What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?
High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood pushing against our blood vessel walls is consistently high. It is often called the “silent killer” because one may not be aware that anything is wrong, but the damage is occurring within the body. It is generally defined as a blood pressure that is consistently ≥140/90mmHg.
Hypertension / High Blood Pressure Reading: Consistently ≥140/90mmHg
What can happen if high blood pressure is not treated?
Uncontrolled hypertension may lead to serious health problems including stroke, heart attack, peripheral vascular disease, kidney disease, eye damage, and vascular dementia.
Apart from medication, how can I lower my high blood pressure (hypertension)?
Following the ABCDE guidelines, here are some lifestyle changes you can adopt to reduce your blood pressure.
|Changes||Recommendation||Expected benefits in systolic BP reduction|
<30g/day ethanol (<700mL/day beer, <240mL/day red wine, <75mL/day whiskey or brandy)
<20g/day ethanol (<470mL/day beer, <160mL/day red wine, <50mL/day whiskey or brandy)
|Body weight reduction||BMI = 18.5–24.9kg/m2||1mmHg/kg|
|Cessation of smoking||Stop smoking||No independent effect*|
|Diet adaptation||DASH diet: rich in fruits and vegetables. (8–10 servings/day), rich in low-fat dairy products (2–3 servings/day), and reduction in saturated fat and cholesterol||10–12mmHg|
|Exercise adoption||Aerobic, at least 30 minutes/day and at least 5 days/week||3–7mmHg|
BP= blood pressure; BMI= body mass index; DASH= Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension
*Smoking cigarettes acutely exerts a hypertensive effect, mainly through the stimulation of the nervous system and release of “stress hormones”
(Source: Raffles Medical Group)