What is High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is important as without treatment, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney failure. More than 10% of the whole population have hypertension.
If your blood pressure is consistently above the target of 140/85 you need further assessment. If you have diabetes mellitus, then any blood pressure over 130/80 probably needs further assessment.
Assessing High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure should be assessed in the context of all your cardiovascular risk factors, including your age, gender, cholesterol level, smoking history and family history. In addition, some basic blood tests, an Electrocardiogram (ECG ) and an Echocardiogram (TTE ), are often performed to assess your risk further. A 24-hour blood pressure monitor may help assess treatment quality, and to decide if treatment is really warranted in borderline cases.
Blood pressure is lowered by:
- Stopping smoking
- Losing weight
- Low salt, high fibre diet
There are national guidelines on the choice of drug treatment. Most patients will need more than one drug to achieve blood pressure control.