Everything You Need to Know About Hypertension | Affinity Health
Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare cover, shares how to control hypertension before suffering from heart disease and strokes.
Did you know that 28 May is World Hypertension Day? Affinity Health says everyone must learn how hypertension manifests. Here are its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is also called high blood pressure. It is a common but serious condition.
Blood pressure is the force pushing through your arteries. This force builds up when blood tries to pass through constricted vessels. High blood pressure means that the pressure is more than what your body can manage.
When blood pressure is too high, it can damage your heart and surrounding organs. The surrounding organs include your liver, kidneys, digestive system and brain. If the condition continues, it can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Do you know that living with hypertension can be dangerous? Hypertension is a risk factor for developing atherosclerosis. You could also be in danger of developing cancer in these essential areas:
- Renal cell
- Pancreatic cell
- Endometrial cell
- Urinary tract
- Biliary tract tumours
- Gallbladder tumour
- Thyroid tumours
- Skin cancer
- Prostate cancer
What are the Different Types of Blood Pressure?
There are two different types of high blood pressure:
Primary High Blood Pressure:
Primary High Blood Pressure is also called Essential Blood Pressure and is the most common type of hypertension. The causes of this type of high blood pressure include ageing and unhealthy habits. Symptoms can also worsen when one is overweight and not getting enough exercise. Even worse if you are smoking and consuming too much salt.
Having primary high blood pressure requires you to make necessary lifestyle adjustments.
Secondary High Blood Pressure:
Severe medical conditions like hormonal imbalances or kidney failure can cause this. Symptoms can also get worse as a side effect of your medication.
If you have secondary high blood pressure, it will ease once you receive treatment. If medication increases your high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe a different dose or change your medicine to lower your blood pressure.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
Once you have a blood pressure measurement above a grade of 140/90, you have high blood pressure. Hypertension affects people of all ages. But the chances of getting this condition usually increase with age.
Usually, the main symptoms of high blood pressure include the following:
- Chest tightness
- Swelling in the legs
- Flushed skin
- Vision changes
But, in some cases, symptoms may go unnoticed, and you might not know you have high blood pressure until you have a health check-up.
Can High Blood Pressure Affect Pregnancy?
High blood pressure complicates about 10% of all pregnancies. There are several different types of high blood pressure during pregnancy, and they range from mild to severe.
The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
- Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that is present before pregnancy.
- Gestational hypertension presents itself during and towards the end of pregnancy.
- Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that develops in the latter half of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is considered a medical emergency during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women can experience extreme hypertension and dangerous swelling in a pregnant woman. It can impair normal function and cause seizures.
- Pregnant people who have chronic hypertension are at increased risk of developing preeclampsia.
Your health care provider will check your blood pressure during prenatal appointments. But be sure to talk with your provider when you have concerns about your blood pressure.
How is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?
Since high blood pressure can sometimes present with little to no symptoms. Your healthcare provider must check your blood pressure at every annual check-up or appointment.
Doctors consider four classes of high blood pressure medications first-line when starting treatment. The first line means they are the most effective. Sometimes doctors include other medicines to control your high blood pressure.
“More than one in three persons has hypertension in South Africa. Hypertension accounts for one in every two strokes. Two in every five heart attacks are also due to hypertension,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“If you have high blood pressure, try to get it under control. Take all your prescribed medication and follow a healthier lifestyle,” concludes Hewlett.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.