The Silent Killer


Name one thing that everyone in a family gives to each other except for love? And when the question comes on to husband and wife this particular thing even exceeds love at times? Don’t put so much stress on your mind. Let me tell you that the thing is nothing else but tension. Seeing each other not listening, or not completing the given work the opponent gets tension and then all the yelling, getting upset and everything begins. So here is how to keep the tension at bay.


Worldwide about 12.8 per cent of total deaths is due to raised blood pressure. Raised blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and ischaemic as well as hemorrhagic stroke. Every individual has blood pressure which is necessary to move blood through arteries and to provide oxygen to the tissues of the body. Hypertension is elevated blood pressure, hypertension is a condition with systolic pressure exceeds 140 mm Hg and diastolic pressure exceeds 90 mm Hg. With diastolic pressure of 100 or more therapy should be initiated with medications as well as diet. High blood pressure is not a disease but only a symptom indicating that some underlying disease is progressing.


According to a NNMB survey (2005-2006) the overall prevalence of hypertension is more than or equal to 140 mm Hg systolic blood pressure and more than or equal to 90 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure was about 25 per cent among men and 24 per cent in women. The prevalence tended to increase with age from 13.6 percent among 20-30 years group to 54.4 percent among more than or equal to 80 year age group.


The prevalence is high among the adults, who are overweight/obese (48 percent) when compared to normal (26 percent). There are more hypertensive people in urban areas than in villages. When genetic predisposition causes hypertension it is called primary hypertension. High BP caused by illness or medication is called secondary hypertension. When the cause of hypertension is unknown, it is called essential hypertension.


Hypertension impairs the pumping function of the heart and if untreated damages the heart, brain and kidneys. Stroke occurs more often in patients with high blood pressure.


Many people with hypertension have no symptoms. Headache, dizziness, impaired vision, failing memory, shortness of breath, pain over the heart, gastrointestinal disturbance and unexplained tiredness are some of the symptoms. Too much blood pressure can weaken the blood vessel wall. It causes bulges and ruptures as well as damage delicate organs like heart, eyes or the kidney that receive the blood flow. It can force the heart to work harder contributing to eventual heart failure.


Low calorie, low fat, low sodium diet with normal protein intake is prescribed. An obese patient must be reduced to normal body weight with low calorie diet. About 20kcal/kg of ideal body weight are prescribed for a sedentary worker and 25 kcal/kg of body weight for moderately active workers. Alcohol consumption should be reduced.


There should be a big restriction on the salt intake;from processed foods and natural foods; processed foods should be chosen instead. Recipes should be prepared from scratch. No usage of salt, monosodium glutamate, baking powder, sodium bicarbonate and sodium benzoate. There should be no usage of pickles, canned foods. Fresh chutneys have less salt compared to pickles.


Taste of food can be improved by adding herbs, garlic, mint, coriander leaves and spices using basmati rice. Masalas should be made at home with restricted salt usage. In India the nutrition label on the packet contains details about calories and trans fat but not salt. Sometimes multigrain bread contains more salt to increase shelf life.

DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, suggested diet, brings about a healthy reduction in blood pressure; it suggests


Intake of high amounts of fruits and vegetables; inclusion of low fat milk, fish; reduction of fat intake and sodium. Studies have shown that high intake of fruits and vegetables result in low mortality among those with stroke.


Person should engage in regular aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking (at least 30 mins per day, most days). Limit to not more than 2 drinks per day (only for the regular drinkers), as it has a positive effect on platelet function and on the lipid profile also.


Thanks Giving

This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Shrushti Mehta.

We thank her for her research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about health and nutrition being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.

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