World Hypertension Day
Today, the 17th of May is World Hypertension day and if you didn’t already know the month of May is known as May measurement month. May Measurement Month is a global campaign to increase the awareness of hypertension and the issues that can arise from it.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels which is responsible for the transportation of blood around the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to vital organs.
For those of you that don’t know, hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure and is extremely common in the world today. I’m sure that each one of you reading this knows of at least one individual who has high blood pressure or is on medication for it.
Hypertension is one of the main causes of mortality due to cardiovascular disease complications and the scary thought is, that many of these could be prevented if people became more aware.
Hypertension is often known as a ‘silent killer’ because more than half of the people living with high blood pressure are unaware that they are living with it due to it rarely showing symptoms. If someone does have very high blood pressure, they may experience headaches, nose bleeds, visual disturbances, facial flushing, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, but not everyone will show these symptoms.
Hypertension can also have many harmful effects on the body without one realising it. It can damage your blood vessels, including the blood vessels inside vital organs such as the eyes, kidneys and brain and cardiovascular disease complications can lead to heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and even heart failure.
Many young individuals think that they don’t need to worry about high blood pressure because they believe that only the elderly suffer from it, but this is not true. Yes, It is more likely to occur in older individuals, but anyone can develop hypertension no matter what their age, gender, lifestyle or fitness level. You could be a young, active
and healthy individual who develops hypertension, which is why it is so important to get your blood pressure tested at least every year if it is normal.
What is a normal blood pressure value?
If you have ever had your blood pressure taken, you probably know that there are two numbers. The systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) indicates the pressure when the heart contracts and is always higher. The diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is the lower number and indicates the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.
For example, a blood pressure of 120/80 is considered normal and optimal.
There are various blood pressure ranges, ranging from “normal & optimal, high normal, Mild hypertension, moderate hypertension and hypertensive emergency.”
High blood pressure can be diagnosed when one or both values are persistently higher than normal. Mild hypertension is usually a SBP of between 140-159 or a DBP between 90-99 and if you have these values or greater, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
If your blood pressure is slightly higher than normal (130 – 139 SBP and 80-89 DBP), lifestyle changes can help decrease it usually, otherwise both lifestyle changes and blood pressure lowering medication can be given to provide you with the best hypertensive management.
Now that you know what hypertension is and know what the optimal blood pressure ranges are, look out for my next blog which will give you insight on what the risk factors are for developing high blood pressure and ways to prevent it.