The Lowdown on Managing High Blood Pressure

June 05, 2020

The take-away message from Bumrungrad International Hospital’s cardiovascular team is to get your health checked regularly. If the pressure in your blood vessels is higher than it should be can have serious consequences if left untreated, therefore management and monitoring is key.


Testing & Screening

Hypertension essentially means that the heart has to work that much harder to pump blood around the body. With no early warning system the main diagnostic tool is having your blood pressure measured. Beyond a normal reading, there are three varying stages of the condition, based on the systolic pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and diastolic pressure which measures the lowest pressure between beats.  In a healthy adult, with an average weight and height, the top number (systolic) should be between 100-120 mm Hg while the lower number (diastolic) is considered within normal range at less than 80 mm Hg.


Blood pressure level Systolic   Diastolic Suggestion
Normal <120 and <80 Monitor Blood Pressure    
Slightly high 120-139 and/or 80-89 Monitor Blood Pressure
Hypertension 140-159 and/or 90-99 See doctor
Very high and dangerous 160-179 and/or 100-109 See doctor
Very dangerous >180 and/or >120 Immediately see doctor

Bumrungrad International Hospital offers a variety of health screening packages which include checks for hypertension. Of course, it is possible to start with a simple blood pressure test as this is the main indication of whether any issues in this area need to be addressed.


Risks & Harm

One in 10 causes of hypertension are considered secondary, perhaps relating to other illnesses or conditions, ranging from sleep apnea to liver issues, as well as a potential side-effect of certain medications, However, in the vast majority of cases hypertension is caused by lifestyle choices, age, and can also be linked to genetics. A fatty diet leading to high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity, particularly around the abdominal area, can all result in high readings too.
Unchecked, this condition can lead to a build-up of atherosclerosis that blocking the arteries, heart and liver failure, as well as strokes, blurred vision or even blindness. High-cholesterol and diabetes often come hand-in-hand with hypertension and controlling these other illnesses is important too. Bumrungrad International Hospital is able to identify risks and potential health issues before setting out a necessary strategy of disease management for what is one of the leading causes of premature death globally.


Monitoring & Managing

The so-called ‘silent killer’, high blood pressure can be deadly yet is also manageable if monitored in the right way. It is vital to understand that hypertension is a chronic disease. This means that a continuous holistic approach to treatment is necessary with regular check-ups and permanent lifestyle changes to keep it under control. One of the reasons that health issues exacerbate is often through lack of patient commitment to keeping on track with a management plan.
Lifestyle changes include regular exercise, quitting smoking and a healthier diet that is lower in fatty foods, as well as limiting or stopping the consumption of sugary drinks and alcohol. Losing weight and being mindful about stress is also important. Cholesterol should be limited to less than 300 mg per day, with fiber intake around 25-35 g daily and sodium less than 2.4 g a day, equating to one tablespoon of fish sauce, or ideally around the 1.5 g mark. Magnesium-rich foods and fewer carbohydrates can also positively boost the impact of your diet on hypertension, helping prevent any complications.
Of course, medication is often necessary too, and once again, patient commitment necessitates success. Not missing doses or discontinuing a prescription, and taking medication at the same time each day, while checking with your doctor before taking any other supplements is essential. 
As well as healthy-lifestyle advice, treatment protocols, and proven medications the next step is continuing working with Bumrungrad International Hospital care teams in putting in place a robust monitoring system. Strictly follow the follow up intervals, during these consultations your doctor reviews blood pressure trends, possibly lab tests to check for blood sugar and Cholesterol level as well as kidney function, and discussed lifestyle risks to recommend or adjust necessary intervention.

If the blood pressure exceeds 180 mm Hg systolic or 120 mm Hg diastolic, come to the hospital immediately and seek medical help.
Being informed and responsible for managing your illness is part of treatment too. For example the proverb, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, holds true to some extend as the antioxidant flavonoids in the fruit are claimed to lower the risk of hypertension, thus lowering the risks of cardiac arrest and stroke too.

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