This is a myth. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is termed a 'silent killer' and is typically without symptoms.

"The harm of hypertension progresses silently and damages arteries supplying blood to heart muscles, brain, kidneys and other organs," explains Dr Tan Huey Chieng, Family Physician from Outram Community Hospital (OCH), managed under SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), a member of the SingHealth group.  

"Hence, regular blood pressure screening and monitoring therefore aim at early detection and treatment before permanent complications."

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a fairly common problem in Singapore:

  • 30 to 69 years age group: About 1 in 4 persons have hypertension
  • 60 to 69 years age group: More than 1 in 2 persons have hypertension

Here are other common misconceptions about high blood pressure (hypertension).

Related article: High blood pressure affects men and women differently. Find out how.

Myth 1: I am only at risk of getting hypertension if my diet is high in sodium or if I am overweight.

Fact: Besides a high-sodium diet and obesity, primary (essential) hypertension is also associated with risk factors such as advancing age, family history, alcoholism and physical inactivity.

While approximately 90-95% of adults with hypertension have primary hypertension, some patients require further evaluation for secondary hypertension - high blood pressure resulted from certain medications or underlying medical conditions. Congenital heart disease, kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnoea, thyroid disorder and other endocrine disorders are some causes of secondary hypertension.

Related article: Got high blood pressure? What you should eat and foods to avoid

Myth 2: I cannot avoid it since hypertension runs in the family.

Fact: Family history of hypertension may increase your risk of developing hypertension.

In this scenario, working towards modifiable risk factors such as diet control, regular exercise, smoking cessation are the right steps in lowering your risk of hypertension.

Myth 3: If I feel good, I can skip my hypertension medication for the day.

Fact: Hypertension is a chronic disease that requires life-long treatment.

If you are on medication for your hypertension, it is important to take your medication as prescribed, to improve blood pressure control. Skipping or defaulting anti-hypertensive medications can lead to hypertensive emergencies including stroke, heart attack and death. If you experience difficulties adhering to your medication prescription, consult your family physician to have a discussion.

Related article: If you often feel stressed or have a bad temper, you are more prone to get hypertension. Fact or myth?

Articles on are meant for informational purposes only and cannot replace professional surgical, medical or health advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Photo courtesy of iStock.