Hypertension means increased pressure of blood column on your blood vessels. This can be either primary essential hypertension which does not have any specific reason, or it may be, secondary hypertension due to some other disease process in the body. 95% patients have primary essential hypertension.

Dr P P Deshmukh, associate professor of cardiology at the Super Speciality Hospital at Government Medical College speaking to TOI on the World Hypertension Day said that various causation theories for this kind of hypertension are genetic predisposition, increased water retention by body, or when body’s hormonal system called rennin angiotensin aldosteron system and sympathetic nervous system which are meant to maintain normal blood pressure are set at higher level.

Whatever be the mechanism, high blood pressure is responsible for accentuation of process called atherosclerosis which can cause narrowing of blood vessels and clot formation culminating in stroke (paralysis) or heart attack. Hypertension can also lead to kidney damage, eye damage and bleeding in the brain called intracranial haemorrhage and peripheral arterial disease. This risk increases as the age advances ,meaning thereby, it is immensely important to treat hypertension.For every 20mm rise in blood pressure, the heart attack and stroke risk is doubled and the risk rises exponentially in linear fashion as BP shoots up and similarly if blood pressure is controlled the risk comes down with equal speed.

Saying so that high BP antedates heart attack, heart failure, stoke, brain haemorrhage, eye problem ,most of the patients are unaware of the symptoms of high BP as it develops so surreptitiously and slowly that patient neglect it or it goes unnoticed. The symptoms of high BP are breathlessness on exertion, headache, and diminution of vision, palpitation that is awareness of his own heart beats, or dizziness, or chest heaviness. “I strongly recommend that you must see your doctor if you have such symptoms or otherwise also you must check your blood pressure annually after age of forty. Do not miss any health check up camps which are routinely held at various places by different organisations and hospitals,” said Dr Deshmukh.

Despite awareness and treatment, the achievement of desirable BP control is very dismal as either it is not adequately treated or patient gives up medicines as soon as he feels better. Overall incidence of high BP across the globe is plummeting but in India it is increasing. According to studies around 50% of Indian adult population is suffering from hypertension This has no longer remained the disease of rich urban population but it equally seen in rural population. This is perhaps due to adopting western food habits and lifestyle.

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