Frequently Asked Questions – Hypertension

May 18, 2022

As world Hypertension Day aims to exercise awareness of hypertension (often called high blood pressure) to the public, Busamed Harrismith invited one of its Resident Specialist Physicians, Dr M Mohale, to talk to us about Frequently Asked Questions regarding this disease.

What Causes High Blood Pressure or hypertension?

The actual cause of hypertension is unknown, however there are various factors that play a role in the cause of hypertension. These factors include a diet high in salt, fat and cholesterol. Chronic conditions contribute as well as family history and hormone problems.

What Is a Normal Blood Pressure?

Normal blood pressure is anything less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic.

How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure?

Unfortunately, the illness has no symptoms, and can lead to serious diseases such as a heart attack or stroke. It is therefore advisable that one does regular checks. Rare symptoms which may lead to hypertension are severe headaches, nosebleeds, vision problems, chest pains, blood in urine and difficulty breathing. For confirmation and diagnose seek medical treatment by visiting your doctor.

What are the causes?

Hypertension can be classified into primary and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension has no cause; it can be familial and usually found in older patients especially above the age of 35. With secondary hypertension, there is an underlying cause or condition, causing the high blood pressure.

Such causes can be:

  1. Underlying hormone problems like hyperthyroidism, phaeochromocytoma.
  2. Rentals vascular disorders
  3. Drugs like steroids.

It is advisable to check for secondary hypertension causes in patients younger than 30 years and in patients with resistant hypertension.  Once the underlying cause is treated, it can help control the high blood pressure.

Can hypertension be cured?

There is no cure for hypertension. Taking treatment prescribed by your doctor and prioritizing your health can only lower your high blood pressure. It is important that you exercise regularly, be aware of your diet and try to limit meals with high quantities of salt. Healthy lifestyle contributes towards lowering hypertension.

What are complications associated with uncontrolled high blood?
Uncontrolled blood pressure damages your vessels, and it can lead to Strokes, Renal failure and Heart attack.

Healthy Diet
Dietitian – Kerry Pilditch

Add veggies

There’s no way to follow healthy eating habits without your veggies. And they’re packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants making them vital to healthy living. Try to add vegetables to lunch and dinner daily.

Plan ahead

A common reason for eating unhealthy snacks or take-outs is a lack of planning. Spend some time on your weekend or days off planning ahead for your meals for the week. Make sure you have healthy snacks like fruits, nuts and popcorn ready for the week, check to see if you still have vegetables in your fridge and freezer and make a list of things you need to get from the shops. Making foods in bulk such as roast chicken breasts (these can be cooked and frozen), a large portion of brown rice (to use for a few lunches) or roast vegetables (have these for lunch with tuna, chicken or in salad) can make preparing lunches in the week easier.

Dr Malekhetho Mohale
Dr Malekhetho Mohale

Specialist Physician