"The essence of health is inner balance" - Andrew Weil

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is a condition when you have high blood pressure, expressed as a fraction (greater than 130/80 mm Hg).The top number refers to the amount of pressure (systolic) in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. The bottom number refers to your blood pressure (diastolic) when your heart muscle is between beats.

Possible Causes: 

Hypertension is often referred to as high blood pressure. While it is not possible to precisely isolate hypertension causes, it has a tendency to build up over the years. However, the following causes contribute to secondary hypertension:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Stress and ageing
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Diseases like kidney, thyroid, adrenal gland tumour and sleep apnoea

Risk Factors: 

Those who are obese or indulge in too much alcohol, smoking or have a family history of high blood pressure are at risk of getting high blood pressure or hypertension. Other risk factors are taking excessive salt or too little potassium in your food. If you are under stress your blood pressure may increase temporarily. Chronic diseases like kidney disorder, diabetes and sleep apnoea also put you at risk of hypertension.

Signs & Symptoms: 

While some people have no symptoms at all, the following are some typical hypertension symptoms:

  • Pounding headache
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain and irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine

If hypertension is ignored or not treated, it can lead to a stroke, heart disease or kidney failure.

Diagnosis: 

Blood pressure is measured by a sphygmomanometer, to note the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

  • To make a definite diagnosis of hypertension, at least three readings of high blood pressure are required.
  • Our specialist will commence with obtaining information about your medical history, assess your risk factors and talk about your family history. 
  • Using a stethoscope our doctor will listen for any abnormal sounds which will indicate whether the problem lies with the valves or the arteries of the heart.
  • The specialist may attach a device to your hand to measure the blood pressure over 24 hours.

Other blood tests to measure electrolytes, creatinine levels, lipid profile, blood urea nitrogen, thyroid malfunction, and ultrasound of the kidneys, and CT scan of the abdomen, assist the doctor’s diagnosis. Get all these diagnostics done conveniently at Medcare.

Treatment Options: 

Consult a specialist in the Internal Medicine Department of Medcare to get the best hypertension treatment suited to your condition.

Blood pressure is known to fluctuate depending on factors such as age, emotions, activity and notably the condition of the heart. Your doctor will measure your blood pressure multiple times, when active and resting, to get a clear picture. Treatment of high blood pressure begins with diet modifications and exercise.

The next step is to lose weight if you are overweight, stop smoking and follow a healthy diet, which includes fruits and vegetables and less salt. Your hypertension medications will work better if you adopt these practices. 

FAQs:الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • Why is high blood pressure referred to as a ‘silent killer’?

    A: You could have high blood pressure without displaying usual signs and not even know that you have it and while undetected it could continue to harm your blood vessels and your heart. This increases your risk of getting a heart attack and stroke, that’s why it’s referred to as a ‘silent killer’.

  • What foods should I avoid and what should I include in my diet for hypertension prevention or management?

    A: Please include leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli in your meals to flush the sodium out of your body. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are a rich source of anthocyanin, oily fish like mackerel and sardines also are full of omega-3 fatty acids, seeds of pumpkin, flax, and sunflower provide magnesium. Beetroot, garlic and pomegranates are good for you. Avoid salt, fatty and preservative laden foods.

  • What is the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure?

    A: A blood pressure measurement is always in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). For example: normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. The upper number denotes the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The lower number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure).

  • How often should I get my blood pressure checked and how often should I meet the internal medicine specialist?

    A: Discuss your treatment plan with your doctor, and ask for the schedule of check-ups and hospital visits. Take care to follow this schedule carefully. Keeping your blood pressure under control is all about diligent management.