Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a chronic condition that’s emerging as a huge concern in India – and not just among older adults. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2019, India has been experiencing an increasing prevalence of hypertension – even among younger age groups – with one out of every 10 individuals between 18-25 years suffering from it.
This clearly suggests that better disease awareness is needed among younger sections of the population to control and decrease the burden of hypertension in India. The following are some common myths regarding hypertension that people often end up believing, which also leads to them undermining or ignoring the symptoms of the disease.
Myth 1: High BP is not a young people concern.
Fact: Many believe that you don’t need to regularly check your blood pressure levels if you’re below 40 years of age, but as indicated above, the prevalence of hypertension among younger people proves that this is not true. Yes, hypertension has age-related risk factors, but it’s a lifestyle disease, and you can develop it in your teen years if too many risk factors exist unchecked.
Myth 2: Only men have to worry about hypertension.
Fact: According to a study in the Indian Heart Journal in 2019, the prevalence of hypertension among Indian women was at 23.7%. This shows that women are at risk of developing hypertension. In fact, if women develop hypertension during pregnancy, it can lead to complications for both the mother and the child.
Myth 3: If it runs in the family, I’ll get it anyways.
Fact: Yes, hypertension does tend to run in families. If your parents, grandparents or close blood relatives have had it, your risk of getting hypertension is quite high. However, the American Heart Association is of the opinion that people with a high risk due to family history can avoid getting hypertension by making good lifestyle choices.
Myth 4: I don’t use common salt, so my sodium levels are fine.
Fact: Consuming table salt does indeed spike blood pressure levels for a lot of people, but avoiding this one ingredient will not mean your sodium levels will go down. Sodium is actually hidden in a lot of processed foods, including tomato sauce, chips, condiments like mayonnaise and pre-packaged chutneys. Eliminating these foods is likely to benefit you more than eliminating common salt from your diet.
Myth 5: A high cholesterol inevitably means you have hypertension too.
Fact: It’s possible to have both high cholesterol and hypertension at the same time since they’re often caused by the same lifestyle choices. But it’s equally possible to have one and not the other.
Myth 6: It’s fine to stop taking hypertension medications once the readings are better.
Fact: Your doctor prescribes hypertension medications to you for a reason, and you should not stop taking said medications without your doctor giving you the go-ahead. This is because hypertension is more likely to be a lifelong disease. Simply because your readings are better now does not mean that it’ll stay persistent and you won’t ever need medications again. It’s, therefore, best to go by what your doctor says where your hypertension treatment is concerned.