Why Hypertension is More Dangerous than You Think
Hypertension is one of those things we all grow up hearing about – not surprising considering there are 1.28 billion adults (aged between 30 and 79) with this health issue. Chances are you either know someone with ‘high BP’ or a ‘BP problem’ or have been told you have this condition. While it may not seem as pressing a health issue as something like high cholesterol or diabetes, there is good reason to take it seriously.
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Hypertension
Hypertension or elevated blood pressure is marked by chronic Systolic Blood Pressure of 140 or higher and Diastolic Blood Pressure of 90 or higher. For those with other heart risk factors, anything in excess of 130 and 80 respectively is considered high. The results of leaving this problem untreated can be quite risky and life-threatening.
A Timely Diagnosis Can Change Outcomes
According to the WHO, there were an estimated 580 million people as of 2021, that had hypertension but had not been diagnosed. Added to that, even among those who had been diagnosed just about half were getting the treatment needed, while the rest were leaving the condition uncontrolled/untreated.
It is important to identify risks, spot the warning signs, get regular checks, and be correctly diagnosed in time so that you can get treated and avoid some of the ill effects of uncontrolled hypertension.
Know Your Risk Factors
Certain factors affect your risk of developing hypertension. While some, like your ethnicity, gender, age, and genes are unchangeable, others can be controlled through lifestyle changes, treatment, and medication. That said, being aware of even the uncontrollable factors like your risk owing to family history/genes can help you take necessary screening tests and lower your other risks more proactively.
Precision Medicine: The Game Changer
The genetic architecture of hypertension is complex and includes complex interactions between multiple genetic factors and the environmental factors and monogenic forms are relatively rare. Recent advancements in genetic sequencing technology has enabled screening of these genetic variants. Several of causative genes are involved in pathways mechanisms that increase salt reabsorption directly/indirectly. Accurate genetic diagnosis helps in better management and treatment strategies.
Long term untreated/uncontrolled hypertension may lead to complications and is also one of the significant reason for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stoke. We’ve moved beyond the era of pure symptoms-driven diagnosis and treatment to one where we proactively manage our conditions and lower our risk before the problem escalates. Precision medicine leverages tools like genetic testing that can help you identify the potential risk of developing certain conditions including heart problems, due to your genes. For instance, if you know you have an elevated risk of coronary artery disease you may want to be more disciplined about your diet, exercise, and checkups to avoid hypertension. MedGenome’s Kardiogen test is one such solution that’s helped those at risk take charge of their health. The test can be taken in the comfort of your home and is totally painless. Samples are collected from your doorstep with the option to get a genetic counselling session after your report is ready, to help you interpret the results and work through the next steps.
Hypertension is a manageable condition that can be kept in check with the right treatment – usually just simple lifestyle changes and medication – so don’t let it wreak havoc with your health. Take control and choose to work towards being your healthiest self this world hypertension day.