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Living

Living

with Hypertension

Living with Hypertension: frequently asked questions

How common is hypertension?

Approximately 4 in 10 adults over age 25 have hypertension.1
It is also estimated that more than 60% of people over 60 years old and 9 of 10 adults living to 80 years of age will develop hypertension.1,2

I am 25 years old, I am slim, and there is no history of hypertension in my family. Should I consider myself immune from hypertension?

No, high blood pressure can affect anyone. Though it is indeed more common in older people, those with a family history, or who are overweight, no one is safe from hypertension. Other risk factors also exist.3-5

Will hypertension go away without treatment?

It is quite uncommon for hypertension to disappear by itself. In fact, blood pressure tends to get higher with time and the risk of complications also increases. Lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor could help to reduce blood pressure to some extent. However, in the majority of cases, treatment may be needed.6

Can high blood pressure be cured?

Although not ‘cured’ as such, it can be managed thanks to today‚Äôs therapeutic approaches to blood pressure. However, if treatment is stopped, hypertension usually returns quickly.6

Does a dangerously high blood pressure exist? How high does it have to be to trigger a stroke or a heart attack?

Hypertension is associated with increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and the higher the blood pressure, the higher the risks.
If blood pressure is persistently 140/90 and above, then some form of treatment is required, though at the beginning adjustments to lifestyle, such as exercise or weight loss in case of overweight or obesity, might be sufficient.
However, if the blood pressure is repeatedly over 160/110, drug treatment is usually started immediately. Sustained blood pressures of over 200/120 are considered dangerous and if associated with other issues such as visual trouble or heart failure they require emergency treatment.6

With whom should I discuss if I want to find out more?

Your general practitioner is the right person to ask about blood pressure.6

How often should I see my GP about hypertension?

Depending on your age, once every 2 years is considered adequate. Still, if you are over 40 years of age, once a year is a safer option. If you have already been diagnosed with abnormal blood pressure, tests should be more frequent, as per your doctor’s recommendations.7

I have high blood pressure, and if I am thinking about getting pregnant. Should I talk with my doctor about it?

Yes, it is important to do so. High blood pressure can create problems during pregnancy for both you and your baby. Blood pressure can be treated during pregnancy, but only certain drugs can be used. Your doctor will adapt your treatment, with your safety in mind.6

References 

  1. Campbell NR, Lackland DT, Niebylski ML; World Hypertension League Committee; International Society of Hypertension Executive Committee. High blood pressure: why prevention and control are urgent and important: a 2014 fact sheet from the World Hypertension League and the International Society of Hypertension. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2014 Aug;16(8):551-3.
  2. Williams B, Mancia G, Spiering W, et al. 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. Eur Heart J. 2018 Sep 1;39(33):3021-3104.
  3. CDC. High Blood Pressure FAQs. 2016. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/faqs.htm Accessed on 08 July 2019.
  4. CDC. Family History & Your Risk for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). 2014. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/family_history.htm Accessed on 08 July 2019.
  5. CDC. Behaviors That Increase Risk for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). 2014. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/behavior.htm Accessed on 08 July 2019.
  6. The International Society of Hypertension. Frequently Asked Questions. 2019. Available at http://ish-world.com/public/faqs.htm Accessed on 08 July 2019.
  7. Mayo Clinic. Blood pressure test. 2018. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/blood-pressure-test/about/pac-20393098 Accessed on 08 July 2019.