High blood pressure threat more dangerous now than ever

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A common health condition that the Heart Foundation refers to as a “ticking time bomb” is being largely ignored by 99 per cent of Australians.

Australians are being implored not to discount the dangers of high blood pressure, with new research suggesting people don’t take seriously enough “the ticking time bomb behind almost half of cardiovascular disease deaths”.

A survey of 3633 Australian adults asked how they would reduce their risk of heart disease. Just 1 per cent said they would try to lower or monitor their blood pressure.

With COVID-19 mortality rates increasing for those with hypertension – usually defined as blood pressure above 140/90, considered severe if above 180/120 – the heart health organisation says it’s never been more important for people to keep it in check.

Evidence suggests that those with high blood pressure may be more vulnerable to serious complications if infected with the COVID-19 virus compared to the general population.

High blood pressure often has no symptoms, but, if untreated, can also cause health conditions, such as irreversible blood vessel damage or increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Heart Foundation says too many Australians are putting their health at risk by not being aware of how much harm high blood pressure can do to their hearts.

“High blood pressure is known as a silent killer because there are often no obvious signs or symptoms, yet it puts you at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke,” said Heart Foundation risk reduction manager, Natalie Raffoul. “The only way to find out if you need to do something about your blood pressure is to have it checked regularly.

“The good news is high blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active, limiting alcohol, eating a healthy diet and being smoke-free. In more serious cases, it can be managed with medications.

“If you have high blood pressure, now is an important time to look after it. This includes continuing to take your medications as prescribed, following a heart-healthy lifestyle, and staying in touch with your GP.”

When asked how to reduce the risk of heart disease, most of the survey respondents nominated exercise (69 per cent) or a healthy diet (65 per cent).

“A healthy lifestyle is important, but it’s also important to keep an eye on clinical risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Close to one in two heart disease deaths are attributable to high blood pressure, so knowing your risks and keeping your blood pressure within a normal range is a key part of protecting your heart,” said Ms Raffoul.

“If you’re 18 or over, the Heart Foundation recommends that you get your blood pressure checked at least every two years. If you are 45 and over, you should get your blood pressure checked as part of a regular, comprehensive Heart Health Check.”

The Heart Foundation has released a simple infographic to help Australians monitor their blood pressure at home, but those monitoring their levels in lockdown should ensure they are using a suitable machine before rolling up their sleeves.

heart foundation infographic showing how to monitor blood pressure at home

Source: Heart Foundation

“Many of the devices sold online are not validated, so ensure you’re using an approved machine if monitoring your blood pressure at home between doctor’s appointments,” said Ms Raffoul.

“Wrist and finger blood pressure measuring devices are not recommended and can potentially affect the accuracy of your readings. Check the British Society of Hypertension website for a list of validated devices, or buy from a trusted source like your local pharmacy.”

Worried about your blood pressure? Visit the Heart Foundation website or call the Helpline on 13 11 12.

Do you have high blood pressure? Are you concerned about it more now than ever?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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4 Comments

Total Comments: 4
  1. 0
    0

    I have 2 omroms which always record sys of 140 to start with and then reduce at 5 min intervals,,I have a terry white which seems more consistant at 118 sys
    As Omroms seem to be more popular why do they do that????

    • 0
      0

      I think
      It would be a good idea to take both your Omron and your Terry White into a chemist which offers BP measurement and ask them to calibrate for you. Just in case you have not had this done before, all it means is checking your apparatus against a known reliablemachine.l.think it’s probably not a good idea to rely on the lower readings.
      As for getting lower readings at 5 min intervals – that sometimes happens because you are more relaxed at a second reading. I think that if that goes on and on at subsequent readings there is something wrong with the machine.
      It’s easy to get obsessed with Nap readings so ask your to tell you how often you need to do it.
      S.

  2. 0
    0

    How can I increase my blood pressure?

  3. 0
    0

    Never had issues with high blood pressure, or low for that matter. Too much sugar, salt and animal protein contributes to high blood pressure, eat more plants and cut out processed foods. good website is: forksoverknives.com they have many stories of people who have overcome these kinds of health issues by turning to a plant based diet.


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