High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is usually defined as having a sustained blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or above. Hypertension is a silent disease; the majority of cases in Malaysia remain undiagnosed.
Dangers of high blood pressure
“The line between normal and raised blood pressure is not fixed and depends on individual circumstances. However, as a general guide, ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/SOmmHg,” says Dr Anza Elias, Occupational Health Specialist of Sunway Medical Centre.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as:
- Coronary heart disease – where the main arteries that supply the heart (the coronary arteries) become clogged up with plaque (fatty deposits)
- Strokes- a serious condition where the blood supply to the brain is interrupted
- Heart attacks – a serious condition where the blood supply to part of the heart is blocked
- Diabetes and kidney disease
“Nevertheless, high blood pressure can be managed or controlled by making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and dairy products with reduced saturated and total fat; and exercising regularly – eg. brisk walking for 30-60 minutes at least five times a week. Depending on your blood pressure levels and risk of developing cardiovascular disease, you may need medications as well,” she continues.
Factors that can increase one’s developing high blood pressure include:
- Increasing age
- Family history of high blood pressure
- High salt intake
- Lack of exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Excessive drinking
- Medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, hormone problems, sleep apnoea and lupus
Checking your blood pressure
“The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure check. You can get your blood pressure checked at various places, including primary care clinics, some pharmacies and even workplaces. Adults aged 18 to 39 years with normal blood pressure who do not have other risk factors should be rescreened every three to five years; while adults above 40-years-old should have their blood pressure checked once a year,” Dr Anza advises.
“If you r blood pressure is 140/90mm Hg or above, you should see your doctor for a detailed examination. If you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or you’re at a particularly high risk of high blood pressure, you may need to have more frequent tests to monitor your blood pressure.
“Blood pressure tests can also be carried out at home using a digital blood pressure monitor, which allows you to monitor your blood pressure easily long-term. A home monitor may be especially useful for:
- Individuals who are on high blood pressure treatment, to determine its effectiveness
- Individuals with other medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and/or kidney disease
- People who have had some high readings at the clinics and need to monitor
- People who become nervous in clinics, which can affect blood pressure readings.”
For an accurate reading, Dr Anza stressed the importance of using a validated, automatic blood pressure device with an appropriately sized upper arm cuff. “Using a cuff that’s the wrong size can result in inaccurate readings. Measurements should be taken after five minutes of seated rest and before medication, food or vigorous exercise.”
Blood pressure is vital to the human circulatory system. Too low or too high – both can be hazardous to health. Therefore monitoring of blood pressure is highly recommended, not only for diagnosed patients. What could be a tedious control measure, will become a pleasant task with the upper arm blood pressure monitor BU 530 connect which provides precise measurement, intuitive operation and large digits that are easy-to-read. The measurement data can be stored and transferred to the VitaDock+ App via Bluetooth. Another highlight of the produce is the automatic calculation of the average value from the last three measurements.
This article is brought to you by Medisana. For more information, please visit www.medisana.com.my