National Heart Centre Singapore explains why high blood pressure can lead to heart problems, diabetes, stroke and other health complications.
High blood pressure in Singapore
High blood pressure, or hypertension, refers to a condition in which the blood is pumped around the body at a higher pressure. According to the 2004 Singapore National Health Survey, 24.9% of Singapore residents between the ages of 30 and 69 years suffer from high blood pressure. Among the women surveyed who fell in this age group, 20.4% had the condition.
High blood pressure is present when a person’s blood pressure is persistently above 140/90mmHg. It is one of the major risk factors for coronary artery disease and bleeding in the brain.
Why high blood pressure is dangerous
Untreated high blood pressure can often lead to the damage of various body organs in the long-term, in particular the heart and blood vessels, leading to stroke, heart attack or renal failure.
If you have diabetes or kidney disease, you must strive to maintain your blood pressure at around 130/80mmHg, as even marginally higher blood pressure will increase your risk of developing complications.
Causes of high blood pressure
Most of the time, the cause of high blood pressure is not known. Although high blood pressure usually cannot be cured, it can be prevented and controlled in most cases. In general, your blood pressure will increase if:
- Your blood volume is increased by
too much salt intake, which retains more water in the body.
- Your blood vessels become more rigid due to
atherosclerosis, a process where fatty substances are deposited in the blood vessel walls.
Risk factors for high blood pressure
Older people are at a higher risk of developing hypertension.
2. Pre-existing medical conditions
According to the National Heart Centre Singapore, medical conditions such as kidney disease or a hormonal imbalance contribute to hypertension in about 10% of the cases.
3. Alcohol consumption
Drinking heavily may cause damage to your heart, but more directly, having several drinks within a short period of time can temporarily raise your blood pressure.
Nicotine in tobacco causes increased blood pressure.
In addition, you are exposed to chemicals that may cause damage to artery walls.
Almost two-thirds of the people suffering from obesity are at risk of high blood pressure.
You can reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure by keeping your body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 22.9.
6. High blood cholesterol levels
The risk of suffering from the complications of hypertension is increased if you have high blood cholesterol levels.
Read on for tips on
lowering your blood pressure without medication.