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Managing hypertension during the times of COVID-19

CSIR  IndiGenome resource of 1029 Indian genomes provides a compendium of genetic variants representing the contemporary Indian population

Bengaluru

As the world whirls under the effects of COVID-19, people with high blood pressure (BP) are more prone to confronting severe complications. Hypertension or high blood pressure has always been considered among serious medical conditions in India, which substantially increases the risk of heart, kidney, brain, and other diseases. Most of the people suffers from anxiety or stress, unhealthy food habits, or some possess hereditary tendencies, all of which can lead to hypertension.

There are some findings from the United States and India that have demonstrated that people who die of COVID-19 had around 2-3 of these risk factors. However, there is no precise reason, but various theories have been claimed.

A weaker immune system is one of the reasons that people with high blood pressure and other health ailments are at higher risk of contracting coronavirus. Long-term health conditions and ageing diminish your immune system and making it difficult to fight off the virus. Therefore, at this critical time, it becomes important for everyone to manage hypertension and do some lifestyle modifications.

Some preventive tips:

  • Maintain health with proper diet: Health experts recommend different treatments for blood pressure patients. For a few, they might indicate a change in their eating habits to include food that is rich in potassium, for example: oranges, bananas, spinach, broccoli, etc, that helps in reducing blood pressure.
  • Avoid Sodium rich food: It becomes compulsory for blood pressure patients to consume less salt and avoid packaged food as the consumption of sodium can cause a spike in blood pressure.
  • Get enough physical exercise: An individual must exercise at least 30 minutes a day. The more one exercises, the simpler it becomes to control one’s blood pressure. Even mild exercise for 30 minutes four times a week will bring about changes in one’s body.
  • Getting adequate Sleep: Sleep is directly proportionate to your health condition, an adequate sleep for 8 hours helps maintain your blood pressure by not making it worse. People who sleep six hours or less may have steeper increases in blood pressure. There is more data on sleeping postures that can help manage hypertension.
  • Invest in preventive health check-ups and genetic testing: Family history and genetics are common risk factors for most diseases. Genetic testing can help in knowing your predisposition for your overall health condition as hypertension can affect other organs like eyesight, kidney, and heart. A full body checkup helps you to lead a correct lifestyle and manage such condition better. Such people must monitor their blood pressure regularly along with other co-related conditions.
  • Taking medicines regularly: Patients with hypertension should be consistent with their medications even if their blood pressure levels are normal. For any changes in the medication, they should always consult a doctor, but not stop the current medication.

Contributed by Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Director & Preventive Healthcare Specialist, Indus Health Plus.

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