Dr Mohsin Wali, physi­cian to the Pres­i­dent of In­dia, ex­plains how to deal with the con­di­tion that can kill you silently

HT City - - Lifestyle - Shara Ashraf

When Nis­hant Chawla (named changed on re­quest), a 32-yearold globe-trot­ting busi­ness­man, walked into Dr Mohsin Wali’s clinic with a bunch of MRIs done to study his mys­tery headache, he had no idea that he was car­ry­ing the cul­prit with him, hid­den in a small can. Chawla was ad­dicted to a fizzy drink. He drank around 20 cans of the drink when he trav­elled. His mi­graine led to de­pres­sion and doc­tors couldn’t di­agonse the rea­son. Af­ter bouts of in­tol­er­a­ble headaches, he smoked cig­a­rettes. The as­par­tame in the drink trig­gered off his headache. And a chem­i­cal named Bisphe­nol A, used as a coat­ing for soft drink cans, led to a rise in his blood pres­sure. His seden­tary life­style made things worse. “It’s im­por­tant for doc­tors to be ob­ser­vant and they must com­mu­ni­cate with their pa­tients. Chawla could have been saved from a lot of trou­ble if the doc­tors had both­ered to take his blood pres­sure and no­tice his ad­dic­tion to the drink,” says Dr Wali, whose prime re­spon­si­bil­ity, in his words, is to “keep the Pres­i­dent fit, and find things be­fore they hap­pen”.

Talk­ing about high blood pres­sure, or hy­per­ten­sion, a con­di­tion af­fect­ing a grow­ing num­ber of young peo­ple, Dr Wali ex­plains that it is one of the most ill un­der­stood med­i­cal con­di­tions. The high blood pres­sure level makes it dif­fi­cult to be phys­i­cally ac­tive, and in some cases, causes headache and red­ness in the eyes. If left un­treated, it makes you prone to coro­nary heart dis­ease and stroke.

Dr Wali says that due to the bank­ruptcy of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion, sim­ple signs that can lead to the right di­ag­no­sis are ig­nored. “Pa­tients re­main clue­less that they are suf­fer­ing from hy­per­ten­sion. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the doc­tor and the pa­tient is min­i­mal. Ear­lier, the first thing doc­tors did was to check the BP along with tak­ing down the med­i­cal his­tory of the pa­tient. Now, they are quick to ask for an MRI. It is dis­as­trous to ig­nore sub­tle symp­toms,” he says.

Dr Wali lists up things that we must know to deal with hy­per­ten­sion: Know your num­bers: Of­ten, doc­tors such as ENT spe­cial­ists don’t check the pa­tients BP and miss cases of hy­per­ten­sion. Mi­graine due to high BP is con­fused with pain trig­gered by in­fected si­nusi­tis. Pa­tients are of­ten turned away from the OT due to hy­per­ten­sion. Not check­ing BP reg­u­larly can lead to se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions. It’s im­por­tant to save your heart and life. Have your BP reg­u­larly checked by your doc­tor. Avoid tak­ing read­ings your­self, as they might not be ac­cu­rate. It’s not just an old age prob­lem: Due to poor life­style, a grow­ing num­ber of young peo­ple are suf­fer­ing

Many pa­tients are turned away from the OT due to hy­per­ten­sion. Not check­ing BP reg­u­larly can lead to se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions DR MOHSIN WALI, PHYSI­CIAN TO THE PRES­I­DENT OF IN­DIA

from the con­di­tion “I did a sur­vey of a school and the re­sults were shock­ing. Out of 50, two stu­dents had high BP. They were in the age group of 15-18 years. Their par­ents were un­aware of their con­di­tion,” says Dr Wali. Stress is your big­gest en­emy: Hy­per­ten­sion is of­ten linked to stress. Stress leads to over-eat­ing, junk ad­dic­tion and in­som­nia, which makes your BP shoot up. Er­ratic eat­ing habits, lack of sleep: Our life­style is to be blamed for most of our health prob­lems. We of­ten leave work at 9pm, reach home by 10pm, we are ex­tremely tired but we still try to fix our­selves a quick meal. It’s 11 by the time we eat, and then we stare at our news feed till 1am. It’s the per­fect recipe for a health dis­as­ter. Sleep de­pri­va­tion is a ma­jor cause of high blood pres­sure and obe­sity.


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