2017-08-23 06:00

HIGH blood pressure (hypertension), also known as a silent killer, affects one in every four people (aged 15-65). It estimated that an average of 53 men and 78 women die in South Africa every day from the complications of uncontrolled hypertension.

What does “high blood pressure” refer to?

High blood pressure refers to the pressure of blood on the blood vessels that it runs through. Much like the pressure air has on a bicycle wheel. If the pressure of a bicycle wheel gets too high it can damage the wheel and can stop the bike from moving. Similarly, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels and organs that have a lot of blood supply, like brain and heart leading to strokes and heart attacks, among other ailments.

How do I take control?

Taking control means to avoid blood pressure from staying high and damaging vessels and organs. Follow the simple ABC of blood pressure control:

A – active lifestyle: living a more active life works by different mechanism to lower blood pressure. Increased oxygen and improved circulation are some of the benefits. Now I’m not saying start to train for the Comrades. Start small and build, every little bit helps. Take the stairs instead of the lift and take your dog for that much-deserved stroll.

B – be knowledgeable: test your blood pressure regularly especially if it is not within the range of textbook score of 120/80mmHg. One reading on its own does not mean much, since blood pressure rises and drops regularly. What we should try to understand is whether there is a long-term trend, and avoid that.

C – consumption: cutting down on things that increase blood pressure goes a long way in improving and avoiding this and other conditions. These include salt, caffeine products, alcohol, red meats and smoking.

Supplied by Charldon Jacobs from Royal Pharmacy.


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