The Truth about High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the underlying cause of 1 in every 2 strokes and 2 in every 5 heart attacks. It is a sobering fact and yet so many people do not take high blood pressure seriously, probably because it rarely has symptoms. Without visible signs, almost half of the people who have it are completely unaware of it.
How do I know I have high blood pressure if there are no real symptoms?
High blood pressure rarely has symptoms but that’s not to say it has none. There are definite visible symptoms and when you experience these you need to seek medical advice without delay. Facial flushing, headaches, nausea, nose bleeds, sleepiness, visual disturbances and vomiting and are all symptoms of extremely high blood pressure. As we said earlier, because of the lethal nature of high blood pressure, it is best not to wait until you experience these symptoms. At this stage, an appointment with a doctor is vital. The best advice we can give you is to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. There is a very good reason for this. Anyone can develop high blood pressure. It is not dependant on age, gender, fitness or lifestyle. It is true that it becomes more likely you will develop high blood pressure as you age, but it is not wise to assume that because you are in your twenties that you won’t have it. As we’ve said, to be on the safe side, have your blood pressure checked once a year.
How is blood pressure measured?
There are 2 measurements that you need to be aware of when it comes to blood pressure; systolic and diastolic. Systolic measures the pressure of your heart’s contractions, while diastolic measures the pressure of the heart while it is resting between beats. The measurement is given as the systolic over the diastolic. High blood pressure occurs when both readings are consistently higher than normal. If your blood pressure is 140 over 90 you need to see a doctor and begin making lifestyle changes immediately. While lifestyle changes may be enough, your doctor may also prescribe medication for you. High blood pressure medication needs to be taken regularly for it to work and it will, more than likely, have to be taken on a permanent basis. It is not a quick fix solution and should not be treated as such. If you have any concerns, please make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
For more information please contact: Dr T Kathawaroo (Specialist Physician) MBBCh (Wits), FCP (SA) Daxina Private Hospital
Telephone: +27 (0)87 087 0644
Disclaimer: Any information contained here is merely a guideline. Always visit your healthcare practitioner for any health-related advice or diagnosis.