Doctors at Aster Hospitals and Clinics advise people to undergo early screening to diagnose for hypertension as delayed diagnosis would lead to irreversible chronic conditions
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high, putting extra strain on the heart and blood vessels. Hypertension is a silent killer, as it often goes undiagnosed until it causes serious health problems. That’s why World Hypertension Day is celebrated on May 17 every year to raise awareness about this preventable and treatable disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for more than 17 million deaths each year. Hypertension is also a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of their hypertension status, which can lead to serious complications.
Dr Abdul Rauoof Malik, Specialist Cardiologist at Aster Hospital, Al Qusais says, “Hypertension is a silent disease that can go unnoticed for years. That’s why regular blood pressure screening is essential to detect and treat high blood pressure early.”
The symptoms of hypertension are often subtle and can easily be missed. Some people may experience headaches, dizziness, or shortness of breath, while others may not have any symptoms at all. That’s why hypertension is often called the silent killer.
Dr Feras Orabi, Specialist Cardiologist at Aster Clinic, Arabian Ranches & Al Khail Mall, Al Quoz, says, “ If left untreated, hypertension can damage several tissues and organs of the body like heart, kidneys, eyes, brain, etc leading to complications like myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure that can be severe or even life-threatening. Unfortunately, many patients do not realize they have high blood pressure until they develop serious health problems from such complications. That’s why early detection and treatment are crucial.
Prevention is better than cure, and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help prevent hypertension. This includes eating a healthy diet that’s low in salt, fat, and cholesterol, as well as getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can also help prevent hypertension.
Dr Srinivasan Ravindranath, Specialist Cardiologist at Aster Clinic, Muteena, Deira, says, “Diet plays a crucial role in managing hypertension. Patients should aim to eat a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. They should also avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and foods high in salt content or saturated and trans fats.”
Regular blood pressure screening is important for early detection of hypertension. Blood pressure measurements are taken using a sphygmomanometer, which measures the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries. When blood pressure readings are 130/80 mmHg or less, it is considered to be normal, but when the readings are more than 130/80 mmHg, they are considered high.
Dr Yogeeswari Vellore Satyanarayana, Specialist Cardiologist at Aster Hospital, Sharjah says, “Screening for hypertension should be a routine part of healthcare for all adults, especially those with a family history of high blood pressure or other risk factors like obesity, diabetes, or smoking.”
Dr Naveed Ahmed, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Aster Hospital, Mankhool, says, “Hypertension is a manageable disease, and with the right treatment in time, most people can control their blood pressure and reduce their risk of complications. This includes lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy diet and exercise regimen, as well as medications prescribed by a doctor.”
There are several classes of medications that can be used to treat hypertension, including diuretics, renin-angiotensin system antagonists, calcium channel blockers and diuretics to name a few. Each one of these classes of medication have its indications and contraindications and the decision to select an agent for your high BP is best left to the doctor.
Your doctor will decide about the medication most appropriate for your BP based on your overall clinical profile and some basic laboratory tests. It is important to realise that simply taking a BP pill may not be enough to achieve the benefit of hypertension treatment. Rather, the most important thing is to control your BP enough to reach the BP control target level. Many people do not realize this and therefore do not take adequate steps to control blood pressure.
Finally, it is high time to clear a common myth about hypertension treatment – that once you start BP medication, you get addicted. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Hypertension medications are not addictive at all. The reason why hypertension medications are given for longer periods, sometimes lifelong, is that for most of the patients, hypertension itself is not a curable condition. However, with the available medications, it can be effectively controlled and that is all that matters. Patients with properly controlled BP can expect a normal life free of complications. The currently available medications are safe and effective, but patients need to be compliant and be regular with medication to get benefited from the treatment.
— For more information or book an appointment, call 04 4400500