6 common myths about hypertension you should know
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common chronic condition that affects almost 1 in 4 adults, and the lifetime incidence of developing high blood pressure is estimated to be 90%.
While it’s important to get measured to know your numbers, it’s equally important to make sure that you know the truth behind some of the common myths and misconceptions about hypertension.
We’ve decided to shed light on some of them.
Myth 1: “Hypertension is a man’s disease”
Truth: That is not true as men and women are equally at risk. Even though hypertension is common in men, the development of this chronic disease still rests on many different factors such as age and lifestyle.
For example, some women might have an increased risk for developing hypertension if:
- They are taking a birth control pill
- Hypertension runs in their family
- They are going through their post-menopausal stage
- They are overweight and obese
- They are pregnant
Myth 2: “My family has a history of hypertension. There’s nothing I can do to avoid it”
Truth: While it’s true that hypertension can be inherited, lifestyle changes can reduce your risk. It is important to follow a healthy diet, live an active lifestyle, get adequate sleep, and learn how to manage stress if you want to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk.
Myth 3: “I’m not over 40 yet, so I’m safe from hypertension.”
Truth: It’s true that hypertension is common among older people because their arteries start to stiffen, and that increases the resistance, which increases blood pressure. But it doesn’t mean that younger people are safe from hypertension. Anyone who is overweight, obese, lives a sedentary lifestyle, and has an awful diet is at risk.
Myth 4: “I just have to avoid adding too much salt to my food, and then I can eat what I want”
Truth: Cutting back on sodium and controlling blood pressure means more than just putting down the salt shaker. Most of the processed food and restaurant meals that we consume contain so much sodium that you’d be surprised by how much you’re getting. Make it a habit to read the labels when shopping for food items.
Myth 5: “My blood pressure went down, I can finally get off my medication”
Truth: Hypertension is a life-long condition, and it can’t be cured. It can only be controlled/treated by major lifestyle changes and medication. If you have hypertension and you stop taking medication, your blood pressure will rise again.
Myth 6: “I feel fine. I haven’t experienced any symptoms, so I don’t have hypertension”
Truth: Hypertension isn’t called the ‘silent killer’ for no reason. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is by getting measured. Don’t wait for symptoms to show up. Hypertension will show no sign until it reaches a severe stage.
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