What is hypertension?
- Hypertension is high blood pressure (BP) that puts strain on the heart, blood vessels and kidneys.
- Hypertension does not usually cause you to feel sick, stressed or have a headache.
- Hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke (brain attack) and kidney failure.
- The goal of hypertension treatment is to keep your blood pressure under 140/90 or if you are 65 years or older, under 160/90.
What can help you reach your goal for hypertension?
- Eat a variety of foods.
- If you eat a lot, reduce portion sizes.
- Increase fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
- Choose brown bread, brown rice or potatoes instead of white bread or white rice.
- Use less salt. Avoid processed foods like gravy, stock cubes or packet soup.
- Reduce or cut out sugar.
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise 5 days a week.
- Try some exercises in your home or yard.
- Do the sweeping or dance to music.
- Take part in an exercise programme on TV or online.
Stop or limit alcohol
- If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to less than 2 drinks a day and don’t drink on at least 2 days of the week.
- If you need help to quit, ask your healthcare worker.
Keep a check on your condition
Watch your weight
Try to lose weight if you can.
Attend your appointments at least once a year to check your blood pressure and look out for diabetes and for complications like heart attacks, strokes and kidney damage.
Take your medication as instructed
- Take medication for life to prevent heart attacks, strokes and kidney damage.
- Take medication as instructed every day, even if you feel well. It should never run out.
- If you stopped your medication, restart it.
- Most people need more than one medication to control their blood pressure.
- Check the medication list to understand how your medication works and what side effects it might cause.
- If you have too much medication left over or are unsure how to take it, ask your healthcare worker.
Know when to seek healthcare
Seek healthcare urgently if you have any of the following:
- Chest pain – it may be a heart attack.
- Difficulty breathing
- If you use enalapril and develop swelling of the tongue or face
- Sudden weakness of an arm, leg, side of face – may be a stroke
- Sudden loss of speech or vision – may be a stroke
Make contact with your healthcare facility if:
- You run out of medication.
- You don’t understand how to take your medication.
- You have an appointment for a check-up.