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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Control your blood pressure, control life

Hindustan Times   April 06, 2013
First Published: 21:10 IST(6/4/2013) | Last Updated: 21:12 IST(6/4/2013)

With constant ageing, unhealthy behaviours — an unbalanced diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, increased pollution level — together with stressful lifestyles, the chances of developing high blood pressure increases. For millions of people, hypertension leads to fatal heart attacks, debilitating strokes and chronic heart/ kidney disease. Many of them even die leaving their family and friends at the mercy of destiny.

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According to World Health Organisation (WHO) all regions of the world are affected by hypertension — a condition which affects more than one in three adults worldwide, with the proportion going up to one in two for people aged 50 and above.

Therefore, to focus on the prevention and control of high blood pressure as well as put a check on cardiovascular disease, the WHO has chosen controlling high blood pressure as the theme for ‘World Health Day 2013’. World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7 to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. 

Complications of high blood pressure account for more than nine million deaths. Behind the statistics is a silent killer that can affect anyone; people often have no symptoms while many are not even aware of their high blood pressure and the associated health risks. The result is that many go undiagnosed.

Many who are diagnosed do not have access to treatment, or their conditions are poorly controlled. There is a social cost to this problem too. In some countries, money spent on cardiovascular diseases alone can be one fifth of the total health expenditure. Yet, millions of people forgo seeking care for high blood pressure in the early stages because they cannot afford it.

The results are devastating for both families and health systems: Early death, disability, personal and household disruption, loss of income, a diminished workforce and medical care expenditures take their toll on families, communities and national health budgets.

In a country like India, where bio-degradation, ever-increasing pollution level and malnutrition have become chronic problems, the need for a proper system becomes imperative to support healthy lifestyle. More so, due to climatic changes, draughts, industrial wastes and alarming levels of salinity, sources such as rivers, catchments and reservoir systems are under dire stress resulting in the deteriorating water quality day by day.

Prevention is better

Interestingly, high blood pressure is both preventable and treatable. Early detection and treatment are key, along with public policies and primary health-care services that educate and support people to prevent them from developing high blood pressure.

Access to proper healthcare is also vital, particularly at primary level while self-care also plays an important role. In addition to this, governments, health workers, civil society, private sector, families and individuals can join forces to reduce hypertension and its impact.

However, before looking out for preventive measures we need to understand the problem with a wider perspective. Due to the increased pollution level, water is getting contaminated at various sources — river, tanks, ponds, seas, etc — with dissolved impurities, bacteria and virus.

Since these sources are not able to fulfill the drinking water demands, municipal corporations supply from underground water provided by mother nature, which generally contain high levels of dissolved impurities (hard or khaara water).

In case of multi-storied or high-rise buildings, getting running tap water supply from the municipal corporation is impossible. Instead the water is stored in overhead storage tanks first and then it is supplied to various apartments through pipelines. These overhead tanks and pipelines are a breeding ground for unwarranted bacteria and viruses.

Although the water treatment plants meet safe drinking water standards, still water collects the pollutants while traversing the network of pipelines enroute to your tap.

Most common dissolved impurities found in water are the salts of iron, arsenic, fluorides, nitrates, pesticide, insecticides, etc. Thus, the water supply which one gets in kitchen needs better purification before it can be consumed for drinking.

Thus, the water supply which one gets in kitchen needs better purification before it can be consumed for drinking. But the irony is that the amount of dissolved impurities in water are so high that it becomes impossible to make the water 100% germ free by mere boiling or using any RO systems available in market.

Thus, it is important to investigate a little before choosing a water purifier. Only then we will able to curb the risk of high blood pressure and save lives.


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