DR BHARAT RAWAT/DR ABHINAV VAIDYA
KATHMANDU: Hypertension is on the rise in Nepal. A recent study showed that it has tripled in the last two decades. Repeated studies have established that one in five adults in Nepal are now suffering from hypertension, that is, altogether around 40 lakh adults might have high blood pressure. Unfortunately, most of them might not be aware of their high blood pressure status. Even those who are aware, very few have proper control of their blood pressure.
1. Danger associated with high BP
High blood pressure can cause either sudden or gradual damage to heart, kidney, brain and eyes. More than 50 per cent patients who have come with heart attack or stroke have high blood pressure. Most chronic kidney diseases occur because of long standing high pressure.
2. Pre-hypertension is a signal
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or below. A systolic blood pressure of 120 to 140 or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 90 is called pre-hypertension. Once the blood pressure is 140/90 or above, hypertension has set in and lifelong medications are mostly needed.
If your blood pressure starts touching 120/80, the dose of medicine can be carefully reduced with advice of your doctor. If blood pressure remains normal, drugs can even be stopped.
4. Side-effects of drugs
You should see a doctor if you have side-effects. However, mostly these side-effects are minor.
5. Taking drugs
In general, anti-hypertensive medications should be taken early in the morning as our blood pressure is at its maximum during the early hours. If you are taking more than one medicine for blood pressure, you can take one at bedtime as well. This can further help in keeping early morning blood pressure under control.
6. Checking blood pressure
Blood pressure should be checked at least once every two weeks. It should be checked often if blood pressure has been uncontrolled or if the medicines or dosages have been changed by the doctor.
A diet with less than 20 per cent of calories from fat will help you manage your weight, and help control blood pressure. Add more vegetables and fruits in your diet. Avoid more than one or two small alcoholic drinks in a day.
8. Yoga and meditation
Yogic exercises as well as meditation can have some positive effect on one’s overall health. However, medicines should not be stopped abruptly after starting yoga and meditation.
9. What exercise, how much?
Brisk walk daily for four to five kilometres in about 45 minutes to an hour is advised. Physical exercise is
10. How do I know my BP is
Most of the readings after the start of life-style changes and/or medications should be less than 140/90. But it should be as close as possible to 120/80 if you have diabetes or kidney disease.
11. Self check-up
You can check your own blood pressure at home with an electronic monitoring device. Periodically check your home readings against those your doctor takes to make sure your instrument is working fine. Prefer a device that fits around your arm (not wrist).
12. Low BP
If you have mild dizziness or weakness and have blood pressure of 90/60 mmHg, you may think it is because of low blood pressure. This may only denote temporary weakness, and can be solved by just lying down or taking some fluids. However, there is really no disease like chronic low blood pressure. This does not need any treatment. There are no drugs to increase your blood pressure!