High blood pressure or hypertension affects one in five Canadians. It’s the condition that occurs when blood is moving through the arteries at a pressure that is higher than normal. A healthy adult has a blood pressure reading of less than 120 (systolic pressure) over 80 (diastolic pressure). High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher (or 160/90 over the age of 65). This serious condition can damage blood vessels and the heart, increasing your risk for kidney problems, stroke and heart disease.
High blood pressure causes Risk factors of high blood pressure include family history, aging, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet containing too much salt, high alcohol intake and being overweight.
High blood pressure symptoms High blood pressure is called “the silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms. As a result, it is important to monitor blood pressure once every year or two through appointments with a doctor. An elevated blood pressure reading over two or more checkups typically indicates high blood pressure.
High blood pressure diagnosis/tests Get regular checkups so your blood pressure is regularly monitored. If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal, your doctor will recommend strategies for lowering it.
High blood pressure treatment Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, increasing activity levels and cutting back on salt, may be enough to lower blood pressure. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) plan is also recommended to reduce high blood pressure. In serious cases, medication may be prescribed. Antihypertensive medicines, such as diuretics and beta blockers, are effective for reducing blood pressure to normal levels.
High blood pressure prevention Keep your blood pressure in check by eating a healthy balanced diet and achieving a healthy body weight. Limit alcohol and salt intake and quit smoking.