Hypertension
Hypertension, or more commonly known as high blood pressure, is when there is too much force on the walls of blood vessels. It is the most common among the diseases of the cardiovascular system, and is one of the major risk factors in the development of stroke and heart attack. Early treatment can improve long-term outcomes.
Last Updated: February 21, 2024

It is currently unclear what exact changes lead to a higher blood pressures. Various factors that may play a role include genetics, lack of physical activity, being overweight/obese, and an unhealthy diet. In addition, other factors which may increase the risk for hypertension include: • Increasing age (above 40 years old for males; menopausal age for females) • Smoking • Chronic stress • Heavy alcohol consumption • High cholesterol level

Hypertension often has no symptoms, which is why some people refer to it as a “silent killer.” Most symptoms appear when the blood pressure is already very high; these include: • Headache • Dizziness or lightheadedness • Blurred vision • Nausea and vomiting • Chest pain and shortness of breath

Hypertension is usually diagnosed during a visit to a doctor, and is often confirmed after more than two readings of elevated blood pressure over more than two visits. Individuals with high blood pressure are advised lifestyle changes to help lower their blood pressure. This includes: • Maintaining a healthy weight • Exercising regularly • Eating a healthy diet (usually low fat and low salt) • Stopping or avoiding cigarette smoking • Limiting alcohol intake • Reducing stress Anti-hypertensive medications to control and maintain blood pressure may be given to those who don’t respond to the lifestyle changes above. To assess if the medications are working well, regular blood pressure monitoring (at least 1-2x a week, or as recommended by health care provider) is strongly encouraged. Also, regular follow-up with a health care provider is necessary to adjust the medications as needed

Changing your lifestyle is the single most important way to help prevent high blood pressure; this includes: • Maintaining a healthy weight • Exercising regularly • Eating a healthy diet (usually low fat and low salt) • Stopping or avoiding cigarette smoking • Limiting alcohol intake • Reducing stress
Last Updated: February 21, 2024