High Blood Pressure

What is Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure acting onto the wall of blood vessels (arteries) when blood is pumped into these blood vessels from the heart. Blood pressure changes with heart beat. Blood pressure is at its highest when the heart contracts. This is called systolic pressure (also known as "upper pressure"). When the heart relaxes, blood pressure is at its lowest and is called diastolic pressure (also known as "lower pressure").

In normal condition, blood pressure fluctuates with physiological condition: excited, nervous, irritated, exercising, insomnia or stress can increase blood pressure significantly. In addition, diastolic pressure increases with age. 


Definition of Hypertension

In 1999, World Health Organization (WHO) and International Society of Hypertension (ISH) have established a scheme for blood pressure assessment:

Blood pressure for adults 

  Systolic Pressure   Diastolic Pressure
Ideal Lower than 120 & Lower than 80
Normal Lower than 130 & Lower than 85
Normal but high 130-139 Or 85-89
Slightly high 140-159 Or 90-99
Medium high 160-179 Or 100-109
Severely high 180 or higher Or 110 or higher

For an adult in a resting state, when his/her diastolic pressure stays at 90 mmHg, or if his/her systolic pressure stays at 140 mmHg or higher, he/she has hypertension.

blood pressure monitor


Impact of Hypertension

There is no obvious symptom for hypertension. People are aware of having hypertension only when complications occur. Smoking, high salt and high fat diet, the fast-pace living style, pressure from work and the lack of exercise are the causes of an increase in cases of hypertension in cities. Mortality of hypertension is only the next to malignant tumor.

Hypertension increases the work load of the heart, which brings higher pressure to the wall of blood vessels. The blood vessels become narrow and hardened. Because of this, the blood flow decreases and the heart has to pump even harder and further increases the blood pressure. People with extended hypertension have high risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, kidney failure and damages in retina. These complications can cause death.

Studies have shown that one out of two to three OSA patients also suffer from hypertension. Therefore you should pay more attention to family members who persistently snore at night and doze off during the day. They may have OSA. OSA patients should keep using CPAP to control their condition. It can also reduce the risk of having hypertension. 


Ways to control Blood Pressure

Treatment for hypertension includes the use of medicine and a change of life style.

Prescription medicine such as diuretics, angiotension II antagonists, collectively known as antihypertensives, can be used to treat hypertension. They are long-term treatments and the patients have to visit their doctors regularly to keep track of their condition. Antihypertensives have side-effects such as frequent micturition, dizziness and nausea in some patients.

In addition to medical treatment, exercise and change in life style and dietary habit are important to the treatment of hypertension.

Try to reduce dietary intake of salt and fat and avoid heavily seasoned or processed food. Cook by steaming and avoid using too much oil. Include foods that are rich in potassium such as broccoli, tomato, banana and milk.

Change your life style by quitting smoking and drinking. Stick to a regular life style and keep yourself in a good mood. Exercise such as swimming, Taichi or breathing exercise can strengthen the lung and heart and reduces the dose of medicine. These are long-term measures to improve your overall health condition.

Patients with hypertension should measure their blood pressure regularly to monitor their conditions closely. If you have any discomfort or change in your condition, please seek advice from your doctor immediately.

exercise 1


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