Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects almost one in four Singaporeans aged 30 to 69 and usually has no symptoms.
Hypertension, even when severe, may not give rise to any symptoms. The long-term effective control of blood pressure is crucial in reducing the risks of complications of this chronic illness.
5 facts about hypertension
- In more than 90 per cent of cases, the cause of hypertension is unknown. The remaining cases may be due to kidney disease, narrowing of certain blood vessels or hormonal imbalance.
- Smoking, obesity and diabetes increase the chance of developing hypertension. Older people are at a higher risk of getting high blood pressure.
- Hypertension increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. If left untreated, it can cause coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and peripheral artery disease, which is the narrowing of blood vessels in the limbs.
- Slightly less than one in four Singapore residents aged between 30 and 69 suffer from hypertension.
- Blood pressure is typically recorded as a pair of numbers. Systolic pressure, the first and higher of the two numbers, measures pressure in the arteries between heartbeats. Normal pressure is less than 130/80 mm HG. Those with hypertension should:
- Know the target levels for blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol
- Lose weight if obese.
- Take antihypertensive medication as prescribed.
- Quit smoking and exercise regularly.
- Limit intake of all types of fats. Replace saturated with unsaturated fats such as nuts, vegetable oils and fish.
- Limit cholesterol intake. Foods high in cholesterol include organ meats, egg yolk, squid, fish roe, shellfish and animal fats.
- Increase fibre intake as it can speed up the removal of cholesterol from the blood. Fibre is found in oats, oat bran, barley, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Take early action to reduce your risk of hypertension
Keep Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5kg/m² and 23kg/m². BMI is a measure of a person's weight in relation to his height. Reducing excess weight will help lower your cholesterol level. High cholesterol clogs the arteries and the heart has to strain much harder to pump blood through them. As a result, blood pressure becomes abnormally high.
Exercise for 150 minutes per week, each time for at least 10 minutes. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
Limit alcohol intake to two standard drinks per day. A standard drink is 220ml of beer, 100ml of wine, or 30ml (about two tablespoonfuls) of spirits.
Sources: Ministry of Health, Health Promotion Board