Hypertension a growing health problem for Pakistanis


Hypertension or high blood pressure, an asymptomatic disease and one of the commonest chronic ones, affects one out of every three Pakistanis over the age of 45 years.
Talking to APP on Monday, doctors said that high blood pressure is a major health problem in Pakistan, as more than half of the people over the age of 65 are estimated to be hypertensive.
They observed with concern that more than 50 percent of the patients do not have a clear concept about the treatment of high blood pressure.
Dr Almas Khan said that high blood pressure, a health condition in itself, is also the root cause for several other serious diseases.
“Yet a large majority of the people consider no need for a long-term treatment for the condition and, therefore, are exposed to high risk,” she commented.
Dr Shiraz supplementing his colleague said that high blood pressure must be taken seriously, as it is a “silent killer”.
Elaborating his stance, the general physician said that the silent killer equally affects the heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and peripheral arteries of the person with high blood pressure.
He opined that the most significant step towards decreasing the enormous morbidity and mortality due to high blood pressure is to make sure that every person who comes in contact with a healthcare provider has his or her blood pressure checked.
Dr Abbas Rizwan recommended the need to launch a comprehensive outreach programme to improve high blood pressure control nationwide.
He stressed that high blood pressure must be diagnosed and treated appropriately and for the very purpose, blood pressure must be monitored carefully and correctly.
“Only three percent of Pakistani patients with high blood pressure have their blood pressure appropriately controlled,” he said.
The physicians, highlighting the importance of proper management of the condition, were unanimous that once a person has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first thing required to be done is bringing about changes in lifestyle.
Reduction in body weight and adoption of an eating plan that comprises foods mainly containing minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium, besides fibre, are said to be crucial.
Restricted consumption of dietary sodium (salt), regular exercises, moderation in alcohol consumption, smoking cessation are also said to be extremely relevant.
“It is after these prerequisites that drug therapy plays its role, which again depends upon the severity of high blood pressure,” said Dr Almas.