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Poor Lifestyle Habits, Obesity Leads To High BP Even In Adolescents: Expert

Blood pressure is the degree of pressure exerted by the column of the blood on the walls of the vessels.

Poor Lifestyle Habits, Obesity Leads To High BP Even In Adolescents: Expert Image for representation

Poor lifestyle habits, obesity, sleep deprivation and consumption of junk and processed food are the important reasons for blood pressure (BP) in youth and adolescents, according to leading physician Dr V. Jagadeesh Kumar.

The consultant physician at KIMS Hospitals, Secunderabad, says that there is no disease called low BP. A person’s BP might decrease if he is dehydrated significantly but there is no medical definition of disease called low BP, he contends.

Here are excerpts from an interview:

IANS: Why is BP called a silent killer and how is it affecting Indians?

Dr Kumar: Blood pressure is the degree of pressure exerted by the column of the blood on the walls of the vessels. As our whole body and organ system is loaded with blood vessels of various calibers, higher the blood pressure and longer the duration, there will be damage to the blood vessels, structurally as well as functionally leading to various problems pertaining to various organ structures.

So BP, which is abnormally elevated, causes damage to the vessels and organs which are not identified or appreciated by oneself for a longer time, until unless the damage is significant which can be knocking as oneself in the form of a heart stroke, brain stroke, loss of vision or kidney failure. That’s why BP is called a silent killer as it has no symptoms to be identified unlike any fever or an infection.

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IANS: How does high BP affect our body? Why does low BP also matter?

Dr Kumar: In general, BP means high blood pressure (hypertension). Any blood pressure more than 140 mm systolic (upper number ) and more than 85 diastolic (lower number) is called hypertension.

As such there is no disease called Low BP. Low BP is a situation or moment or a finding. It’s not a disease. For example, when you are dehydrated significantly, and you don’t have intake of fluids, once BP might decrease. We mention that patients BP is low but there is no technical term or proper medical definition or disease called Low BP.

IANS: Why is hypertension increasingly affecting even adolescents?

Dr Kumar: BP (Hypertension) is multifactorial. The causes may be genetic, primary or essential hypertension, renovascular causes, endocrine causes, stress and psychological causes and poor lifestyles.

Among these poor lifestyle habits, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation, consumption of a lot of unhealthy junk processed food are important reasons for BP in young and adolescents.

IANS: How does high BP increase the risk of complications during pregnancy?

Dr Kumar: Blood pressure in pregnancy is divided into a few categories -- Chronic Hypertension, Gestational Hypertension, Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia . All put together they are called hypertensive disorders  of pregnancy. They cause all kinds of compilations in pregnancy including low birth weight, seizures in pregnancy, pregnancy loss, preterm delivery, premature rupture of membranes and IUGR

IANS: How technology is transforming blood pressure control?

Dr Kumar: Technology has no direct effect but indirect effect by decreasing physical activity and significantly increasing sedentary life which is the most important risk factor for hypertension.

Another important factor is the infodemic, a series of thorough flow of health information causing panic and unnecessary restlessness amongst youngsters causing increased incidence of hypertension.