Hypertension – The silent killer


Ten Commandments to prevent it

The force of blood flow against the walls of the arteries is known as blood pressure. The term ‘Hypertension’ is used when the blood pressure remains consistently elevated over time. Hypertension or high blood pressure is referred to as a condition in which the blood pressure is always above normal level. According to the 7th Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, hypertension may be classified into 3 groups – Pre hypertension, Stage 1 Hypertension and Stage 2 Hypertension.

Classification of Blood Pressure for adults

Blood Pressure classification
Systolic Blood Pressure mmHg
Diastolic Blood Pressure Mm Hg
Normal <120 <80
Pre hypertension 120-139 80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension > 160 > 100

Hypertension - The silent killerElevated blood pressure is unsafe because it contributes to thickening of the arteries and also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and congestive heart failure.

Risk factors:

There are a variety of factors which are responsible to make a person vulnerable to high blood pressure. The aetiology of hypertension is multifactorial. Among these risk factors, some are modifiable while others are non modifiable.

Modifiable risk factors

  1. High cholesterol level: Elevated serum cholesterol is one of the most important factor that carries an increased risk for developing hypertension
  2. Tobacco consumption: Smoking has serious immediate and long term effect on blood pressure
  3. Alcohol consumption: Alcohol intake is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
  4. Overweight : Overweight individuals are at a risk of developing hypertension
  5. Lack of Physical inactivity: When compared with people who have regular physical exercise, inactive individuals have 20 to 50% more chances for developing hypertension
  6. Diabetes Mellitus: People with diabetes have a greater chance of getting hypertension
  7. High salt diet: High salt intake daily has been found to increase the blood pressure proportionately.
  8. Inadequate potassium intake: Inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables leads to inadequate potassium intake and is a determinant of high blood pressure
  9. Low dietary intake of calcium: Low dietary calcium intake is associated with an increase in hypertension
  10. Emotional stress: Hypothesis is that psychosocial factors are associated with hypertension. It can raise the blood pressure acutely.

Non modifiable risk factors

  • Age: As age increases, the chance of developing hypertension also increases
  • Gender: In the early years it is almost equal among both genders, in the middle age men are at a higher risk of developing hypertension compared to women and late in life it may be equal or sometimes the pattern gets reversed
  • Family history: Considerable evidence shows that hypertension runs in the families. A family history of hypertension is known to increase the risk of developing hypertension.

Prevention and Control of hypertension

The prevention of hypertension requires a complex mix of interventions as it is multifactorial in causation. There are certain steps by which we can reduce our risk of getting hypertension. Healthy lifestyle modifications like low fat diet, regular physical exercise, avoid smoking, chewing and alcohol consumption will help to lead a healthy life and which will inturn reduce the risk for heart diseases and cerebro vascular accidents like stroke. Therefore, dietary modification is the principal preventive strategy in the prevention of hypertension. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can reduce blood pressure by eating foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy foods. It has more daily servings of fruits, vegetables and grains.

Ten Commandments to be followed to prevent hypertension

Always maintain a healthy weight: According to your BMI
Decrease salt intake: restricted to 5grms daily
Avoid unhealthy food stuff: A healthy eating plan can both reduce the
risk of developing high blood pressure and lower a blood pressure that
is already too high. Reduce fatty food and carbohydrates. Add more
fibre, vegetables and fish curry (not fried)
Avoid use of tobacco in all forms
Avoid use of alcohol
Avoid stressful life: Meditation, Yoga and Reiki can help
Have regular physical activity: Minimum twenty minutes fast walking
Avoid consuming Saturated fat which is often found in foods from
animals, including fatty meats, the skin of poultry, and whole milk dairy
Follow DASH eating plan, chew well and eat, it can reduce your acidity also
Periodic Health check up & Regular medication


Dr. Jayakumary Muttappally Myalil, MD
Research Associate & Associate Professor – Research Division
GMU – Ajman

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