05 Aug The real reason why high blood pressure is the world’s silent killer…
High blood pressure (BP) remains the single highest health risk across the globe. A 2019 study of BP in Australia found that a third of participants had high BP – however of most concern is that 49.5% of participants were not aware of this!1
High BP – the silent killer
Most people with high BP generally feel well and have no symptoms – however left untreated, high BP significantly increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks as well as kidney failure, diabetes, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers: a systolic and diastolic reading, represented as a top and bottom number.
High BP is considered to be any reading above 140/90 – that is when the top figure (systolic) is higher than 140, or the lower number (diastolic) is higher than 90, or both.2
So, what should your BP be?
Your BP can be influenced in the short term by stress, recent physical activity, medications, and other factors, so it’s important to aim for a true resting BP over two or three occasions to get your numbers. A GP or pharmacist can tell you what your ideal BP should be, but it’s generally under 120/80, subject to your medical history.
Elevated BP can be caused by a number of things and whilst some cases do not have an easily identifiable cause, there are a number of known factors that increase your risk of having high BP, these include:2
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle (with little or no exercise)
- Being overweight
- A diet with a high salt intake
- High blood cholesterol
- A family history of high BP
- High alcohol consumption
Do you know your numbers?
With almost no symptoms, yet serious health risks it’s important to know your BP numbers. Your GP or pharmacist can check your BP and you can also visit a SiSU Health Station for a free BP and health check. Click here to find your nearest SiSU Health Station.
It is recommended to check your BP on three separate occasions to obtain an average and best assessment of what your numbers are.2
Lifestyle changes that address some of the risk factors such as smoking, diet and exercise can improve BP. There are also a number of medications used to lower BP which your GP can prescribe.
Some people may experience minor side effects when starting BP medication such as feeling lightheaded or lethargic. It is important to speak to your pharmacist or GP if you have any concerns about your BP medication as there may be alternatives that can be tried to find the best option for you.
Managing your BP has significant benefits to your short- and long-term health and therefore it’s important to take your BP medication regularly. Skipping doses of your medication may result in poor control or even ‘spikes’ in BP called rebound hypertension.
Speak to your pharmacist if you have missed a dose of your medication so that they can support you with the best way to get back on track.
Already taking blood pressure medication and need a refill?
Get your meds conveniently delivered straight to your door with our online prescription service, Scripts Now – provided in partnership with Priceline!
- Oxford Academic. May Measurement Month 2019: an analysis of blood pressure screening results from Australia
- Healthdirect. High blood pressure (hypertension)