What is arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure?
Hypertension is a multifactorial disease of the artery walls. It has a strong genetic basis and increases the risk of other illnesses or cardiovascular events such as acute myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and others. It is not a result of the aging of the arteries, but it does require vigorous treatment once it is diagnosed.
"Hypertension," or "high blood pressure" refers to a sustained elevation of systolic (the higher number) or diastolic (the lower number) blood pressure, or both, at a level of 140/90 mmHg (sometimes referred to as 14/9) or higher. It should be measured at least 2 or 3 times in baseline conditions, with the patient seated and at rest and in a calm environment. At least 2 minutes should pass between measurements. Blood pressure can be measured during a single doctor's visit or on successive visits.
Hypertension lowers a person's quality of life and life expectancy. Ideally, blood pressure should be 120/80 mmHg (12/8).
Lifestyle changes help to reduce high blood pressure. These include: reduced consumption of salt and alcohol, a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoiding smoking, weight loss and increased physical activity.
There are many medications used to treat high blood pressure; these should be prescribed and monitored by a physician. Medication treatment should always be accompanied by changes in lifestyle to boost risk factor reduction.
It's best to face hypertension and never ignore it.
For a better quality of life!
Dra. Miryam Olga Ayala R.
Instituto Nacional de Prevención Cardiovascular.
Asunción – Paraguay