As online consultations surge four-fold, experts advocate more platforms

Dr Shyam pointed out that additional symptoms such as chest tightness, dizziness, imbalance while walking, breathlessness and fatigue warrant medical evaluation as they could indicate underlying hypertension.
Representative Image
Representative Image

BENGALURU: Online consultations for hypertension or high blood pressure have seen a fourfold increase from 2020 to 2023 while online searches for hypertension have increased by 69% over a year, according to a study by Practo, a digital healthcare platform.

On World Hypertension Day, which falls on Friday, experts advocated for the availability of more such platforms for online consultations as a means for more active testing.

Experts explained that hypertension is known as the silent killer as unlike many health conditions, hypertension usually lacks symptoms, making regular testing essential for diagnosis. Many are unaware that this can lead to serious outcomes, including heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, strokes, kidney failure and even blindness, they said.

Dr Shyam Sunder KR, Senior Consultant, Interventional Cardiology, Aster RV Hospital, stressed that symptoms of hypertension, if they appear, are often subtle or completely absent. Although extremely high blood pressure can cause symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, chest pain and nosebleeds, most people with hypertension do not experience obvious signs. However, recurrent headaches, especially those occurring in the early morning or concentrated at the lower back of the head, should prompt consideration of blood pressure monitoring, he said.

Dr Shyam pointed out that additional symptoms such as chest tightness, dizziness, imbalance while walking, breathlessness and fatigue warrant medical evaluation as they could indicate underlying hypertension.

Hypertension can also present dim or permanent loss of vision, mainly due to blood vessel abnormalities affecting the eyes, Dr Shyam said and highlighted that chest pain, often resulting from an imbalance between oxygen demand and supply or from vessel blockages, is a common symptom of hypertension and can lead to conditions like angina, chest pain that occurs when heart needs more oxygen, he added.

Dr Pavan Rasalkar, Consultant- Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, said such online platforms must develop easily digestible articles, infographics and video content such as short explainer clips for social media that address common questions about hypertension, its symptoms, risk factors and the importance of management.

Prevention

Adopt a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while limiting salt and processed foods

Engage in regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight

Monitor blood pressure periodically

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