Scientific name: Hypertension
A person’s blood pressure is recorded in two numbers; the systolic number, which is the higher number that is recorded first ,represents the force by which your heart pumps blood within your body, whereas the diastolic number, which is the lower number recorded second, is the resistance to blood flow in the your vessels. They are both measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
Generally, the ideal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. Moderate blood pressure is between 120/80mmHg to 139/89mmHg. High blood pressure is diagnosed when the starting numbers read 140/90mmHg+
Lifestyle: Diet – salt, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, oily food. Also diets that are low in fruits and vegetables are a contributing factor. Other risk factors in this category include obesity, a lack of exercise and poor sleeping habits.
Hereditary: These include your parents or bio- logical relatives having suffered from the same. Race also plays a part. Black people are more vulnerable to hypertension.
Underlying Health conditions: Conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, lupus, obstructive sleep apnea, hormonal problems, narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys as well as HIV and Aids can increase one’s risk.
Medication: This includes oral contraceptives, steroid medication, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, over the counter cough and cold remedies, herbal remedies, antidepressants and some recreational drugs.
Lifestyle: Change of diet to reduce fatty foods, increase fruit and vegetable intake, reduce salt intake and increase exercise. Stop smoking and restrict alcohol intake. Reduction of stress, regular sleeping hours of at least six hours daily, regular checking of BP and taking of medication as prescribed and advised by your doctor.
Medication: This will depend on how high the blood pressure is, its general effects on the patient’s health as well as their age. Taking all those factors into consideration the following may be prescribed: Beta-Blockers, ACE Inhibitors or a Combination.
COMPLICATIONS OF BLOOD PRESSURE:
Unfortunately, many are diagnosed with high blood pressure too late and when they are already susceptible to stroke, blindness and even death. Other complications include heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, aortic aneurysms and vascular dementia. Reduction in your blood pressure reduces your risk of complications considerably.
- Dr. Maurice Lusi, General Practitioner, St. Mary’s Hospital, Tassia