Hypertension is one of the most common illnesses in the western world and it brings along a severe risk of heart attack, kidney disease, eye disease and strokes.
Hypertension is the most common cause of strokes and blood clots in the brain. It is the blood pressure that decides how hard the heart needs to work, and pump the blood around in the body.
Often there are no symptoms of hypertension, but in some cases tiredness, dizziness, headache and/or a flickering of the eyesight may occur. Therefore, it is good to have your blood pressure measured on a regular basis. The heart can handle the increasing work -it has to perform- for many years, but in due time the heart and the kidneys eventually will fail.
In 2017 the guidelines for diagnose and treatment of hypertension have changed and are much stricter.
The new definitions are the following:
- Normal blood pressure: Systolic BP < 120 and Diastolic BP < 80 mmHg.
- Elevated blood pressure: Systolic BP > 120-129 mmHg and TAD > 80 mmHg.
- Hypertension grade 1: Systolic BP > 130-139 mmHg or TAD > 80-89 mmHg.
- Hypertension grade 2: Systolic BP > 140 mmHg or TAD > 90 mmHg.
If the patient is diagnosed with grade 1 hypertension and has a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease, BP-lowering medication will be prescribed and lifestyle changes are recommended.
If the patient has no medical history, healthy life style recommendations will be given and the patient should be checked again in 3 months.
Hypertension grade 2 patients need medication and regular follow-ups.
In case the BP is over 180 systolic or/and 120 diastolic, the patient is in a hypertensive crisis and will need to see a doctor urgently.
Healthy lifestyle recommendations:
- Don´t smoke!!
- Increase your physical activity. Aerobic exercise is the type that helps your heart the most. Aerobic activity is repetitive and rhythmic, and exercises large muscle groups, such as those in your legs, shoulders and arms. Walking, jogging, swimming and digging are all aerobic activities, as is anything else that gets you warm and slightly out of breath. Exercise 30 to 45 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week.
- Avoid overweight
- When you suffer from hypertension, eat your food without adding more salt; many people shake salt on their food without tasting it first!
- If you like your coffee, don’t make it too strong and reduce the number of daily cups.
- Avoid foods with white sugar and sodas, also the artificial sweetened soft drinks.
- You will benefit from eating garlic and onions every day; they reduce the risk of a heart attack and strokes.
- Only consume small amounts of alcohol. You should consume no more than 1-2 glasses of wine or beer per day and remember to drink plenty of water in between.
- Vegetables are filled with antihypertensive dietary fibers, so eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.