Why it is important to control high blood pressureBlog Health News 1st February 2023 Enquiries & appointments
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common conditions leading to ill health and premature death in the UK, with over 30% of the UK population having the condition. If untreated, it can increase the risk of serious problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.
There have been radical improvements in screening and detection by GPs, and in addition, the availability of effective, better tolerated anti-hypertensive medication has resulted in major reductions in the incidence of death and disability due to stroke and heart disease. This, together with better blood pressure control, has contributed to people staying well into their older age.
However, as people in the UK are generally living longer, doctors are now appreciating that even relatively mild elevations in blood pressure spread over many years can also have slowly developing detrimental effects. There are now established links to the development of vascular dementia and types of Parkinson’s disease, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
The key to a successful treatment regime is to find the right balance between early detection and for the patient to achieve adequate long term control through education, therapeutic lifestyle changes and modern antihypertensive medication with minimal side-effects. This can be challenging, particularly where the condition itself does not often cause any overt symptoms.
Doctors can help keep blood pressure to a safe level using medication, together with lifestyle changes such as:
- reducing salt intake
- cutting back on alcohol
- eating a low-fat, balanced diet – including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- losing weight if overweight
- regular exercise
- cutting down on caffeine
- stopping smoking
What works best is different for each person.
|Normal blood pressure||under||120||80|
|Stage 1 hypertension||over||140||90|
|Stage 2 hypertension||over||160||100|
|Treatment target thresholds||Systolic||Diastolic|
|Under 80 years||under||135||85|
|80 years and over||under||145||85|
If you have concerns about high blood pressure, our dedicated outpatient Cardiology team and consultant Cardiologists can help find a treatment that is right for you.
At KIMS Hospital we have a ‘Difficult to Treat Hypertension’ programme offering an initial set of investigations including first-line blood & urine tests, ECG, heart ultrasound scan (echo) and 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor followed by a comprehensive clinical assessment to then guide any appropriate changes in medication and discuss other potential treatment options.
Dr Winston Martin BSc(Hons) MBBS FRCP(UK)