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Living With Hypertension

HYPERTENSION is not a word which instils fear in the minds of the patient because the common myth is “consume a few tablets prescribed by the physician and control high blood pressure”.    There is much more to hypertension or high blood pressure than the oft-held belief about blood pressure. The World Hypertension League dedicates the World Hypertension Day to the world on May 17. Hypertension was described as the ‘number one’ killer by the World Health Organisation in 2002. It is long-lasting, uncontrolled and is consistently high on reading. A person with normal weight to height, regular physical activity, balanced diet with low salt intake, minimal alcohol consumption and smoking, and low levels of stress may not suffer from the disorder though one cannot rule out hypertension in such individuals. Uncontrolled or untreated hypertension can cause heart to enlarge and make its vessels inefficient to pump blood. The danger of hypertension is exemplified by the ‘rule of halves’ – one half of the global population has been diagnosed with hypertension,  one half of the diagnosed receive treatment and  only one half is treated to sustainably normal levels. No hypertensive should stop his drugs without the physician’s advice. These days, newer, patient friendly, blood pressure measuring devices have helped. The theme ‘know your numbers’ says a lot about regular monitoring of blood pressure.   Patients should also know that the harbinger of heart attacks, strokes, as a cause of high blood pressure, are sometimes sudden and clueless.   Therefore, in consultation with the doctor, life-saving medicines should be stocked by the patient, and in a place which can easily be recalled. 


Keep Serenity in Assagao

ASSAGAO had always been a sleepy village known for greenery and flowers. It was a preferred residential destination, free of environmental noise pollution, because the people kept manufacturing units at bay. However, the situation is fast changing due to mushrooming of housing projects. An unexpected development, of late, is the opening of a number of restaurants in the village, 21 so far, with names as rare as ‘Gunpowder’ and ‘No Nasties’. Four more are in the pipeline. I wish them success. But it must be remembered that restaurants generate a lot of dry and wet waste daily. They should ensure proper disposal and avoid open littering. We have our share of it already. The local panchayat, NGOs and villagers have a duty to see that Assagao where people come running to does not become a place where people will have to run away from.


They Wounded Bengal’s Pride

THE act of some goons smashing the bust of key figure of the Bengal Renaissance Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to pieces in a street of Kolkata was an attempt to vandalise our evolutionary progress. Just after Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the name of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar comes to our mind as a pillar of the Bengal Renaissance. And College Street where the incident happened was the heart of the Renaissance that showed the light to India. Unfortunately, those who have a vested interest, brainwash us into believing that the past was very good – Satyayug (age of truth) and the present is very bad Kaliyug (age of anarchy) – hence we need to march backwards. There is nothing to worry about as evolutionary progress keeps on giving us great reformers like Vidyasagar who fought against the prejudices about girl and Dalit education, and widow remarriage. I had learnt Bengali alphabet through Vidyasagar’s book ‘Borno Parichoy’ (Introduction To The Letter) and Sanskrit through his books ‘Upakramonika’ and ‘Byakaran Koumudi’. Vidyasagar was a philosopher, academic, writer, social reformer, translator, printer, publisher and had ocean of knowledge (Vidyasagar) and in the words of Michael Madhusudan ‘ocean of kindness’ (Dayar Sagar) within him. He opened the gate of Sanskrit College for the non-Brahmin students and did everything for women’s education from establishing schools for girls to door-to-door campaign requesting parents to send their daughters to school. It was his efforts that got the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act, 1856 decreed. He even married his son Narayan Chandra to an adolescent widow to set an example.  No one can destroy Vidyasagar who was a man of exceptional character, who never bowed his head to high ranking British officials’ colonial mindset or to inhuman rituals in our society.


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