High blood pressure is the increase in hydrostatic pressure in the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
The cause of hypertension is unclear. But there are several risk factors including:
• Advanced age
• Alcohol abuse
• High-sodium diet
• Lack of physical activity
• Hereditary or genetic factors
• Renal, heart or thyroid disease
• Use of steroids, analgesics, contraceptives or cold medications
Primary arterial hypertension is a chronic disease, but in most patients it’s easy to control with medications.
If your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medications, it is very important to take them. If the medication cause any side effect or you can’t afford it, you should tell your doctor. There is a wide variety of blood pressure medications and your doctor is the one with enough knowledge to recommend changes in dose, type and number of drugs.
Hypertension is usually asymptomatic and could have serious consequences if it is not well controlled. When the blood pressure is not well controlled, the patient is at risk of having:
• Heart failure
• Heart attack
• Cerebrovascular accident
• Chronic kidney disease
• Renal failure
Some useful recommendations for patients with high blood pressure are:
• Lose weight if necessary
• Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, white meat, and water
• Reduce salt in the diet
• Increase physical activity at least 30 minutes daily almost every day
• Reduce alcohol consumption
• Quit smoking
It is also advisable to have a daily record of your blood pressure at home and show it to your doctor on your next visit.