World hypertension day is observed on may 17 across the world. According to the indian journal of medical research, while the prevalence of hypertension or high blood pressure is significantly high in India, the level of awareness about this disease is quite low.
All the reports available so far indicate that people who suffer from hypertension and other types of comorbidity have a higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and a higher chance of dying from it.
Despite a great prevalence of this disease, in India, only about 10-20% of adults are diagnosed and are receiving treatment to reduce the risks that are brought by hypertension. The major causes for this are a lack of awareness and fewer screening facilities.
According to research conducted in large cities and rural areas, – the prevalence of awareness of hypertension is only in a quarter of rural and two-fifths of urban Indians, and only a quarter and a third of those identified in rural and urban India receive treatment for it.
World Hypertension Day 2020: Theme
The theme of WHD for the past five years has been ‘Know Your Numbers’ with the goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world. But this year the theme for World Hypertension Day 2020 is Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer.
The theme was selected with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world.
High blood pressure can increase your risk of severe symptoms if you get COVID-19.
Hypertension can be caused by both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. The modifiable ones include consumption of tobacco and alcohol, obesity, consumption of unhealthy diets, intake of excessive sodium, obesity, lack of physical activity and stress while the non-modifiable risk factors include age, family history of the disease and other medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease or cardiovascular disease.
The older you are, the higher the risk of high blood pressure and other chronic conditions like:
- Chronic lung disease and moderate to severe asthma
- Serious heart conditions
- Chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis
- Liver diseases
- Being immuno-compromised
- Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
How to Control Blood Pressure
- Adhere to a good lifestyle; follow a healthy diet and keep yourself physically active by exercising.
- Avoid excess salt in your food.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium like spinach, broccoli, apricots, raisins and dates.
- Drink three to four litres of water daily to remain hydrated.
- Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine to keep your blood pressure levels in check.
- If you are unable to control blood pressure, consult your doctor without delay.
Do blood pressure medicines increase COVID-19 risk?
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine stated that blood pressure medicines do not put you at more risk of contracting the virus. Besides, on March 17, 2020, the American Heart Association, Heart Failure Society of America and the American College of Cardiology issued a joint statement to confirm that one should not stop taking the prescribed medicines for blood pressure. “These medications don’t increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. They are vital to maintaining your blood pressure levels to reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and worsening heart disease,” the guidelines read.