Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Tobacco: A risk factor for high Blood Pressure

The negative impact of tobacco on lungs is well known, but few know that it also narrows your arteries, hardens their walls and makes your heart beat faster, which increases your blood pressure, says Dr Vijay Arora

Published: Oct 11, 2019 11:44:36 AM IST
Updated: Oct 11, 2019 12:31:09 PM IST



Data from World Health Organization (WHO) shows that tobacco kills nearly six million people in a year. The situation is equally bad in India, with estimated number of tobacco users being 274.9 million as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India (GATS). This includes 163.7 million users of only smokeless tobacco, 68.9 million only smokers, and 42.3 million users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco. The negative impact of tobacco on lungs is well known but what is lesser known is that it also narrows your arteries, hardens their walls and makes your heart beat faster, which increases your blood pressure. It stresses your heart and sets you up for a heart attack or stroke.

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Moreover, the response to anti-hypertensive drugs in smokers is usually impaired, since biochemical and metabolic interference exists between cigarette smoking and the drugs. For this and other reasons, it is advisable to give up tobacco in any form. To quit smoking is not a single, overnight event; it is a journey. By quitting, you will improve your health and the quality and duration of your life, as well as the lives of those around you.

Hypertension: Going Hand In Hand With Diabetes

Reportedly, people with diabetes are about twice as likely to have high blood pressure. At an average every two of the three diabetics will have hypertension too. In diabetes, an over supply of sugar and insulin in the body causes inflammation, which then damages and stiffens your artery lining, allowing plaque to build up. This process eventually increases your risk of hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. It is widely believed that someone who has high body fat content, is obese, eats high-sodium diet or follows a sedentary lifestyle is vulnerable to both these conditions. Diabetes along with hypertension can be lethal as they heighten the risk of further complications including heart attack or a stroke, kidney diseases and visual impairment.

People with diabetes must make conscious efforts to keep their blood pressure levels in control. Making small changes to your lifestyle goes long way in maintaining your blood pressure and taking control of your life and health. Prevention is the only cure for these complications. It is important to take regular diabetes test and blood pressure check, and adopt a healthy and stress-free lifestyle complete with balanced diet, exercise, yoga and meditation.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.