(A ticking time bomb leading to heart attack)
It’s said that “A good heart makes one a better person”.The thought holds true for health too! Heart can be affected by several abnormalities; some genetic and some acquired. One of the most common disease and also the most ignored disease is hypertension or high blood pressure.
First of all, it’s seldom realized by the patient, so he/she won’t even see a doctor till one day, a chest pain or breathlessness or sweating is felt while talking. In the worst case, these symptoms are multiple folds and the person experiences a heart attack.
While there are a few reasons to get a heart attack including emotional and psycho-social factors, hypertension is one of the known ones to cause it. Hypertension is mostly ignored because it’s mostly asymptomatic and even if it’s diagnosed, non-adherence to its treatment is seen in most patients.
In countries like US, where there is so much emphasis on prevention, hypertension is still one of the leading causes of deaths. People are educated but still don’t practice healthy living. Improper life styles, diet, stress and lack of physical exercise contribute to poor heart health and lead to hospitalizations and even deaths! There are a lot of people who keep living under the notion of negligence and that “I am never sick, I always stay healthy and I don’t need any doctor or medicines.” Some say “why should I go to a doctor when I don’t feel anything”. Some go to doctors and get a prescription but are too busy to fill the prescription in a pharmacy. Some fill the prescription but don’t take them. Pharmacies have made it so easy to help patients stay adherent by refill reminders, auto refills, text messages, 90 day fills but eventually, patients will have to assume the responsibility to live longer and healthier.
“High Blood Pressure in the United States
- Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.1
- About 75 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults.3
- About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.3
- Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.2
- High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014—that’s more than 1,100 deaths each day.1
- High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.”
Stats related to non-adherence
“The patients who didn’t take their medication correctly were also more likely to be admitted to hospital after a stroke. Their risk of hospitalisation was 2.7-fold higher in the second year after being prescribed anti-hypertensive drugs compared to adherent patients, and nearly 1.7-fold higher in the tenth year. In the year in which they admitted to hospital with a stroke, their risk was nearly two-fold higher than the adherent patients.”
People often take it so casually because they may not be aware of the consequences. In most cases, one has to take just one pill a day and monitor it 3-4 times a week. That’s it! If we cannot find time to do this bare minimum task to keep us alive, then even god cannot help us. It’s about being responsible to ourselves first…right? I hear from people all the time saying that I am alright and I don’t need any pill…lol! I mean, you might be alright but have you measured your blood pressure? There are non-pharmacological ways too to maintain your blood pressure but the key is to monitor it regularly and keeping a log. In extreme cases of unstable blood pressure, it’s advisable to follow the treatment regimen advised by your doctor.
- Other Comorbidities like Cardiovascular abnormalities, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, hyperlipidemia.
- Genetics-family history.
- Stressful job
Bottomline: Don’t play with your heart. Follow your doctor’s treatment and be a good, adherent patient.