O World Hypertension Day is celebrated on May 17 with the aim of raising awareness and promoting the prevention, detection and control of hypertension.
High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for developing brain and cardiovascular diseases. These diseases are the leading cause of death in our country (and in developed countries).
Counting only the year 2019, we know that 31,920 Portuguese died and 45,950 years of life were lost, due to circulatory system deaths.
Sedentary lifestyle habits, with frequent dietary errors and physical inactivity, lead to the appearance of this type of pathologies, unfortunately so frequent in our consultations.
Despite all the knowledge acquired in this area and the efforts aimed specifically at controlling high blood pressure in recent years, we are frankly far from our objectives. We need to promote health literacy, greater adherence to therapy, and reduce medical inertia.
To make the diagnosis of arterial hypertension, it suffices to respect a few basic measures and to use a suitable and validated device (blood pressure monitor). Although easy, the measurement technique requires extreme caution, not being able to do without minimum conditions, in particular technical and environmental. There is also the option of performing ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), in which a wearable device takes readings for 24 or 48 hours. This examination has several advantages, including the ability to classify high blood pressure against its nocturnal profile, as well as to verify the effectiveness of therapy around the clock.
Dr. Diogo Cruz©DR
Once hypertension is diagnosed, normalization of blood pressure values is a critical strategy that must be achieved quickly. Abundant evidence demonstrates that, in and of itself, normalizing these values is an important factor in reducing fatal and non-fatal cerebral and cardiovascular events.
The approach to such patients involves not only the monitoring of 24-hour blood pressure values, but also a comprehensive approach to their possible causes, the assessment of their impact on target organs (i.e. the heart , brain, eyes, kidneys and blood vessels) and identification of the remaining risk factors for the occurrence of cardiovascular events, such as diabetes, smoking, dyslipidemia, obesity.
The implementation of healthier lifestyles, avoiding dietary errors, excess salt, smoking and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity, obesity and poor stress management, are essential in the non-pharmacological therapeutic approach. From the pharmacological point of view, there are several drugs available to combat the increase in blood pressure, and therefore the treatment must be individualized and directly dependent on the evaluation of your doctor, since different therapeutic attitudes may be necessary.
On this World Hypertension Day, let’s pay more attention to this disease. Perform a screening and, in case of high values, consult your doctor, not only to confirm the diagnosis, but also to discuss with him your cardiovascular risk and adopt therapeutic strategies (non-pharmacological and pharmacological if necessary) taking into account to a healthier, disease-free life.
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