High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is a serious chronic condition. Find out what is hypertension, the symptoms, causes and the self-help treatment you can adopt. A handy blood pressure chart is provided.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension means high blood pressure and is present when your blood pressure is greater than normal levels for the population. It is one of the most common disorders requiring long term drug therapy.
What is Blood Pressure?
There are 2 types of blood pressure that we measure :
Systolic blood pressure - The systolic blood pressure is the pressure at the moment the heart pumps the blood.
Diastolic blood pressure - The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure at the moment when the heart relaxes and takes in blood.
Health Assessment & Screening Packages
Blood Pressure Readings
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). We have hypertension if our blood pressure is greater than either the normal systolic pressure (130) or the normal diastolic pressure (80). The diastolic level is the more important, and so we aim to keep this pressure below 80.
Optimal or normal blood pressure readings for adults aged 18 years and older are therefore 130/80 (systolic/diastolic blood pressure) or lower.
Who gets Hypertension?
Anyone can get it. It is very common and affects more than 20% of the adult population in Western countries. Blood pressure tends to rise when we get older.
It is a silent killer as most people with hypertension are asymptomatic and unaware of their problem. Epidemiological studies have shown an association between hypertension and stroke, coronary heart disease, renal disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation.
You should be more careful if you have a history of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular disease, renal disease, diabetes mellitus or recent weight gain.
Other cardiocascular risk factors include obesity, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), carbohydrate intolerance, smoking, high salt intake, alcohol consumption and not enough exercise. Click here for some Self-help High Blood Pressure Treatments.
Particular attention should be paid if you have a family history of hypertension, cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), obesity, diabetes mellitus, renal disease, alcohol abuse and premature sudden death.
Health Risks and Effects of High Blood Pressure
You are more likely to have strokes and heart attacks than people in the normal blood pressure range. The risk of cardiovascular heart disease rises significantly with increasing blood pressure. With time the pressure can cause the heart and kidneys to wear out, that is heart failure and kidney failure.
By keeping your blood pressure numbers within normal limits, we reduce the risks of strokes and heart trouble, including heart failure and coronary attacks.
Certain organs can be damaged by hypertension including the heart (heart failure, ischaemic heart disease), the kidney (renal insufficiency), the retina in the eye (retinopathy), the blood vessels (peripheral vascular disease, aortic aneurysm) and the brain (cerebrovascular disease).
Death in hypertensive patients have been mostly due to stroke, heart failure and renal failure.
Factors that increase chances of dying in hypertensive patients are : male patient, young patient, family history, increasing diastolic pressure.
With hypertension, smoking, a family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) make up a sinister constellation.
Pre-Hypertension to Hypertension Risks & Effects
Blood Pressure Monitoring
How often should you have a blood pressure check? It should be measured every year by your doctor. If you are over 40 years, it is wise to have it checked every year because it tends to creep up with age. Women on the pill need to be checked regularly.
You can also choose to purchase an automatic wrist blood pressure monitor or digital blood pressure monitor for your own home blood pressure monitoring.
Click here to refer to the Blood Pressure Chart.
Click here to know what are the Hypertension symptoms you should be aware of and the High blood pressure causes. You can also learn tips on better Hypertension management.
Find out how to lower blood pressure naturally, before you require long term blood pressure meds. You can also adopt The DASH Diet which lists foods that lower blood pressure.
Please seek Medical attention as soon as possible if you are unsure of you or your family's health condition.
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