Hypertension is defined as blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg on repeated measurements by the doctor. It is a dangerous condition that is characterized as the “silent killer” because it can cause a fatal stroke or heart attack without any warning and without any symptoms. Early diagnosis and control of hypertension is crucial as it poses a direct threat for a cardiovascular event (e.g. stroke, heart attacks etc.). Overweight people and those with a family history of hypertension are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure readings.
What is the cause?
The causes of primary hypertension remains unclear, while the causes of secondary hypertension implicate factors such as obesity, heavy alcohol use, de regulation of hormones, stress and certain kidney diseases.
What are the
Symptoms of hypertension, which however normally do not occur, resulting in the disease not being perceived by a high percentage of patients, are:
How is it diagnosed?
The first steps of diagnosis include regular visits to the doctor and blood pressure monitoring at different times of the day. Then, in certain cases, further tests can be carried out, such as ophthalmological , hematological , urinal, electrocardiographical or echocardiographical tests of the heart and kidney, as well as 24-hour blood pressure measurement with a special portable device (holter monitor ) .
What factors increase the risk of this disease?
- Family history
- Sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical exercise
- Birth control pills and some other medications ( e.g. erythropoietin)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Increased salt intake
- High cholesterol
- Diabetes mellitus
What complications can it cause?
Hypertension can damage:
- The brain (internal bleeding, stroke)
- The heart (heart failure, coronary artery disease)
- Kidney (renal failure)
- Eye (blurred vision).
What can you do?
You can adopt a healthier lifestyle, which includes proper nutrition (to avoid obesity), exercise (to avoid the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle), reducing stress and alcohol and smoking cessation. If you fall into the high risk group, then you should do regular exams, while after the age of 30 you should measure your blood pressure at regular intervals.
Using an appropriate cuff
Using the correct cuff is an
indispensable prerequisite for an accurate measurement.
A correct cuff is one that has the proper diameter of the manufacturer to match the diameter of the arm of the person who uses it.
The correct measurement of blood pressure
Proper measurement of blood pressure depends on the position of the subject, the size of the balloon, the placement of the cuff, and other special circumstances.
Position of the person being monitored.
The patient should sit comfortably with the arm at a fixed position, approximately at the level of the heart. If the arm is hanging then the readings will be slightly increased (by about 8mmHg). Also, the person being monitored must determine the arm from which the blood pressure will be measured, which is the one with the greatest blood pressure (if there are differences). It is important that the hand, from which the measurement will be taken, be bear. Please read the user manual of the device you have at your disposal.