How Hypertension is Breaking Our Hearts
A cup of hot chocolate and a warm hug from your best friend: these are the things we recommend when it comes to soothing a broken heart. However, when it comes to actually taking care of your heart, many people are unaware of the best way to do so.
According to the Southern African Hypertension Society, approximately four in 10 adults older than 25 have hypertension – better known as high blood pressure. This means that nearly one billion people in the world suffer from this chronic condition, but only around 50% of these people are aware of it.
What is Hypertension?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the inside lining of the arteries. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when that force increases and stays higher than normal for a period. This condition can damage the blood vessels, heart, brain, and other organs.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are no symptoms. The only way to find out what your blood pressure is, is to measure it. Bestmed members can get their blood pressure tested when completing their Health Risk Assessment (HRA) at any of the Bestmed’s network pharmacies. (Dis-Chem, Clicks, Van Heerden, Alpha Pharm). While hypertension doesn’t present symptoms, it’s one of the most common causes of death and disability in low and middle-income homes.
Hypertension: women vs men
Hypertension is often considered a men’s health problem, but that’s a myth. In general, blood pressure in children and adolescents are the same in girls and boys. However, things change when puberty hits.
Medical researchers have found that birth control pills increase blood pressure in some women. Others who have never had high blood pressure develop it while they’re pregnant.
Once a woman reaches menopause her chances of suffering from hypertension increases considerably. By the age of 65, more women are likely to suffer from high blood pressure than men.
How Do I Treat Hypertension?
When it comes to healthy living, your grandparents were right: prevention is better than cure. Below is a short list of preventative guidelines that could assist in reducing your risk of hypertension:
- Eat a healthy diet with fruit, vegetables, grains and water
- Reduce your daily salt intake
- Choose water instead of fizzy drinks and juices
- Stay physically active
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid tobacco and high alcohol consumption
Checking your blood pressure
The best way to find out if you have hypertension is by checking your blood pressure. This can be done at the doctor’s office, at home with a blood pressure monitor, or even by using a public blood pressure monitor, such as those found in shopping malls and pharmacies.
If your blood pressure is above 140/90, you may need treatment to help to avoid heart disease or a stroke.
Our Health Risk Assessment (HRA) is another good way of keeping tabs on your health and the things influencing your wellbeing. As a Bestmed member, you have access to multiple types of HRA, including a blood pressure test.
Don’t wait for your heart to scream for attention. Take care of it today!