You are here: Home > Education > High Blood Pressure FAQs

High Blood Pressure: some commonly asked questions >

Importance of monitoring blood pressure

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is the medical term used for high blood pressure.

Symptoms of high blood pressure?

For most people with high blood pressure there are no tell-tale symptoms. A number of symptoms are sometimes associated with high blood pressure but high blood pressure itself rarely causes symptoms. If you suffer from headache, dizziness, fatigue or nosebleed, it does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. You should however report such symptoms to your doctor and he may then check your pressure, but these all occur almost as frequently in people with normal blood pressure.

The only way you can find out if you have high blood pressure is by having it measured.

If you have never had your blood pressure checked it is obviously a good idea to ask your doctor to check it on your next visit. We recommend that you get a 24 hour Ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABPM) done to get a correct diagnosis.

Blood pressure chart

A general figure for normal blood pressure is that the systolic pressure should be below 140mmHg, and the diastolic pressure below 90mmHg. These figures are lower for ambulatory blood pressures.

What are risk factors?

It is now recognised that the cardiovascular system - the heart and blood vessels - are affected by certain risks in the circulatory environment.

These risk factors include: Family history; Smoking; Age; Excessive alcohol intake; High blood pressure; Excessive salt intake; High blood cholesterol; Obesity; Diabetes mellitus; Lack of exercise; Stress and Certain drugs

What are the consequences of High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure causes insidious silent damage to the blood vessels and the heart. If untreated, this damage progresses over time leading to the development of stroke and heart attack. These dreaded complications of high blood pressure occur at a younger age in people with high blood pressure than in people with normal blood pressure.

What can be done if you have high blood pressure?

This depends on the level of your blood pressure and perhaps also on the effect that the rise in blood pressure has had on your heart and blood vessels. Other factors will also be taken into account, such as your family history, and the presence of other risks, such as smoking, overweight or diabetes.

If your doctor decides that you do have high blood pressure, you may be sent for some further investigations and treatment with tablets may be started.

Link to further questions and answers on hypertension and high blood pressure