Hypertension is one of the most common health complications in many adults around the world. Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is known as “the silent killer” as its attacks and symptoms can pop up at any time without realization and can be fatal.

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In the UAE alone, around 30% of all adults suffer from high blood pressure in 2018, according to Dubai Health Officials. This is a very alarming statistic considering how serious hypertension as it can be fatal.

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about hypertension, including causes, symptoms, treatments, and how to prevent it. 

What is Hypertension?

hypertension

Blood pressure the process of person blood exerting against the walls of their blood vessels. When blood pressure is high, the harder the heart has to work. When this happens, the door opens up to other risk factors, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and aneurysm.

Hypertension is a long term condition that needs to be managed daily. Although its risk factors can happen at any time and can be fatal, they can be avoided with proper precaution.

Causes of Hypertension

hypertension

The causes of how people develop hypertension in the first place are often still left unknown. People who suffer from hypertension either have essential hypertension or secondary hypertension

Essential hypertension is when your blood pressure is too high but does not have other health issues or complications that may have caused it. Essential hypertension can often be the result of:

  • Certain medication
  • Blood plasma volume
  • Environmental factors such as air quality
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet
  • Stress 

Secondary hypertension is when hypertension is caused due to a current health condition, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease

Symptoms of Hypertension

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Most people who suffer from hypertension may not even know that they have the condition, hence the name “the silent killer”. The symptoms often go under the raider, and most people wouldn’t link them with hypertension. Only in rare cases will people notice physical symptoms of hypertension. They include anxiety, sweating, and insomnia.

When high blood pressure increases to critical levels, the person may experience nose bleeds and severe headaches. Other than that, it’s very hard to identify the symptoms of hypertension, and so the blood vessels and organs in your body are being damaged without you even knowing. This is why it’s important to continually check your blood pressure if you have an existing health condition. 

How to Manage Hypertension

hypertension

1. Be physically active

Setting a time to exercise every day and having a physically active lifestyle can significantly lower the risks of hypertension and can prevent stroke or heart attacks. It is recommended for people with hypertension to at least get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise every week.

Going for jogs, walking the dog, hitting the gym or swimming are good exercises to improve cardiovascular health as cardiovascular disease is a risk factor of hypertension. Being physically active also helps you to maintain a healthy weight preventing hypertension from developing and worsening. 

2. Avoid stress

Stress can play a prominent part in the rise and control of one’s blood pressure. Find hobbies or ways to manage stress better and get blood pressure back under control.

Relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation, warm baths, or playing your favourite activity such as video games, long walks or gardening can all help to reduce blood pressure. Avoid smoking as it can worsen hypertension as well as cause heart problems in the long term.

3. Medication

When you know that you have hypertension, proper medication from your doctor will follow. Your doctor will prescribe you medication to manage your blood pressure. But be sure that you only stick to medication that your doctor prescribes.

Any other medication you are looking to combat hypertension or an existing health condition needs to be run past your doctor first as it may affect or possibly worsen your condition. 

4. Cut down on sodium

The average salt intake for most people around the world is 9 grams per day. The World Health Organisation believes it should be cut down to 5 grams per day to combat the risks and development of hypertension as sodium is known to spike blood pressure significantly. 

5. Cut down on fat

Trans fats animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils need to be highly avoided when combatting hypertension. Managing the amounts you eat and your food portions are also important as these types of fats can trigger the risk factors of hypertension by spiking up your blood pressure. These fats can be replaced by healthy fats such as fish, avocados and olive oil. Just be mindful of the portions as they are still fatty foods. 

When to See a Doctor?

hypertension

If you are overweight, have an inactive lifestyle or are know that your diet is very poor, speak with your doctor. If you already have a current health complication, you should already be in contact with your doctor.

As hypertension is a very common disease and extremely hard to monitor, always be sure to seek advice from your doctor and get regular health check-ups, especially when you notice anything irregular in your health. As long as you stick to the above points on how to manage hypertension, you should be fine.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.