A diagnosis of hypertension indicates that you are suffering from high blood pressure. In Australia, hypertension is the most common condition which affects the circulatory system. This condition is also the greatest attributor to the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A survey from 2015 found that almost six million Australians who are aged eighteen or over suffer from high blood pressure, with more than two-thirds of these individuals suffering from uncontrolled and unmanaged high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to serious problems with your health, including a higher possibility of suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. It is important to understand however that blood pressure levels do not always stay the same. It changes according to your body’s requirements and is affected by various factors such as your body position, breathing style, emotional state, and whether you are exercising or sleeping.
Blood Pressure Readings
There are often no warnings signs to tell you that you have high blood pressure. You may even still feel perfectly well. To diagnose hypertension, you should have your blood pressure checked regularly by your healthcare provider.
Medical professionals recognise high blood pressure when the systolic or diastolic pressure or both are above the normal range. Any reading which comes as above 140/90 mmHg is considered as hypertension. However, doctors have further divided hypertension into the following grades depending on the blood pressure reading;
- Grade 1; mild hypertension – between 140/90 mmHg to 159/99 mmHg
- Grade 2; moderate hypertension – between 160/100 mmHg to 179/109 mmHg
- Grade 3; severe hypertension – above 180/110 mmHg
Managing High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure remains continuously high, then you are more at risk of developing health problems. Individuals are considered at a higher risk of developing health problems if they are;
- Overweight or obese
- Physically inactive
- Suffering from diabetes
- Suffering from high cholesterol
- Suffering from social isolation
- Suffering from depression
Experts suggest that the following lifestyle changes can help to manage high blood pressure and to lower any risk of developing cardiovascular diseases;
- Reduce and maintain a healthy body weight
- Remain physically active
- Limit alcohol intake (two drinks a day for men, one drink a day for women)
- Quit smoking
- Reduce salt intake
- Increase potassium intake by following a well-balanced and varied diet
Sometimes individuals may need medication to manage high blood pressure levels; however, it is strongly advised that appropriate lifestyle changes are also made.
Antihypertensive drugs are available which can lower and manage hypertension. They cannot cure high blood pressure however they are effective in managing the condition. Unfortunately, once you begin medication, you need to take these drugs for the rest of your life to maintain healthy blood pressure. The dosage of these medications may also change over time; many patients require two or more different medications at a time to manage their hypertension.
For more information about managing high blood pressure, speak to your doctor or healthcare provider.
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Medical information published on this website is of a general nature only and not intended to be a substitute for informed healthcare professional advice or clinical care. If you have specific healthcare concerns or issues you should consult with a qualified health care professional such as your own GP.