Guest post by KAUSHIK CHATTERJI
One January evening a couple of Delhi winters ago, I was at my doctor’s. During the routine examination, he discovered that my blood pressure was rather high: 160/100 to be precise. I asked him what I should do; he said, “walk regularly, reduce salt intake and come back next week”. So I did. The reading remained the same, so I asked him again what I should do; again he said, “walk regularly, reduce salt intake and come back next week”. This went on for a few more weeks. Finally, after five or six weeks of consistently high readings, my doctor prescribed a medicine and added, “walk regularly, reduce salt intake and come back next week”.
Popping pills after an isolated high blood pressure reading is something no doctor worth his/her, er, salt would recommend. Instantaneous readings can vary wildly depending on a wide range of reasons – cold weather, a full bladder or the white coat. It is true of blood pressure; it is also true of air pollution. Its sources are many – from power plants to industries, from open burning of dried leaves to dust from construction sites, from vehicular emissions to road dust.