Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Silent Killer: Hypertension

Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is defined as an arterial blood pressure of greater than or equal to 140/90mm Hg, or a condition required control of blood pressure with medication. Hypertension is not only highly associated with Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, it can also damage our body in many way. Persistent high blood pressure will bring harm to other major organs such heart, kidney as well as blood vessels.

Hypertension is best described as ‘SILENT KILLER’ as it usually does not have any symptoms and one may have it for years without knowing it. Some people only learn that they have hypertension after the damage has caused problems, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure. This is why always kept your blood pressure in check or closely watch is important!

BLOOD PRESSURE is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps the blood through a network of arteries, veins, and capillaries.

Blood Pressure Numbers
You should know how to read the blood pressure number before you can manage your blood pressure well. Blood pressure number always comes in two readings, the SYSTOLIC and DIASTOLIC pressures. SYSTOLIC BLOOD PRESSURE is the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. DIASTOLIC BLOOD PRESSURE is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. Blood pressure numbers usually write with the systolic number above or before the diastolic, such as 120/80 mmHg.

How high is high?
Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults (in mmHg, or millimeters of mercury)
Normal : Systolic Less than 120 And Diastolic Less than 80
Prehypertension: Systolic between 120–139 Or Diastolic between 80–89
High blood pressure
Stage 1: Systolic between140–159 Or Diastolic between 90–99
Stage 2: Systolic between 160 or higher Or Diastolic between 100 or higher

The classification chart is based on adults, aged 18 and older, who are not taking high blood pressure medicines and who are not acutely ill.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

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