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Dr Varun Bansal

Controlling weight, exercising regularly can prevent hypertension

The rising prevalence of hypertension among all age groups has become a major concern. Hypertension can lead to cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney diseases and strokes. The greatest concern is that it is taking youngsters in its grip. However, it can be prevented if one follows a healthy lifestyle such as controlling weight and regular weight. Drug Today Medical Times spoke to Dr Varun Bansal, Consultant, Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital to know about hypertension and various issues associated with it.

DTMT: Today is World Hypertension Day. What would be your advice to our readers to stay healthy and prevent this chronic condition?

Dr Bansal: My message is that one should have a better lifestyle from childhood. This will decrease the chances of developing hypertension. Early diagnosis is crucial. People should maintain an ideal weight and get their blood pressure checked if they have a family history of high blood pressure.

DTMT: In layman's language how would you define hypertension?  

Dr Bansal: Hypertension is a chronic problem. If it remains uncontrolled it can harm overall health in the long term as the risk of heart diseases and chronic kidney diseases increases.

DTMT: It is seen that many patients stop taking medicines in the middle of the treatment. How do you observe it?

Dr Bansal: If a patient is counselled properly he or she can continue to take medicines to manage hypertension. Awareness of hypertension is crucial. Many patients are reluctant to take the medicines initially but if they are advised properly they don’t stop taking them as they feel the impact of medicine.

DTMT: How serious is hypertension?

Dr Bansal: It is a very serious problem. If it is not controlled at the right time it can affect blood vessels of the entire body which can result in the occurrence of strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems.

You might have seen patients taking dialysis. This is the result of the chronic effects of hypertension.

DTMT: How does it affect the kidney?

Dr Bansal: High blood pressure for a long time can damage blood vessels. Because of this, it can affect the brain, kidneys or heart.

DTMT: What are its symptoms?

Dr Bansal: Its symptoms are very few due to which it is called the silent killer. Some patients complain of backside headaches while some complain of irritation and weakness.

DTMT: What are its risk factors?

Dr Bansal: Family history is a major risk factor for hypertension. Those who have a family history of hypertension have a high risk of developing hypertension. Poor lifestyle and being overweight can be other risk factor. Eating fast and processed food which is in salt is another risk factor.

Stress is one of the major contributing factors to hypertension. Those who are not engaged in routine exercise activities, also have a risk of developing the problem.

DTMT: Is it largely being seen in youngsters?

Dr Bansal: Earlier it used to be seen in older people but these days it is being seen in youngsters too due to poor lifestyle and stress. We see several patients less than 40 years.

DTMT: Does one need to take medicine for a long time?

Dr Bansal:No it is not. If anyone has high blood pressure and manages to reduce his weight and he continues to do regular exercises there are chances his medicine intake may decrease and in some cases, he can also stop it but it depends on the clinical scenario and how people manage and improve their lifestyle. If lifestyle is not improved there is no chance of stopping medicine.

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