MBBS MD(General Medicine), Department of Medicine, CIHSR
Hypertension is one of the most common disease prevalent in our society. However,the main concern for we doctors about hypertension today is not the disease but the many misconception our people has about hypertension which has drawn our attention towards clarifying exactly what is true and what is not true about hypertension. Misconception about hypertension has been a huge concern for us as it has played a major role in in the increased incidence of deaths and hospitalization in hypertensive patients.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions and questions I get to hear from patients in the hospital:
1. How long should I take medicines for high bp? I hope I don’t have to take lifelong as I hear from people that it will effect my health in the long run.
Yes,once you are diagnosed with hypertension,you have to take medicines for life(except some conditions where high bp is due to some other secondary cause). It is not uncommon to see that patients stops taking their bp medicines once it comes down to normal. Remember,yourbp medicines is doin its job in keeping your bp under control. Once you stop taking your medicines your bp will shoot up again. One should also know that as you grow older,yourbp will have a tendency to go higher as it is a natural process of ageing. Never stop medications on your own unless advised by a doctor.
2. I take my bp medicines only when I feel dizzy because I know I feel dizzy when my bp is high.
Feeling dizzy doesnt always mean that your bp is high!!! There are multiple causes of dizziness other than high BP. Don’t wait for dizziness to warn you that your BP is high. A hypertensive patient with high BP can have a sudden stroke without any warning sign or symptoms. On the other hand,a patient with very high BP can be happily carrying his daily duties without any signs or symptoms of high BP. Its not surprising that many hypertensive patients comes to the hospital with complain of diziness, the cause of which is not due to high BP but some other cause.
3. Taking BP medicines will damage your kidney . How far is this true?
Another surprising misconception we come across very often. The most common organs damaged due to high BP is the kidney and heart. A healthy kidney will keep your BP under control. An uncontrolled BP will slowly destroy your kidney and ultimately lead to what we call chronic kidney disease, leaving you only with the choice of dialysis or kidney transplantation. Protect your kidneys by keeping your blood pressure under control.
4. Are there any side effects of BP medicines?
Yes,every medicine will have its own side effects. As far as BP medicines are concern,most common side effects are leg swelling,dizziness,persistentcough,severe weakness etc. But these side effects doesn’t mean you have to stop controlling your high bp. In case you have any side effect, inform your doctor, and alternate medicines can be given in place of those medicines causing the side effects. Meet your doctor on appointed days so that development of any side effects can be monitored and alterations in medications can be done if required.
5. My BP shot up because I had too much meat for last few days/months.
What about your daily salt intake? Salt is the main culprit in your diet for causing high BP. Minimize the amount of salt in your food. Meat of course is not good for health if taken in excess but as far as BP is concern,watch out for the amount of salt you take everyday.
6. Does taking alcohol help in reducing blood pressure?
Studies have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol helps in reducing high BP. This may be true in some parts of the world but in a society like ours where we are plaqued with the problem of alcohol addiction,it is a big NO. From a small amount of drinking each day,a person will not realize when he becomes dependent on alcohol. it is almost always too late when a person who is alcohol dependent becomes a full blown alcoholic. Keeping in mind this truth,it is always wise to stay away from alcohol,because alcohol itself will cause high BP when taken beyond limit.
7. Does lifestyle have anything to do with your high BP?
Yes, live a healthy lifestyle. Four points noteworthy of mentioning are:
a) Diet – as mentioned earlier,decrease the amount of salt you take everyday. As far as
b) Stress- stress plays a
major role in increasing
your BP. Avoid stress,learn
how to tackle with it.
c) Physical exercise- very
important in keeping
your BP under control.
Go for jogging everyday
in the morning and evening.
d) No smoking/drinking