1 in 3 people don’t know they have hypertension

Noting that 20 percent of the population i.e. about 15 million people suffer from hypertension in Turkey, Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr Ergün Seyfeli said: “We can define blood pressure as the pressure exerted by the blood on the vessel wall. Our average blood pressure is considered to be 120 by 80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). If this is 140 by 90 millimeters of mercury or more, then this is called hypertension.As a cardiac risk factor, hypertension is one of the diseases that we encounter most often, we can even say the first.

Seyfeli stated that about 1.5 billion people in the world are living with a diagnosis of hypertension and about 9 million people die each year due to diseases related to hypertension.

“Patients remain untreated because it is noticed too late”

Claiming that hypertension progresses without the specific findings, it has been referred to as the “silent killer” in the medical literature. Dr Seyfeli said: “Although the diagnosis is very easy, it is unfortunately a very high figure that about 50 per cent of hypertensive patients do not even know they have high blood pressure. Recently, we can say that this rate has dropped to 30 percent, mainly due to the creation of awareness on social media and the widespread use of digital blood pressure monitors. Yet 1/3 of people don’t even realize they have high blood pressure. One of the main reasons for this is the silent course of the disease. Due to this silent course, these patients unfortunately remain untreated and come to us with a negative image.”

Seyfeli added that patients usually refer to the doctor complaining of headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, palpitations and sometimes nosebleeds, and forget about having their blood pressure measured.

“If it is taken under control, the risks are reduced by 50 percent”

prof. Dr Seyfeli said patients with hypertension apply to the clinic with heart failure, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias, sudden death and cerebral palsy, and sometimes kidney failure and blindness. Noting that there are more complications in patients whose hypertension levels are not under control, Seyfeli said: “In fact, blood pressure can be changed, that is, it is a changeable disease. Because studies show that when we can get hypertension under control, the risks are reduced by almost 50 percent, especially with medications and lifestyle changes.

“Drug therapy and lifestyle change are very important”

Emphasizing that there are two key points in the treatment of hypertension, Prof. Dr. Seyfeli said:

“One is medication, the other is lifestyle change and nutrition. In lifestyle changes, we can say that especially hypertension is associated with obesity, diabetes and cholesterol. When we eliminate these risk factors, we can say that we have come a long way in the fight against hypertension. For example, losing 10 percent of one’s weight is almost as effective as blood pressure medication. This could mean that we will use one medicine less.”

“Take the salt shaker off the table”

Speaking about the importance of regular exercise and salt consumption in the fight against hypertension, Prof. Dr. Seyfeli said that brisk exercise for 30 to 45 minutes at least 3-4 times a week plays an important role in controlling hypertension. Pointing out that Turkey ranks first in Europe in terms of salt consumption, Seyfeli said: “We have a daily salt consumption of about 18 grams. We recommend a salt consumption of less than 5-6 grams (about 1 teaspoon), especially for patients with hypertension. For this reason, we ask our patients to take the salt shaker off the table. Because there is a direct link between salt and blood pressure. When salt consumption is limited, that really means less medication use, just like with obesity, just like with losing weight.

“Don’t take any medication without consulting a doctor”

Noting that the drugs are given separately in the treatment and should not be given to other patients, Prof Dr Seyfeli said: “Blood pressure is a chronic disease and its treatment is a lifelong process. Therefore, we must take our medicines correctly and regularly, without interruption. There is also the issue of recommending a drug prescribed to another patient to another patient. Or the question ‘Your medicine is good, can I also use it?’ We may encounter such problems in society, but we choose drug treatment based on the patient. The drug given to one may not be good for another patient and may cause worse outcomes. Therefore, it is imperative not to use someone else’s medicine without consulting a doctor.

prof. dr. In light of all this information, Seyfeli recommends that blood pressure patients take their medications correctly and regularly, follow a balanced diet and keep salt off the table; He advised them to have their blood pressure checked every 2 years after age 18 and once a year after age 40.

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