According to a study published in the Lancet journal, India is ranked 156 and 164 globally in terms of hypertension or high blood pressure prevalence among men and women respectively as high stress levels, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits are some of the main reasons for it in young people. This lifestyle disease is a major risk factor for severe medical conditions such as coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, vision loss, chronic kidney disease and even dementia.
However, can your nails, skin and hair tell if you have high blood pressure? In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Bindu Sharma, Director Medical Services at Dr. Batra’s Group of Companies, shared, “High blood pressure develops over time and is a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices such as not getting enough regular physical activity. High blood pressure can often lead to added trouble related to hair, skin and nails.”
According to Hello Heart, years of studies have shown a strong correlation between high blood pressure and skin wrinkling, especially in women aged 40-49 years. High blood cholesterol causes hardening of the arteries which ultimately damages the flow of oxygen in the blood and other organs, including the largest one – your skin as the lack of oxygen in the body makes the skin dry faster, leading to dry skin and/or rapid wrinkling.
Dr Bindu Sharma revealed, “In women, the ailment results in a less youthful appearance overall and in men, this translates to a less youthful face. Apart from the skin, the nails and hair also narrate a story about whether an individual is suffering from high blood pressure. High blood pressure might be indicated by the absence of a lunula on the nail of the middle finger. A lunula is a half-moon shape found near the base of the fingernail, just above the cuticle.”
She added, “Hair loss too can be a sign that you either have high BP or are at risk. Researchers have identified a link between hypertension and hair loss. The theory is that high blood pressure restricts blood supply to the hair roots causing hair loss and balding.”
Suggesting some treatments for the same, Dr Bindu Sharma said, “Homeopathy has proven to be a safe bet for treating such ailments. Some homeopathic medications such as Nat mur 30, Belladona 30, Rauwolfia Serpentina Q, Kali Phos 30, Valeriana 30 and Glonoine 30 are remedies that can help one deal with high BP and other related issues with regard to skin and nail.”
Apart from these Homeopathy remedies, there are some home remedies that can help with the ailment. The National Institute of Health recommends reducing salt intake using the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The DASH diet emphasizes low sodium foods, low-fat dairy products, increase physical activity, lose weight, reduce stress and cut back caffeine and alcohol.
According to Subiya Baiganpalli, in house Consulting Dietitian and Nutritionist at OZiva, “The appearance of a lunula (half moon like formation in the nail) can tell if one has a poor immune system, weakness or compromised health. An alteration in the appearance of the lunula can indicate if one has high BP or low BP. A very fine or absent lunula is a sign of higher BP.”
She added, “Especially seen in women during reproductive ageing, hypertension has a strong association with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) which can be a factor in causing fibrosis, which often sees hair loss stepping in. High BP also tends to inhibit sufficient oxygen supply to the body’s largest organ- the skin, which can lead to its rapid drying/ wrinkling.”