Hypertension

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Given the declining situation of health in India one wonders what made the proverbial “angry young man” of Indian cinema angry! The stories on reel displayed social injustice as the common factor. The real reasons could very well be high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol that lead to all the angry and frustrated outbursts of the various characters played by the iconic actor, Amitabh Bachchan or Big B as he is popularly referred to nowadays!

Hypertension, which is another name for high blood pressure ails nearly 13.9 crore Indians. Hypertension is one of the leading risk factors for heart diseases, which has been identified as the biggest killer. More than 12lakh people die every year due to any of the following diseases – coronary heart disease, ischaemic heart disease, stroke – and many more are disabled for life.

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Blood pressure is a measurement of the flow of blood through the arteries pumped from the heart. The measurement is expressed as two values, e.g., 120/80 mmHg. The upper value (120) express the pressure of the flow of blood when the heart is in a state of contraction. The lower value (80) expresses the pressure when the muscle is in a relaxed state, in between the beat. Blood pressure is said to be high when the measurement is above 140/90 mmHg most of the time. A person who is suffering from such a medical condition is considered a hypertensive.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, if left untreated can lead to stroke, eye damage, heart attack or heart failure, and kidney failure.

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Various factors are responsible for increase in the blood pressure. The amount of water and salt in the body, the condition of the kidney, blood vessels and nervous system, along with levels of different body hormones determine the pressure of blood flow inside the arteries.

A recent study has revealed that India is home to 14% of all high blood pressure/ hypertension patients throughout the world. The World Health Organisation also suggests that while the average blood pressure is dipping across the world, in case of India it is going up. Researchers, who had attended a recent World Congress on Cardiology were of the opinion that a 25% increase in preventive screening for high blood pressure will reduce the occurrence of heart related diseases and deaths by 3% in developing countries like India.

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