More chronic conditions that raise your heart disease risk

2. High blood pressure (hypertension)

High blood pressure (hypertension) refers to a blood pressure persistently above 140/90 mmHg. It is commonly known as a ‘silent killer’ as there are usually no symptoms. “High blood pressure is one of the major causes for coronary artery disease, as well as stroke and bleeding in the brain,” says the Department of Cardiology at National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), a member of the SingHealth group.

If left untreated, high blood pressure may lead to long-term damage of organs such as the heart and blood vessels, leading to stroke, heart attack or renal failure. That’s why you should get your blood pressure checked at least once a year.

Causes of high blood pressure (hypertension):

Most of the time, the cause is unknown. However, blood pressure is likely to rise if:

  • Blood volume is increased by too much salt intake, leading to water retention.
  • Blood vessels become more rigid due to build-up of fatty deposits in blood vessel walls (atherosclerosis).

Risk factors:

  • Age
  • Pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney disease or hormonal imbalance
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood cholesterol levels

To control high blood pressure:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Take all your medications as prescribed.
  • Follow a low-salt diet to reduce the amount of fluid the heart has to pump.
  • Learn relaxation techniques that can help you manage stress.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Read on to find out what chronic conditions increase your heart disease risk.

Ref: R14