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11 Popular Myths about Hypertension Busted

11 Popular Myths about Hypertension Busted

Hypertension or high blood pressure occurs when the force of the blood on the walls of the arteries carrying it increases beyond the normal values. If the increased blood pressure persists for long, it can have a negative impact on the heart and other organs of the body. High blood pressure can also occur as a result of deposition of plaque on the inner walls of blood vessels. These are the blood vessels that pump blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The plaque narrows the blood vessels, acting as a barrier for smooth flow of blood. This exerts excessive pressure on the heart and causes hypertension. Other than these facts, there are so many myths about hypertension that you need to know.

Myths About Hypertension

So, let’s get started on busting some popular myths about hypertension.

Myth: Hypertension is a geriatric problem.

Fact: Contrary to the popular perception of high blood pressure being a geriatric problem or a condition that is unique only to elderly people, it can happen to anyone across ages. Young adults and even children with an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle are exposed to the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Myth: Hypertension is a men’s disease, women aren’t affected or at least not as much affected.

Fact: It is widely believed that men are more prone to developing hypertension, which is definitely not true. Women’s hearts are comparatively smaller than that of men’s. Hence, the symptoms of high blood pressure are not as quickly experienced by women. Just as the health condition is not restricted to a certain age group, it also affects people from both genders. In fact, post-menopausal women are at a higher risk of high blood pressure. This may be because of shifting hormones and an increase in basal metabolic rate (BMI) after menopause. However, taking preventive steps can help in controlling it.

Myth: A family history of hypertension makes it inevitable for future generations to be diagnosed of it.

Fact: A family history of the medical condition can put you at a higher risk of developing it. However, all is not lost! You can prevent it by consciously making healthy life choices – a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

Myth: Not using table salt ensures that your sodium intake is zero.

Fact: Table salt is not your only source of sodium. There are several other food items, especially dips, tomato ketchup, processed food, condiments, soups, and ready-to-use mixes that are laden with sodium. If you have high blood pressure, it is essential for you to carefully check the ingredients of every food you purchase. This is to control your sodium intake. Lookout for certains words and chemical formulae like ‘sodium’ and ‘soda’, and ‘Na’ in the product labels. As these are an indicator of the presence of sodium.

Myth: Sea salt and kosher are better alternatives of table salt for controlling sodium intake.

Fact: Sea salt and kosher are NOT low-sodium alternatives for table salt. They have the same sodium content of 40% as table salt. This implies that your sodium intake will remain the same for all the three variations of salt.

Myth: No external manifestations of hypertension mean that you have not developed the medical condition.

Fact: A considerable majority of people with high blood pressure are unaware that they have developed the condition. This is because they have not experienced the typical symptoms like excessive sweating, sleep depreciation, nervousness amongst various others. They often stay in the dark about it until they suffer from a stroke and other severe medical conditions. The incidence of which is often high in such cases.

No wonder, high blood pressure is also known as a ‘silent killer’. Get your pressure checked frequently to eliminate the risk of a hidden condition of high blood pressure.

Myth: Wine is good for the heart implies you can drink as much as you want.

Fact: One of the dangerous myths about hypertension is that you can drink lots of wine. Wine is good for your heart only when taken in moderation. Excessive intake of wine may have the opposite effect by raising the level of blood pressure at a rapid rate. In extreme cases, it can also lead to stroke, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats. Besides, it may also have other detrimental side effects like obesity, cancer, stress, anxiety, depression, and high triglycerides. It is usually recommended that the consumption of wine be restricted to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. One drink of wine measures 120 ml.

Myth: It is okay as long as either of the systolic or diastolic reading for measuring hypertension is within the acceptable range.

Fact: The reading for blood pressure includes two numbers – the systolic and the diastolic. The systolic measures the highest range of blood pressure, while diastolic indicates the lower range of blood pressure. These numbers are the measurement of the blood flow in your vessels during one heartbeat.

For systolic, the ideal is 119 and below. The range between 120 to 129 is considered to be elevated, while 130 and above is taken as high blood pressure. For diastolic blood pressure 79 and below is normal blood pressure, while 80 and above is considered to be high blood pressure. Experts opine that a higher systolic reading is better than a higher diastolic reading.

Myth: Hypertension is curable. (This is one of the most common myths about hypertension.)

Fact: High blood pressure can be treated but not cured. The treatments do not solely mean medications. The most effective treatment for high blood pressure is a combination of a healthy lifestyle and medications. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy lifestyle for people with high blood pressure implies a balanced low-sodium diet, physical activity, and ensuring proper intake of medications.

Myth: Medications can be stopped when hypertension is under control.

Fact: Medications prescribed for high blood pressure are a part of long-term treatment since it is a lifelong medical condition. It definitely can’t be stopped when your blood pressure level is under control. However, the doses may be adjusted as needed. Discuss with your doctor before stopping these medications.

Myth: White-coat hypertension is not legit.

Fact: People often feel stressed out while getting their blood pressure measured by a doctor or any medical professional. Stress causes the blood pressure level to shoot up. A study has found that white-coat hypertension exposes people to a greater risk of high blood pressure within 10 years. If you have this medical condition. You need to keep a close tab on your blood pressure to prevent serious heart conditions like stroke and heart attack from occurring in the future.

Learn more about hypertension here.

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Apr 05
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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