World Hypertension Day is observed annually on May 17, worldwide by the World Hypertension League (WHL). This year’s WHD theme is ‘Know Your Numbers’ and it mainly targets to educate the public and increase awareness of the importance of measuring periodic blood pressure, and knowing its normal levels, acknowledging methods of early prevention of high blood pressure and highlighting the prevalence of high blood pressure in society.

Blood pressure is chiefly determined both by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance the arteries subject to the blood flow. The more blood the heart pumps and the narrower the arteries, the higher is the blood pressure. The health day is mainly organized by the World Hypertension League (WHL) which is an umbrella organization composed of 85 hypertension societies and leagues from all over the world.
World Hypertension Day, May 17

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Labelled as a ‘silent killer’, Hypertension or High Blood Pressure is a common heart anomaly tormenting almost 45% of the world populace wherein the arterial blood pressure increases to elevated levels ultimately leading to heart attacks, strokes, dementia, coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney failure and even death if left untreated. Although there can be plenty of contributors towards high blood pressure, the most common ones include sedentary lifestyle, excessive sodium intake, family history, obesity, age, lifestyle habits, smoking, stress, etc.

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An optimum blood pressure reading is 120/80 mm Hg (i.e., mercury); where the upper number indicates the systolic pressure (i.e., pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and gets filled with blood) and the lower number cites the diastolic pressure (i.e., pressure in the arteries when the heart is in a resting phase in between two beats). The higher the force of the blood, the more the arteries stretch and allow blood to pass through it. When this force is constantly high for a longer time duration, the tissues that make the wall of the arteries stretch far beyond their healthy limit, and therefore, get damaged.

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Even though, the prevalence of high blood pressure is increasing with time, yet it is still widely misunderstood. Hence, it is extremely necessary to have full knowledge regarding this silent disease to help one prevent this condition from damaging the health of oneself, or the health of a loved one.

Let this article aware you of five such persistent myths associated with hypertension.

Unmask The Common Misconceptions About High Blood Pressure

Myth #1:

My high blood pressure isn’t that serious because I don’t feel sick


Absolutely Wrong! High blood pressure is a silent disease, it does not exhibit any symptom and hence one can never feel anything even though it silently causes damage to your body and increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and other serious health problems when left untreated for a long time.

Myth #2:

High blood pressure is just a part of getting older


False. While it is true that the risk of high blood pressure is incidentally more in older adults, it can also occur in middle-aged and young adults. It can surely increase with age, but it is not a result of the normal aging process. It is a concerning health issue that requires ongoing monitoring and treatment.

Myth #3:

Since I started taking high blood pressure medications, my blood pressure has become normal so I don’t need the medication anymore


Totally Erroneous! A common mistake most people make is that they stop taking their medications as soon as they notice that their blood pressure reading is normal and don’t take it regularly to keep it under control. In most cases, high blood pressure is a life-long condition that requires regular monitoring and proper treatment to keep it under check. Hence, a decision to stop taking medications or reduce it must only be taken after prior doctor’s approval when it is confirmed as the best course of action.

Myth #4:

Cutting out on table salt can control my sodium intake and eliminate my high blood pressure


Partially True! Cutting back on salt is actually a good step for overall health, but not the only dietary change one needs to make to help lower the blood pressure. But controlling sodium intake means more than just putting down the salt shaker. It also means checking the labels of the various food items while purchasing, because according to studies, up to 75 percent of the sodium we consume is hidden in processed foods like chips, tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and readymade mixes. Doctors strictly recommend people with high blood pressure to follow the DASH diet for best results.

Myth #5:

Hypertension is totally curable


Partially True! While it is true many people can keep high blood pressure in check by losing excess weight, changing their diet, increasing their physical activity, reducing alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and taking proper medications, but currently there is no permanent cure for hypertension. One must continue to follow those lifestyle changes even when the blood pressure readings are normal to always keep it under control.