10 questions about hypertension. How to keep your blood pressure down, says cardiologist

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The questions are answered by McKenzie Cameron, M.D., cardiologist.

Reducing Risks

I feel perfectly well with my blood pressure of 145/90, but my daughter says I should see a doctor. Why, because it can be my working pressure?

Emma Connor, Stirling

Nowadays, such a concept as "working pressure" is no longer used, blood pressure can be either normal or elevated. Figures of 140 on 90 and above (and when measured at home – 135 on 85 and above) indicate hypertension. Elevated blood pressure can be normally tolerated, but even mild hypertension requires correction, as it is accompanied by an increase in cardiovascular risk. Treatment of hypertension includes both drug therapy and non-pharmacological measures – increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables, salt restriction, physical activity, quitting smoking and alcohol. With mild hypertension, only lifestyle changes may be enough to normalize your blood pressure.

Hypertension necessarily accompanies older age? Can it be avoided?

Isaac Clements, Cambridge

The prevalence of hypertension increases with age, reaching 60% or more in persons 60+. Still, not everyone develops hypertension. It is possible to avoid arterial hypertension by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a normal body weight.

At a young age, hypertension is also common, but mostly its development is due to either hereditary predisposition (if a parent also suffered from it in his youth), or, more often, an unhealthy lifestyle.

One-off jumps in pressure (once every two or three months) are a reason to see a doctor?

Edward Walton, Lisburn

Hypertension may indeed be situational, for example, after a night duty without sleep, alcoholization the night before, against the background of psycho-emotional tension. In any case, you should visit your doctor for advice on how to lower your blood pressure. Before the visit, it is advisable to check the blood pressure level daily for 10 days by measuring it on one arm, twice each time at rest in the morning and in the evening and when you feel unwell, and record the figures in a diary.

Is it true that overweight can provoke hypertension?? And "overweight" is what?

Chelsea Nicholls, Wells

Of course! Overweight is one of the leading causes of arterial hypertension. For each kilogram of weight gain, the systolic (i.e. upper) blood pressure increases by 1 millimeter of mercury. The risk of hypertension begins to increase with a body mass index of 25 kg/m 2, at 30 kg/m 2 the risk already increases by two and a half times, and at 35 kg/m 2 – four times and higher. However, reducing weight to a normal weight can lead to complete normalization of blood pressure.

It should be noted that diets are not the best way to get rid of extra pounds, as they often lead to only short-term results and can cause health problems. For a long-term effect, it is important to constantly adhere to certain dietary restrictions and to reach a minimum weight that can then be maintained without much effort. On average, this is a loss of 5-10% of weight, i.e. two BMI units. This will result in significant improvements in health and does not require heroic efforts. It is better to lose five kilograms and to keep this result than to gain 30 kg by means of rigid diet.

You should start by reducing the caloric content of your diet by cutting down on sweets (first of all, do not add sugar to drinks), flour and fatty foods (mostly industrially processed meat products). It is desirable to eliminate alcohol, as it is very caloric. In addition, it is recommended to reduce the portion size. Usually it is enough to reduce the caloric content of the diet by 400 kcal to lose weight. If physical activity is increased, it is possible to reduce the deficit at the expense of nutrition. So, at an average walking pace it is possible to burn about 200 kcal per hour. Options to reduce 200 kcal from food – avoid mayonnaise in sandwiches, avoid desserts, replace sweet drinks with water. This will provide a smooth weight loss of about 2 kg per month with a loss of 5-10% of the original weight over a six-month period.

I have arterial hypertension, I take medications. The therapist recommends more movement, but I'm afraid I'll feel worse. It may be better to be at rest?

Alex Fleming, London

On the contrary, moderate dynamic (associated with movements in large muscle groups) physical activity, such as brisk walking, helps to dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Regular physical activity can even lead to lower doses and amounts of medication taken. But it is not recommended to extend the motor mode if your blood pressure is very high – 180/110 and higher. In this case it is necessary to reduce the pressure with medication and only then expand physical activity.

If you get nervous, your blood pressure jumps. It turns out, not for the big words, they say that all diseases are caused by nerves..?

Katie Chapman, Starkville

High blood pressure is sometimes closely related to emotional outbursts, because the adrenal glands release hormones that cause vasospasm, which in turn causes high blood pressure. Anger outbursts are especially adverse to health. Therefore, for both prevention and treatment of arterial hypertension, it is important to keep emotions under control and learn to extinguish them in time.

Movement is life

Is it true that hypertension can lead to stroke?

Ditte T. Nissen, Las Vegas

Stroke and heart attack are the main complications of hypertension, because hypertension causes damage to blood vessels and the formation of plaques in them, which can block the lumen of blood vessels and cause formidable complications. Stroke is a blockage of blood vessels in the brain.
If hypertension is not treated, the risk of stroke, indeed, increases. But normalizing your blood pressure with the help of non-pharmacological and medicinal means will help avoid it. In a person who controls his hypertension, the risk of stroke is minimal.

I have periodic (once every two or three weeks) numbness in my left arm. Could this be a precursor to stroke??

Cornelio Fiorentino, London

Numbness of the hand is a symptom not only of stroke, but also a number of other diseases, in particular, of the cervical spine. But in order to find out the cause, of course, you need to see a doctor.

As for the symptoms of stroke, it is a sudden impairment of movement in the arm or leg, a sudden impairment of speech and facial asymmetry: skewness, inability to smile. And these symptoms may not be pronounced, in fact, only one of them may appear. The main risk factors for stroke are smoking, unhealthy diet, arterial hypertension, overweight, diabetes mellitus.

I know people who have fully recovered from a stroke, as well as those who have serious consequences. What the outcome of a stroke depends on?

Thea Olofsson, Midland

The outcome of a stroke depends on many factors, particularly the extent, location of brain damage, age and the presence of chronic diseases. And, very importantly, from getting timely treatment. As soon as blood circulation to the brain is disrupted, the cells begin to die. It is proved: the longer a vessel is closed by a thrombus, the more cells die. Consequently, the sooner help is given to open this vessel, the more likely it is that brain function will be restored. That is why it is so important to know the symptoms of stroke and if they appear, immediately call an ambulance, which will take the victim to a specialized hospital department.

They say that if a person has had a stroke, it will sooner or later be followed by a second. Is it so?

Gavin Black, Dallas

It is not necessary that there will be another stroke. Here much depends on the person who has had a stroke: whether he leads a healthy lifestyle, takes medications, follows the doctor's recommendations. To prevent recurrent stroke it is important to quit smoking, maintain a normal blood pressure, get rid of excess weight, take cholesterol-lowering and blood-thinning medications, stick to a Mediterranean diet and walk at least 30 minutes every day.