Medical experts have cautioned lay users against self-medication as it can cause more harm than good. This is especially true in hypertension, which is known as a ''silent killer'' as patients remain asymptotic for long, or have only minor symptoms which they tend to treat on their own.
Dr Pradeep Gadge, chief diabetologist at Mumbai's Gadge's Diabetes Care Centre, told IANS, "Hypertension should never be considered a minor health problem."
He added, the disease itself caused heart attacks, paralysis, renal failure, thickening of the arteries and several other ailments if ignored.
He warned patients that in such a situation self-medication may prove fatal.
Noting several myths and misconceptions as the main reason for self-medication, Dr Gupta said Indians were still are under the impression that hypertension was an old-age disease, and that it could be controlled with simple medication.
He also dispelled myths that women were less likely to get hypertension than men, or simple control over intake of salt would protect them from the ill-effects of blood pressure.
The union health ministry has said that at least 40 per cent of the people in cities and 20 per cent in rural India suffered from hypertension and the number was fast increasing due a sedentary lifestyle and rising desire to earn more in a short period.
Dr Gupta added if hypertension was left untreated it could cause aneurysms, heart attacks and strokes without giving any early signs and symptoms.
Hypertension is not accompanied by any symptoms, which made it mandatory for the patients to go for a check-up at least once a week.