High blood pressure is a common condition which in the long-term cause health problems by causing damage to various organs which used to be called as Target Organ Damage. Commonly Heart, Kidneys, Eyes and Brain gets affected, however, the damage can be widespread.
As per one of the surveys conducted by Dubai Health Authority (DHA), One 1 in 15 individuals in Dubai is diagnosed with hypertension (6.7%) and there is a little gender difference in its prevalence which means male and female have an equal chance of developing high blood pressure.
There is a strong association between age and hypertension. As the age progresses the chances of developing high blood pressure increases. In the same survey,12.1% population in the age group of 40-59 years had high blood pressure as compared to 31% population in the 60+ age group.
Knowledge about this disease and taking preventive steps at the right time are important in managing this common health problem.
A silent Disease
One can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and target organs continues. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and Kidney Diseases.
Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work on it with your doctor to control it.
The common symptoms of high Blood Pressure are headaches, dizziness ,shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe stage. However, these can be the warning signs and one should at least get Blood Pressure monitored if they occur.
When you visit a Doctor and Get BP measured:
Whenever you visit your doctor, one should preferably Wear clothing so that the blood pressure cuff can fit around your arm properly.
One should avoid caffeinated food and drinks right before measuring blood pressure. You may want to use the toilet before having your blood pressure measured. Holding urine can cause spuriously high readings of blood pressure.
One should make a note of regularly taken medicines as few of them may cause high blood pressure.Inform your doctor of these medications.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot to discuss, it’s a good idea to note down everything before an appointment .
Various conditions make a patient vulnerable to high blood pressure. Some of them cannot be modified and some can be modified by changing lifestyle. It is interesting to note that modifying lifestyle has got therapeutic benefits.
It’s important to make note of conditions which one can modify to control high blood pressure. Some of them are – obesity, physical inactivity, Use of tobacco, excessive salt (sodium) in diet, Alcohol intake and Stress. Of course, there are other factors which one can not change like age,race etc.
Blood Pressure treatment goals
It is a very common concern of patients who are on treatment for high blood pressure that what should be their Target blood pressure level.
It is important to understand that naturally occurring levels of blood pressure and levels brought down with medicines are different entities.
Although 120/80 mm Hg or lower is the ideal blood pressure goal, it is not clear if medications are needed to bring down Blood pressure to that level. However, Natural occurrence of this level is a good thing.
The patients on medicines should have target levels as follows –
- For a healthy adult age 60 or older : Less than150/90 mm Hg
- For a healthy adult younger than age 60 : Less than140/90 mm Hg
- If the patient has had chronic kidney disease, diabetes or coronary artery disease or are at high risk of coronary artery disease : Less than140/90 mm Hg
- For the patients age 60 or older, use of medications may produce lower systolic blood pressure (such as less than 140 mm Hg), the medications won’t need the change unless they cause negative effects on the health or quality of life which patient can bring to the notice of the treating doctor.
Life Style Modifications
It is important to understand that lifestyle modifications have got therapeutic value and they should continue irrespective of medication use or occurrence of normal values on medications.The common lifestyle recommendations for healthy heart and blood pressure are-
Eat a healthy diet
The patient should take less salt and adopt Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH diet) which emphasizes on an intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. One should eat less saturated fat and Trans fat.
A lower sodium level — 1,500 milligrams (mg) a day — is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and individuals of any age who are black or who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Maintain a healthy weight/Increase physical activity
One should try and achieve at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination or moderate and vigorous activity.
Alcohol can raise blood pressure even in healthy adults. If one chooses to drink alcohol, it should be done in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries causing increased blood pressure and heart disease.
It’s always better to stitch in time to save nine. Knowledge is liberation and knowing about hypertension and means to avoid it can be a way to attain good health. We should try and adopt the policy of Prevention is better than cure.
Dr. Sachin Upadhyaya
Specialist (DNB) Cardiologist
Aster Jubilee Medical Complex, Bur Dubai