Healthway Medical Group

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, refers to a condition in which blood is pumped throughout the body at a higher pressure. It is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting many Singaporeans. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of developing other health issues such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Blood pressure is expressed as a fraction of two numbers and is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). The first number is your systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts and pumps blood throughout your body. The diastolic blood pressure is measured as the heart relaxes and its chambers open, allowing blood to flow.

The table below shows the categories and range of blood pressure levels in adults age 18 years and above: 

When systolic and diastolic blood pressures fall into different categories, the higher category should be used to classify blood pressure level. For example, 160/80 mmHg would be stage 2 hypertension (high blood pressure).

*Isolated systolic hypertension is graded according to the same level of systolic blood pressure.

Source: HealthHub

What are the causes of high blood pressure (hypertension)?

There are many possible causes of high blood pressure, such as:

  • Age
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, lack of physical activity, poor diet
  • Family history
  • Existing health issues such as diabetes and high cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy (also known as Gestational Hypertension)

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure (hypertension)?

Many people are unaware that they have high blood pressure as there are no warning signs or symptoms.

Although some individuals with high blood pressure may experience headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds, but these symptoms are not specific and usually do not appear until the hypertension has progressed to a severe or life-threatening stage.

Measuring your blood pressure is the only way to determine if you have hypertension.

How can you lower blood pressure?

Changes in lifestyle as well as medication can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of associated health complications. Here are some ways to lower your blood pressure:

  • Stop smoking
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet with less salt
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage your stress and get adequate sleep
  • Monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis
  • Consume medication as prescribed by your doctor

High blood pressure is a lifelong condition that can cause serious health issues. However, if it is well-managed and discovered early, this condition will not be fatal.

It is important to schedule regular doctor visits to monitor your blood pressure levels. Call your nearest Healthway Medical GP clinic to book an appointment.