 - Hypertension affects men, and women are rarely affected
Fact: Given the stress levels and the sedentary lifestyle of men and women these days, both genders are equally prone to developing hypertension. Post-menopause, women are more at risk of high blood pressure and Cardiac problems.
Myth 4 – Hypertension is a geriatric problem
Fact: Hypertension is often mistakenly considered a geriatric problem or a health concern for the elderly. More and more research findings are now establishing that hypertension can occur to any individual at any time. Young adults living a sedentary life and indulging in unhealthy lifestyles are at a high risk of developing high blood pressure.
Myth 5 – Hypertension is Inherited
Fact: It is often believed that 'hypertension runs in the family.' . It is one of the common misconceptions about hypertension. While the genetic propensity to develop hypertension is not in our hands, much can prevent, delay, and even manage the condition. Leading a healthy lifestyle is of prime importance. A low salt diet, fruits, vegetables, regular exercise, and stress reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation go a long way in preventing and managing hypertension despite genetics.
Myth 6 –Hypertension Medicines can be stopped if the blood pressure is normal
Fact: It is also one of the misconceptions about hypertension. Doctors usually monitor a patient for a considerable time before diagnosing hypertension. They also take the patient's lifestyle and medical history into account. Once the patient is started on the medicines, the blood pressure usually stabilizes and comes back to normal. It would be a mistake to stop medicines at this time. While the effect of medicines may last over weeks, hypertension again crops up. Since its symptoms are silent, it can damage vital organs like the heart, brain, and kidney. Skipping medicines can lead to irreversible organ damage.
Myth 7 –Wine is good for health; it keeps hypertension at bay
Fact: Earlier, people used to consume red wine in small quantities to maintain Cardiac Health. Recent studies, however, reveal that alcohol in any form has no beneficial value and is best avoided.
Also Read: What is Monkeypox, and How Does It Spread?
Hypertension is a severe condition, and you must take the necessary steps on time to reduce the irreversible impact on body organs. Instead of believing all the widespread myths, it is better to consult a medical practitioner and follow all the advice without fail.
Q. WHO hypertension facts?
A. According to WHO, nearly 46% of adults are unaware of having hypertension. Only 42% of the people with this condition get proper diagnosis and treatment. In addition, only 21% of people have their condition under control. In today’s scenario, hypertension is the primary cause of unalarmed and premature death globally.
Q. Why is hypertension known as the silent killer?
A. Hypertension does not show a clear and distinctive symptom. Many people with this condition remain unaware until their BP shoots very high, resulting in sudden heart failure, stroke, and other fatal illnesses.
Q. Can hypertension be cured naturally?
A. There is no cure for hypertension. People can only manage their condition correctly by eating a healthy diet that has low fat and sodium, drinking sufficient water, regular exercise, taking sound sleep, etc.
Q. Can drinking lots of water help lower blood pressure?
A. Drinking water is the easiest way to manage high BP. A sufficient amount of water helps flush out sodium and toxins from the body, reducing blood pressure.
Q. What is the leading cause of high blood pressure?
A. High blood pressure builds over time. An unhealthy lifestyle with limited physical movement and obesity are common reasons for hypertension.
Q. Why does blood pressure increase at night?
A. Spike in blood pressure at night occurs due to the body’s need to excrete extra sodium content from the body.