Hypertension is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. An estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension. Hypertension is the major cause of premature death worldwide. One of the global targets is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025. (Source: www.who.int)
It is a dangerous condition, even more so because it is often symptomless. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the vessels as it flows throughout the body. If it is consistently too high, it can damage them and the circulatory system as a whole. It is often referred to as the “silent killer,” and it could lead to strokes, vision loss, heart attacks, and heart failure or kidney disease if not managed well.
“Hypertension is a known risk factor for heart attacks and stroke,” according to Matthew Sorrentino, MD, a Chicago cardiologist and one of the medical experts at Best Doctors. “The absolute risk for a heart attack or stroke will be dependent on the age of the patient, how long hypertension has been present, and the degree of elevation of blood pressure,” he added.
Understanding blood pressure readings
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to get it checked. If your doctor finds elevated rates, it is important to monitor your numbers. Many pharmacies have blood pressure machines for you to measure it yourself, and there are also many personal monitors available.
The top number, called systolic pressure, measures the vessel pressure when your heart beats whilst the second, called diastolic pressure, measures when your heart rests between beats. You should seek medical care immediately if you are in hypertensive crisis, which means, readings of 180/120 or greater.
- Low blood pressure – less than 90/60 mm/Hg
- Normal blood pressure – Less than 140/90 mm/Hg
- Possible hypertension – Between 140-180/between 90-110 mm/Hg
- Severe hypertension – Higher than 180/110 mm/Hg
Preventing and managing high blood pressure
The most critical component of preventing high blood pressure is a healthy lifestyle. Once you’re diagnosed, proper management can reduce the risk of stroke and other serious cardiovascular disorders. Lower your risk of hypertension or complications by taking these steps:
- Keep a healthy weight
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water and limit alcohol
- Reduce and manage stress
- Do not smoke
Sometimes lifestyle changes do not suffice to lower your blood pressure and your doctor might prescribe you medication to lower your blood pressure.
Because sometimes there are other underlying causes for your high blood pressure, it is important that your physician has ruled out these before he or she is starting a treatment.
Foyer Global Health has partnered with Best Doctors to ensure you make the best possible decisions about your health. The second medical opinion service brings you in contact with experts from all around the world, all from the comfort of your own home. An international specialist will re-evaluate your situation, or that of your family member, so you can feel reassured that you have the right information, diagnosis and treatment plan. You can contact them on +352 437 43 4263 or send an email to BDLuxembourg@bestdoctors.com.