High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. It is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and failure.
The National Health Survey of Pakistan estimated that hypertension affects 18% of adults and 33% of adults above 45 years old. In order to learn more about higher than normal blood pressure and its treatment, we sat down with Dr. Tariq Mehmood.
Prof. Dr. Tariq Mahmood Malik is a leading cardiologist of international stature and fame. He graduated from King Edward Medical College and went to the USA for higher education and training. He has 25 years of experience with an impeccable record of dedicated service to cardiac patients and the field of cardiology.
Q.1. What is the main cause of hypertension and an increase in blood pressure?
Well, unfortunately, in 90 to 95% cases, we don’t know the exact cause of higher blood pressure. However, we do know what increases the incidence of blood pressure. The number one is obesity. Obesity increases your risk of higher blood pressure.
Other reasons include a diet rich in sodium (salt), a sedentary lifestyle with lack of exercise and hereditary factors as well.
Q.2. What triggers an increase in blood pressure?
Well, kidney disease can trigger it. And then other triggers definitely point towards diet. Our bodies can only tolerate a certain amount of salt. Junk food has salts that exceed the tolerable limits of the human body. Normal diet has 5 to 6 grams of salt, but fast food and Chinese food has much more quantities of salt. So salt is a major cause of triggering blood pressure.
Q.3. How can one lower their blood pressure?
The best ways to avoid blood pressure is to maintain ideal body weight, eat a healthy diet low in salt and exercise. Interestingly, new research now tells us that lack of sleep can also trigger high blood pressure.
I would like to add that someone who already has a higher than normal blood pressure should also continue taking their medication and practice all of the above.
Q.4. Why heart diseases are common in Pakistan?
Look, there is a reason why heart diseases are really common in South Asian Countries, including India and Pakistan. The bad news is that we have inherited cholesterol that is more harmful to the arteries than our western counterparts.
Secondly, our lifestyle doesn’t allow us many avenues for exercising. Lack of fitness facilities and the widespread use of vehicles also prevents people from walking or jogging.
The most important risk factor for heart disease is smoking. It must be prohibited from our culture to tackle heart disease. Then obesity, especially weight gain around the waist is particularly harmful to heart health.
Lastly, I would like to say that stress management is also very important for good heart health. Stress, anxiety, depression are also responsible for elevating blood pressure and contributing to heart disease.
You can watch the full interview to learn more about how to manage good heart health. If you have any heart-related issues, consult a cardiologist.
You can book an appointment with a top cardiologist in Multan, Lahore and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns