From The Stetoscope – High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure (The Silent Killer)
High Blood Pressure (The Silent Killer)

High blood pressure (BP) or hypertension has been called the “silent killer” because very often there are NO visible signs to warn you that your BP is high.

The danger is, that although you may not experience any symptoms, damage is still done to your body. In advanced cases of high BP, headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, sleep-iness, vomiting and even seizures can occur. High BP means that the blood presses hard against the walls of the larger arteries.

This condition develops if the walls of these larger arteries loose their natural elasticity and become more rigid. At the same time the smaller blood vessels become narrower too. It is a known fact that 1 in 4 South Africans between the ages of 15-64 years, suffers from high BP. Hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and early death. It is believed that 2 out of 3 people with high BP are totally unaware of their condition. Potential complications of a high BP include:

  • Stroke
  • Hypertensive retinopathy in the eye
  • Arteriosclerosis to blood vessels
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Heart attack
  • Enlarged left ventricle
  • Kidney disorders

Have your BP checked if any of the following apply to you:

  • Smoking
  • Overweight
  • Poor eating habits
  • High stress levels
  • Lack of exercise
  • Men between 35– 55 years
  • Women 45 years and older
  • After menopause
  • Consuming more than 2 measures of alcohol per day
  • Pregnancy Lifestyle adaptation is extremely important in the treatment of hypertension.

The following is some general advice:

  • Loose weight
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Avoid coffee, energy drinks, cola soft drinks and chocolate
  • Do some regular physical activity
  • Eat 3-6 small meals per day and follow a healthy balanced diet
  • Limit salt intake
  • Stop smoking
  • Use medication as prescribed by your doctor
  • Check your BP regularly

Warning:

  • Do not swop medication prescribed to control your high BP amongst friends and family
  • Do not take your medication with alcohol
  • Do not stop or change your medication without first consulting your doctor.

Aniki Joseph Private Nurse Practitioner Cell: 078 119 6968