All you need to know about high blood pressure on World Hypertension Day!
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common cardiovascular condition and the strongest single modifiable cause for future heart attacks and strokes. This is a largely asymptomatic condition which is usually only detected on cardiac health screening. Early detection is vital to ensure targeted treatment to prevent or delay cardiovascular disease.
Risk factors related to developing hypertension include a sedentary lifestyle, obesity/high BMI, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, family history of high blood pressure or heart disease/strokes, poor sleep patterns, high stress/anxiety, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. High blood pressure at a young age, and with no risk factors, should also prompt screening for other medical conditions that can cause hypertension. Additional investigations, such as blood tests, urine tests and electrocardiogram (ECG), can also be useful to look for evidence of high-blood pressure related organ damage, and to screen for other cardiac risk factors.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring over 24 hours, or regular home blood pressure monitoring can help with early detection of the condition, and lifestyle measures such as keeping active (at-least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week), a minimum of 5-a-day fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and BMI, keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum and not smoking, can all help to keep blood pressure within normal limits (systolic BP around 135 mmHg). Where these measures do not work, medications can be a useful addition to lifestyle measures, to help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing future coronary artery disease, kidney damage, heart attacks and strokes.
Thus, hypertension is an important condition to recognise and address even in young adults, and treatment goals should be individualised to take personal characteristics and co-morbidities into account through regular cardiac screening. Please contact the Whitehall Clinic if you would like more information regarding our Cardiac Screening services, or to arrange an ambulatory blood pressure monitor with Cardiology review.