Arterial hypertension is one of the most common diseases of the cardiovascular system. Let us try to answer some frequently asked questions about it.
What is Blood Pressure?
The power with which the heart pushes the blood to the vessels at every pulse.
What do the two values mean?
The first measurement (the systolic) represents the force of the blood pressure exerted on the walls of the vessels during the contraction of the heart while the second measurement (or diastolic) during the expansion of the heart.
What is hypertension?
This is the situation where blood pressure is increased. Because arterial hypertension is an asymptomatic disease, blood pressure must be measured to be diagnosed.
How do we measure blood pressure?
Using an instrument called sphygmomanometer.
The instructions that the subject should follow before measuring the blood pressure are:
- not having drunk coffee and not smoking at least half an hour before
- the measurement is done in a seated position after the subject has rest for about 5 minutes,
be relaxed, calm and in a pleasant environment
- the back resting on the back of the chair and the arm resting on a fixed surface (eg a table)
- the cuff of the sphygmomanoter fits well on the arm and if the sleeve is tight it should be removed
- the cuff should be approximately at the height of the heart
It would be advisable to take 2 measurements and to avoid measuring when the subject has a headache or an annoyance or severe fatigue because the measurement will not correspond to the actual pressure.
Do we measure pressure, at home or in the office?
Both measurement in the office and at home can provide valuable information to the treating physician about the diagnosis as well as the treatment plan to be followed.
What are the risks of hypertension?
Arterial hypertension can cause damage to many organs of the body, such as the heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and vessels. Because it is an asymptomatic condition, it is likely that many of these lesions will not be diagnosed early.
Uncontrolled hypertension is responsible for:
- 67% of cardiac events
- 77% of strokes
- 74% of heart failure
- kidney failure (second cause)
- the worsening of brain dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease
What can I do if I have arterial hypertension?
For successful regulation of the pressure, the patient’s cooperation with his doctor is very important. There are seven important areas for the patient to be actively involved in treatment of hypertension.
- Improving eating habits by adopting a Mediterranean diet and reducing the use of salt
- Physical activity on a daily basis
- Maintaining normal body weight
- Managing stress
- Stopping smoking
- Compliance with medication provided by the attending physician
- Reduce alcohol intake
Following the above instructions will greatly increase the chances of good blood pressure regulation.
In addition, those who do not suffer from hypertension, by putting a healthier lifestyle in their daily lives, can:
- lower baseline blood pressure
- slow down or stop the onset of arterial hypertension
and therefore prevent all of these complications that hypertension may cause in the cardiovascular system.