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40 per cent hike in hypertension cases: city docs

Medical experts say that fast food, lack of sleep and obesity are the main triggers for hypertension among youngsters.

A decade ago, hypertension or high blood pressure was a concern for Bengalureans who were aged above 50. But thanks to the increasingly lethargic lifestyle and stressful work environments, it is now common among youngsters too. 

With ‘World Hypertension Day’ falling on May 17, Metrolife talks to medical experts about this condition. 

Dr Chandil Gunashekar, general physician Ashok Clinic, Basavangudi, observes that a significant number of 20-year-olds now suffer from hypertension. 

“The number of cases has increased by around 40 per cent in the last decade. Cases of people suffering from both diabetes and hypertension is also rising, which is scary. Change in eating habits, easy availability of fast food through online apps and lack of exercise are the contributing factors,” he explains. 

Hypertension can be broken into two segments: essential hypertension and secondary hypertension, says Dr Sunil Havannavar, Consultant Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital. 

“Essential hypertension is not connected to any other condition. Secondary hypertension occurs because of other health problems related to the adrenaline gland, thyroid or kidney. It can also be triggered by drug addiction. In such a stage, when the underlying reason is corrected, hypertension can be controlled,” he elaborates.

Treatment of hypertension varies from patient to patient. “Not all medicines suit everyone. Depending on underlying conditions and the age group, the treatment is decided.”

He notes that in the last 10 years, there is a significant increase in cases of hypertension.

“This can also be because of increased diagnosis due to health screenings and annual checkups at workplaces. Hypertension by itself is often asymptomatic and can be detected when a regular examination for another health condition is being done,” he says. 

Dr Shylaja Shyamsunder, consultant physician, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, says that many youngsters have hypertension due to secondary causes.  

She points out high consumption of salt being one of those reasons.

“Youngsters consume a lot of food from outside; all processed food is high in salt.” 

Shylaja adds, “Of the hypertension cases that we see, almost 25 per cent are youngsters (30 to 45 years). An increase in physical activity and watch over
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a must.” 

Naturopathy, the way to go Dr B T Chidananda Murthy, chief medical officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute claims that naturopathy is the best solution for hypertension. 

He explains the various treatments.

“In natural diet therapy, the patient has to consume lemon water, tender coconut water, ash guard juice, aloe vera juice and other fruit juices. Solid diet is avoided and uncooked food, like varieties of fruits, salads, sprouts and vegetable chutneys, is encouraged. This in turn reduces the intake of salt and fat, which helps
control weight and high blood pressure.”  

Fasting therapy is suggested to some patients. “Naturopathy does not introduce chemicals into the body and dilate blood vessels. In this treatment, we encourage water intake so that excess salt is flushed out naturally. Raw food is rich in enzymes, vitamins and minerals, which helps detoxify the body and reduces permanently,” says Dr Chidananda. 

Post therapy, patients are advised to increase intake of water. He says, “Start the day with four glasses of water; make sure you have at least 3 litres of water through the day.”

He also recommends staying away from starch, high protein, and high-fat food and increasing consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables and multigrain sprouts.  

‘Today’s lifestyle needs an analysis’

“Obesity is a concern for many health conditions including hypertension. Many factors like increased intake of fast food and lack of sleep are common triggers. Fast food diet is extremely rich in salt. Odd working hours increasingly build up stress, which leads to or worsens hypertension. All of us need to do a quick analysis of
our lifestyle.”

— Dr Sunil Havannavar, Consultant Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital.

 

Points to remember

- Avoid high-salt and fatty food.

- Practise meditation to avoid stress.

- Drink around 4 litres of water every day.

- Include fruits and vegetables in diet.

- Exercise five times a week. 45 minutes to one hour of brisk walking is ideal.

 

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