Hypertension is a silent killer

ALEXANDRA - Residents have been urged to always ensure they check their sugar glucose levels as hypertension is known to be a silent killer.

As we near the warmer season, our salt intake increases with the braais that we have.

Most of us are already aware that too much salt can cause high blood pressure. What is high blood pressure and what are the causes?

High blood pressure or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the heart to all the tissues and organs of the body.

Family history increases the risk of developing hypertension. Other factors such as lazy lifestyles, obesity, and high salt intake can increase blood pressure. Hypertension is also related to aging. Birth control pills, steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs can also raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure usually feel perfectly well for years. This is because the heart, brain and kidneys can resist pressure for long periods. But this does not mean it is not damaging them. If high blood pressure is not treated, the heart becomes weak and cannot do its job properly.

This can cause heart problems resulting in tiredness, shortness of breath and swollen ankles. High blood pressure can also cause arteries to clog up faster. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

You need to have your blood pressure taken regularly if:

– You/your family have a history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack.

– If you have raised blood pressure, blood cholesterol or diabetes.

– If you are pregnant

– If you are taking an oral contraceptive pill

– If you have had high blood pressure during pregnancy

– If you are overweight

– If you smoke

You can control your blood pressure by:

– Having a healthy balanced diet

– Not being overweight

– Not having a high salt intake. Eat more fresh foods and foods which are low in salt.

– Not having more than two glasses of alcohol or avoiding it altogether.

– Exercising – strenuous exercise should be avoided if you are hypertensive

– Always taking your prescribed medication

– Not smoking

– You need to be screened for hypertension on a regular basis regardless of your age and genetic disposition.

For further info or testing of your blood pressure contact your nearest clinic.

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