Hypertension

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure is a silent disease which can lead to many complications and even death threat if not treated. In Malaysia the National Health and Morbidity Survey III indicated a prevalence of 32.3% for this illness.

Blood Pressure

Your heart works like a pump and it contracts and relaxes.The Blood Pressure measurements is in two readings e.g. 140/75

  • Systolic pressure – the higher number (140 in this example)
  • Diastolic blood pressure – the lower number (75 in this example)

Abnormal Blood Pressure

Category
Systolic
 
Diastolic
Normal
below 120
and
below 80
Pre-hypertension
120 – 139
or
80 – 89
Hypertension
140 and above
or
90 and above
Systolic Hypertension
160 and above
and
Below 90

Causes

The cause of hypertension is usually not known even after the doctor’s examination.

  • Kidney diseases
  • Drugs e.g. steroids, NSAIDs
  • Genetic factors
  • Alcohol and smoking increases risk of complications of hypertension (including heart disease and stroke)

Sign & symptoms

  • Most of the time, hypertension does not cause any signs or symptoms.
  • Sometimes a person may have non specific symptoms e.g. headache or giddiness.
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly at the nearest clinic. Your doctor will advise you on how often to check your blood pressure.

Complications

The high blood pressure will lead to increased strain of your vital body organs especially brain, heart, kidneys, resulting in damage. The type of damage will depend on how long duration and how fast the pressure rises.

  • Rapid rise blood pressure
    • This can cause confusion, drowsiness, fits and even death and must be treated urgently.
  • Long term high blood pressure. The prolonged stress of the body organs can lead to the following :-
    • heart – leading to heart failure, heart attack and death
    • blood vessels – leading to hardening of vessels
    • kidney – leading to kidney failure
    • eyes – leading to bleeding and damage to the light-sensitive area of the eyes
    • brain – leading to stroke

The good news is all the above can be prevented if you seek treatment early.

Treatment

Your hypertension can be managed using

  • Non-drug treatment
    • This would require you to modify your lifestyle such as
      • Reduce salt in your diet
      • Increased physical activities
      • Reduce your body weight if overweight via exercise and dieting
      • Stop smoking and alcohol intake
      • Stress reduction
  • Drug treatment
Last Review : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Lee Fatt Soon
  : Dr. Mohmad bin Salleh
  : Dr. Mohd Faudzi bin Abdullah
Reviewed : Dr. A. Khalek bin Abd. Rahman