Manage Blood Pressure

Manage Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure?

Known as the ‘silent killer’ because it causes no symptoms, high blood pressure is the single greatest risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure means that the blood flowing through your arteries is flowing with too much force. 
This places a strain on the blood vessels and causes tiny scratches and abrasions to form. 
As the body, heals these microscopic tears, scar tissue is formed. 
Our once smooth arteries now have tiny lumps and bumps where fatty material and blood cells gather and stick to the artery wall. 
Over time, more and more material is deposited, causing the artery to become narrower and narrower. 
It is a vicious cycle as the blood pressure is further increased due to the narrowing of the arteries.

Monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis maintaining a healthy range will:

1. Reduce the risk of your arteries becoming overstretched and damaged.
2. Help to prevent blockages which could cause a heart attack or stroke
3. Ensures that your circulatory system works efficiently to deliver oxygen to your entire body.

What is normal blood pressure?

Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic or less than 120/80

What does this mean?

A blood pressure reading, given in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), has two numbers.
The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure).
The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure).

The diagram below shows the various categories of blood pressure.

Top number (systolic) in mmHG Bottom number(diastolic) in mmHGCategory
Below 90
Below 60
Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Below 120
Below 80
Normal blood pressure
High Normal
Stage 1 hypertension (mild)
160 -179
Stage 2 hypertension (Moderate)
above 180
above 110

*Ranges can be lower for children and teenagers.
**This is a general guideline.  What is considered to be low blood pressure can vary from person to person.

How is blood pressure measured?

A blood pressure test can be performed in minutes by your GP or even a nurse at a clinic using a blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer) and a stethoscope. 
The results are available immediately.  Adults should have a blood pressure check annually and even more frequently if you are over 40 and fall into a high risk group.

Take action to lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and yet it is 80% preventable by following these simple guidelines:

Reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Limit the amount of salt in your diet to no more than 5 grams (1 teaspoon) a day — or even less. Take the saltshaker off your table, and avoid eating processed foods.  Check the amount of salt in the foods you buy.

Eat healthy foods. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat free dairy foods. Eat less saturated trans and total fat.

Quit smoking. You should also try to avoid second-hand smoke.

Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing even 3 kilograms can lower your blood pressure.

Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure and keep your weight under control. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.

Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation — no more than one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.

If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough, or if you have stage 2 hypertension, your doctor may recommend medications to help lower your blood pressure.
Your doctor will discuss which medication options might work best for you. always take your medication exactly as your doctor prescribes it – if you don’t, you are putting yourself at risk


10 Great Reasons to Run

10 Great Reasons to Run

Runner’s World Magazine gives their best reasons to run.

Read more

100 steps a minute is the goal for moderate activity

100 steps a minute is the goal for moderate activity

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days. But what is “moderate activity”?

Read more

Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa Launches Think Red

Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa Launches Think Red

The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) launched its Think Red campaign at a formal dinner banquet at Cape Towns Table Bay Hotel on 1 February 2012.

Read more

Latest News

There are no latest news articles at this time