Blood pressure is deﬁned as the force in the arteries:
When the heart beats = systolic pressure.
When the heart rests = diastolic pressure.
The force is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), and the measurements are written one above or before the other.- with the systolic number preceding the diastolic number.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, in an adult is defined as higher than 140 mm Hg systolic pressure, or more than 90mm Hg diastolic pressure.
High blood pressure is directly linked to the occurrence of stroke and coronary heart disease, especially in combination with other risk factors such as alcohol and nicotine.
High blood pressure can affect children, but it is most prevalent among people over 35, heavy drinkers, people who are obese, and women who are using birth control pills.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure doesn’t reveal itself through symptoms. Many people can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. That is why hypertension is sometimes called the “silent killer“.
The only sure way of establishing blood pressure is to have regular check-ups, and to monitor it with a clinically validated device twice a week.
Many things can contribute to high blood pressure. They may include stress of modem-day living, obesity, excessive alcohol, smoking, and lack of exercise.
It is recommended to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, potatoes and rice. Animal fats should be avoided and use of salt should be limited. Regular exercise will help.
High blood pressure requires immediate medical attention when conditions arise which can worsen in minutes or hours. In this case blood pressure must be reduced without delay.
A Doctor should be immediately consulted in the event of:
- Chest pain.
- Confusion, weakness or seizure on one side, difﬁculty in speech.
- Vision problems.
- Shortness of breath.
- Severe back or abdominal pain.
- Extremely high blood pressure readings.