Hypertension

When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is the leading reason why so many people see their doctor. And widespread treatment of hypertension is also the main reason why there is a decrease in the incidence of stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure in the last 30 years.

It is not enough to get your blood pressure checked and then do nothing about it. If the blood pressure is normal then adopt measures to keep it normal. As we get older, the arteries tend to harden and the blood pressure goes up. If the blood pressure is high then make sure you follow the advice of your doctor. And medication is not always the best answer. There is more you can do to control hypertension than just popping pills once or twice a day.

What is the normal blood pressure?

Normal blood pressure is defined as systolic blood pressure of less than 140 mm Hg (mercury) and diastolic blood pressure of less than 90 mm Hg. It is written as – systolic over diastolic (for example 120/80 mm Hg).

Why do people have hypertension?

Hypertension affects 22 percent of Canadians. The incidence of hypertension increases with age. Most elderly Canadians have high blood pressure. No cause is identified in 80 to 95 percent of people with hypertension. This is known as idiopathic or essential hypertension. Others have hypertension due primary disease of kidneys or due to certain hormonal disorders.

What is the effect of hypertension?

For close to 100 years, it is known that hypertension causes premature death. It negatively affects the heart, brain, kidneys, and retina. It causes heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and retinal damage – blindness.

What can you do to prevent and control hypertension?

Hypertension can be prevented and/or treated with lifestyle changes with or without medication. Life style modification requires significant amount of changes in what you do and what you eat. Here are some of the things you can change:

-Lose weight if you are overweight

-Don’t smoke

-Limit alcohol intake

-Eat a low salt diet

-Do regular exercise – three to five times a week

-Relax and learn to manage stress

Hypertension is a silent killer. You may have high blood pressure but have no symptoms.
It is estimated that 25 percent of the 42 million people with high blood pressure in the United States are unaware that they have high blood pressure and approximately three fourths of those with known hypertension have blood pressure that exceeds the recommended level! This is dangerous!

So, when was the last time you had your blood pressure checked?

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