Blood pressure measures the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. Adult blood pressure is considered normal at 120/80. The first number is systolic pressure. which measures pressure as the heart contracts(pumps). The second number is diastolic, which measure pressure when the heart is relaxed (between beats). If blood pressure stays high over time (140/90 or above) , it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. It is common disorder and often affects adults over 60. Pre-hypertension is when the blood pressure is between 120/80 an 140/90. The risk of stroke and heart attack begins to rise as the blood pressure goes above 115/75.
• Ageing and hardening of arteries.
• Pre-hypertension(blood pressure of 20-139/80-89)
• Narrowing of the aorta (major artery of the heart)
• Adrenal gland disorders.
• Alcoholism.
• Hormone problems of adrenal or pituitary glands.
• Being overweight.
• Smoking.
• Stress.
• Sedentary (lack of physical activity) lifestyle.
• Sensitivity to sodium (salt).
• Genetic factors. Hypertension is most common among blacks and coloured-race.
• Use of certain drugs. These include birth control pills, steroids, diet pills and decongestants.
No specific preventive measures. Avoid risk factors where possible. Maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, eat a healthy diet (limit salt), drink little or no alcohol, and do not smoke. If you have a family history of hypertension, have frequent blood pressure checks.
Without treatment, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, smoke, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema and kidney failure. High blood pressure is called SILENCE KILLER.
• You Doctor will do a physical exam, measure your blood pressure and ask questions about your lifestyle and family medical history. Medical tests may include blood and urine studies. Other tests may be done to find a cause for the high blood pressure or determine if there are any complications.
• Treatment steps will depend on each individual. You and your Doctor will decide on a treatment plan. Steps may involve diet changes, weight loss, stopping smoking, and increasing exercise, limiting alcohol use, reducing stress and taking drugs.
• Take your blood pressure at home each day, write down results. Have your blood pressure checks regularly by health professional (Doctor or nurse).
• Counseling, medications, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, or other therapies can help you reduce stress.
• Talk to your health care provider before trying alternate forms of treatment such as acupuncture, diet supplements and others.
• One or more antihypertensive drugs to reduce blood pressure may be prescribed.
• Avoid non prescription cold, allergy and sinus decongestants drugs. They may raise blood pressure.
Increase physical activity. Exercise daily if possible or at least 3 times a week. This helps reduce stress and maintain normal body weight, it may lower blood pressure. Get medical advice about an exercise program.
Eat a healthy diet, high fiber, fruits and vegetables. Limit fat and salt use. If overweight, limit calories.
You or a family member is concerned about high blood pressure.
• Blood pressure increases or drugs used for treatment causes unexpected side effects.
• Call your Doctor if symptoms of heart attack or stroke occur.