Continued from previous page.

Prehypertension has no symptoms!

Prehypertension, like hypertension, doesn’t have any symptoms. You can feel normal despite having higher blood pressures. To check for prehypertension, you must have your blood pressure checked by a doctor or nurse on several occasions. If your blood pressure is noted to be high, you may be advised to get a blood pressure monitor for home use. Several readings are needed because blood pressure changes all the time, and an average is a better gauge of one’s usual blood pressure.

A diet high in sodium is a risk factor for high blood pressure. Because of Singaporeans’ high salt consumption and penchant for eating out, it is not surprising if many have prehypertension (or even hypertension) without knowing it. According to the Health Promotion Board, Singaporeans are consuming an average of 8.3g of salt per day, 60 per cent more than the recommended 5g (or 1 teaspoon) a day for adults.

Those with prehypertension should pay more attention to prevent their blood pressure from rising further,” says Dr Ian Phoon, Associate Consultant from SingHealth Polyclinics.

Are You at Risk of Prehypertension?

These factors may put you at higher risk of developing prehypertension:

  1. ​Being overweight
    ​A bigger body mass means more blood needs to be circulated throughout the body. Increased blood flow exerts greater pressure on the arteries. Excess body fat can also cause plaque buildup in the arteries, which restrict the passage of blood.
  2. High sodium intake
    A diet high in sodium has long been linked to hypertension.
  3. Family history of high blood pressure
    If a parent or sibling has hypertension, you may have a family predisposition to prehypertension or high blood pressure.
  4. Excessive alcohol consumption
    Having more than two drinks for a man and one drink for a woman per day can raise the blood pressure. A standard drink is roughly the amount of alcohol in one can of regular beer.
  5. Smoking
    Smoking temporarily narrows the blood vessels and causes the heart to work harder.
  6. Eating foods high in saturated fats
    Artery-clogging saturated fats are found in red meats, dairy products and processed foods.
  7. Medical conditions
    Conditions such as atherosclerosis (fatty buildup in the blood vessels and arteries), sleep apnoea (excessive snoring), thyroid disease​, adrenal disease and kidney disease can cause prehypertension and hypertension.​

See previous page for how to measure blood pressure.

Ref: S13​