Every year May 17 is celebrated as World Hypertension Day (WHD) to create awareness about High Blood pressure. This day is initiated by The World Hypertension League (WHL) which is an umbrella organization of 85 national hypertension societies and leagues. As per the Who, it is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. A cause of premature death worldwide, it is estimated that 1.13 billion people have hypertension. But, surprisingly, only 1 in 5 have it under control. It is also referred to as the `Silent Killer.’ The main contributors to the rise in hypertension are unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
What is Hypertension or High Blood Pressure ?
The heart pumps blood which is circulated throughout the body via blood vessels. Blood pressure is the force or pressure with which the blood pushes against the walls or sides of the blood vessels as it flows through them. Normal blood pressure stands at about 120/80 mm Hg. When one has high blood pressure, it means that the force with which the blood is pumping in their body/blood vessels is very strong. This force puts a lot of pressure on the arteries and heart. If not managed, it can lead to a heart attack or a stroke and can even be fatal.
Role of Salt in Hypertension
Salt is an important ingredient in our meals. Apart from adding flavour to our food it is also our main source of sodium, a mineral which is essential for our body to function. Technically, in a day, we should not consume more than 0.25 grams of salt. But, due to faulty diet habits and junk food, salt is consumed more than required. As a result, more people are becoming prone to diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
Salt is made of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. It is the chloride which is often the culprit behind hypertension. The relationship is directly proportional – higher the intake of salt, higher the blood pressure. The combination of sodium and chloride also upsets the delicate balance of compounds in the body.
Potassium and sodium are both used to pull extra water into the kidney through the process of osmosis. The water is then removed from the body in the form of urine. If the sodium content is higher in the body, the ability to absorb the water into the kidney becomes hampered. When this happens a lot of pressure is put on the blood vessels around the kidneys and causes blood pressure to spike.
Similarly, when the arteries leading up to the heart are narrowed, the amount of blood flowing through them is reduced. The arteries get strained to ensure adequate blood is reaching the heart. Therefore, blood pressure spikes.
Prevention of Hypertension
There is a five way road to control Hypertension. Reduce salt intake and replace the transfats. Manage your heart with cardiovascular exercises and control the intake of tobacco. Lead a active life with sufficient physical activity.
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, and Live Longer.
The theme was selected with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world.
Every year various events are organized on this day but this year due to global Covid-19 pandemic the World Hypertension League (WHL) has announced that it will postpone the celebration of World Hypertension Day (WHD) 2020 until October 17, 2020.