Information about high blood pressure (hypertension)

It’s important to treat high blood pressure because it can lead to other forms of heart disease if left untreated.

High blood pressure is when the force, or pressure, of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls is too high. Over time, high blood pressure can weaken and damage the blood vessel walls.

Symptoms

High blood pressure does not always have signs or symptoms. However, some people with high blood pressure may have the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • shortness of breath
  • nosebleeds.

There are two types of causes of high blood pressure:

  1. Primary hypertension: tends to develop gradually over many years and has no known other cause.
  2. Secondary hypertension: is caused by other underlying conditions such as kidney problems, adrenal gland tumors, thyroid problems, obstructive sleep apnoea and others.

Your GP or cardiologist will perform a range of tests to determine whether you have high blood pressure. The most common test involves an inflatable arm cuff that is placed around your arm and attached to a pressure-measuring gauge.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, they will develop a tailored, ongoing treatment plan based on your symptoms and other pre-existing conditions.

Treatment for high blood pressure can include lifestyle modifications, medication and certain types of procedures.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include:

  • pre-existing chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease etc
  • family history of high blood pressure
  • consuming a high-salt diet
  • obesity
  • alcohol consumption
  • stress.