Change lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure, say docs

  • Blood pressure higher than 130/80 mmHg is considered to be hypertension

Kathmandu, May 21

Many youths in the country are suffering from high blood pressure due to sedentary lifestyle, intake of junk food, stress and lack of physical fitness,  according to doctors.

“Of the total patients visiting hospitals, about 15 to 20 per cent belong to the 20 to 40 years age group. They are suffering from hypertension,” said Dr Sachin Dhungel, assistant professor of cardiology at Patan Academy of Health Sciences.

Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2016 showed that 17 per cent women and 23 per cent of men aged 15 years and older had hypertension at the time of the survey when data was collected from June 19, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

Hypertension is more prevalent in Province 4 (24 per cent among females and 31 per cent among males) than in other provinces. The rate of hypertension is found to be higher among tobacco users (16 per cent females and 20 per cent males) than among those who do not consume tobacco (10 per cent females and 13 per cent males).

The rate is about twice the national average among obese women (38 per cent) and men (54 per cent).

“High blood pressure is more common among younger men, and it should be taken just as seriously as occurrence among their older counterparts. It shouldn’t be taken as an old man’s disease,” said the doctor. Hypertension is also affecting the renal system among youths. “There is proportional relation between renal diseases and high blood pressure. A problem in one affects the other. Unmanaged hypertension can lead to complications and increase the risk of heart diseases, stroke and eye problems,” said Dr Dhungel. The guidelines issued by American Heart Association in November 2017 defined hypertension as a condition where blood pressure is higher than 130 over 80 millimetres of Mercury (mm-Hg). Earlier, blood pressure above 140/80 mmHg was considered high blood pressure.

“You can have high blood pressure for years without any symptom. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues,” said the doctor.

“People diagnosed with high blood pressure are reluctant to take medicines due to the fear that the medicines once started should be continued for long. However, it is necessary to control one’s blood pressure and take medicines to save other organs,” added Dr Dhungel.

Eating healthy food items, staying physically fit, avoiding or managing stressful conditions, giving up smoking and alcohol can help prevent high blood pressure among people from all age groups, according to the doctor.