High blood pressure – is it dangerous?

doctor taking blood pressure

The facts:

– Most of the time there are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure

– Certain physical and lifestyle choices can place you at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure

– When high blood pressure is left untreated it increases your risk of having a heart attack, stroke and other health problems.

 

Hypertension or high blood pressure is an extremely common condition which affects over 60% of adults over the age of 75. As we get older the pressure in the arteries increases gradually over many years.  Your blood pressure is normal if it is below 120/80. When the reading becomes higher than this it is a sign that there is excessive pressure building up on the artery walls and potentially affecting organs.

 

To diagnose hypertension you need to have serial measurements taken during the course of the day as blood pressure varies upon waking and during the night. It also is important to note that blood pressure is affected by stress so some may go to the doctor and find their blood pressure is higher than when they measure it at home. This is all taken into account when diagnosing hypertension.

 

Hypertension is broken down into two main categories. Essential hypertension is the term given to those who have raised blood pressure but without a cause found. For those who do have a cause they are described as having secondary hypertension. Often those with secondary hypertension have a much quicker onset of raised blood pressure and a much higher reading than those without a cause found.

 

High blood pressure is concerning because the excessive pressure placed on the artery walls causes damage to blood vessels and organs in the body – particularly the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes.  Uncontrolled blood pressure increases your risk serious health problems including heart attack and stroke.

 

The changes you can make in your life to lower your blood pressure include:

– losing weight

– exercising regularly

– eating a healthy diet

– reducing the amount of salt in your diet

– limiting the amount of alcohol you drink

– quitting smoking

 

If your blood pressure is high and you need a specialist medical opinion download the My Emergency Dr App. This is an app that allows you to have a video consultation with a specialist emergency doctor within minutes, 24/7, from wherever you are in Australia.

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John Greenfield