Hypertension: the silent killer | The Sunday Mail

What is elevated blood pressure?

When your heart pumps blood into your blood vessels, the pressure of the blood against the artery walls is called your blood pressure.

Your blood pressure is given as two digits: systolic about diastolic blood pressure. Your systolic blood pressure is the highest blood pressure in the course of your heart rhythm cycle. Your diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure.

Medical guidelines define hypertension as a blood pressure higher than 130 older than 80, as issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) in November 2017.

If your blood pressure gets too high, it will put extra pressure on your heart and blood vessels. If your blood pressure stays high all the time, you run a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems and other health problems.

What are the causes of


The exact causes of hypertension are not known, but various issues (risk factors) may play a role, including:


Being overweight or obese.

Lack of physical activity.

Too much salt in the diet.

Too much alcohol consumption (more than one to two drinks per day)


Older age.


Kidney problems

In many cases it may not be possible to identify a cause or risk factor. The more risk factors a person has, the more likely they are to develop hypertension.

How can one prevent hypertension?

The best way to prevent hypertension is to choose to live a healthy life that is making healthy lifestyle choices. Lifestyle plays an important role in the treatment of your high blood pressure.

If you can successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you can avoid, postpone or reduce the need for medication. The following lifestyle choices are important in the prevention and management of hypertension:

  1. Lose weight and watch your waist

Blood pressure often increases as the weight increases. Being overweight can cause disturbed breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), causing your blood pressure to rise further. Weight loss is one of the most effective changes in lifestyle for controlling blood pressure.

Losing even a little bit of weight if you are overweight or overweight can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, you can lower your blood pressure by about 1 millimeter of mercury (mmHg) with every kilogram you lose. In addition to shedding weight, you generally also have to keep an eye on your waist. Wearing too much weight around your waist can give you a higher risk of high blood pressure.

  1. Practice regularly

Regular exercise – such as 150 minutes per week, or about 30 minutes on most days of the week – can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.

It is important to be consistent, because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure may rise again. If you have high blood pressure, exercise can help prevent hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure to a safer level.

  1. Eat a healthy diet

Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure to 11 mmHg if you have high blood pressure. Avoid fast food that is rich in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Salt is an important risk factor for hypertension, therefore one must minimize its intake. Avoid adding salt to the table.

  1. Limit the amount of alcohol you take

Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only with moderation – usually one drink per day for women, or two per day for men – you can lower your blood pressure by about 4 mmHg. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually increase blood pressure with multiple points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medication

  1. Stop smoking

Every cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you are done. By stopping smoking your blood pressure will return to normal.

Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. People who stop smoking can live longer than people who never stop smoking

Treatment of hypertension

Lifestyle adjustments are the standard first-line treatment for hypertension. Avoiding stress or developing strategies to control unavoidable stress can help with blood pressure control. People with a blood pressure higher than 130 over 80 can use medication to treat hypertension.

There are different types of medicines available to lower blood pressure. It is important that the treatment of hypertension is carefully monitored by your doctor or nurse. Serious life-threatening complications can occur if hypertension is not adequately controlled, hence the need for continuous monitoring by a healthcare provider.

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