The Age to Start Controlling Arterial Hypertension
Managing arterial hypertension is very important, especially with increasing age, as it’s a silent disease that significantly affects our cardiovascular system.
Arterial hypertension (AHT) is one of the most prevalent diseases and one of the leading causes of premature death in the world. According to the WHO, it’s estimated that “worldwide, there are 1130 million people with hypertension, and most of them (about two-thirds) live in low- and middle-income countries.”
In Spain, for example, the study Dia@bet.es conducted in 2016, detected that 42.6% of the adult Spanish population over 18 years of age is hypertensive. Therefore, it’s one of the first causes of visits to the doctor in primary medicine.
With today’s sedentary lifestyle, along with an unhealthy diet, doctors detect hypertension at an earlier age. In this article, we’ll tell you when and how to manage hypertension.
What is arterial hypertension?
Blood pressure is the force due to circulating blood against the walls of the arteries, which are large vessels through which blood circulates in the body. When it’s too high, it’s considered arterial hypertension.
Blood pressure is expressed by two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure: This represents the pressure that the blood exerts on the vessels when the heart contracts or beats. The normal value is less than 120 mmHg.
- Diastolic pressure: This represents the pressure exerted on the vessels when the heart relaxes between beats. The normal value is less than 80 mmHg.
To establish the diagnosis of hypertension, we need two or more measurements taken in two or more medical visits. In both readings, the systolic pressure must be greater than or equal to 140 mmHg and the diastolic pressure greater than or equal to 90 mmHg.
However, it’s always more reliable to measure blood pressure at home by 24-hour ambulatory monitoring to prevent the “white coat effect.” This consists in the fact that the environment of the doctor’s office or the presence of the doctor can make some patients nervous and give a high blood pressure that isn’t their real pressure.
In the case of ambulatory measurement, arterial hypertension exists when the values are over 135/85. However, we should highlight that ‘normal’ blood pressure varies according to the patient’s age.
What does hypertension mean for our health?
High blood pressure can cause serious heart damage, such as angina pectoris, heart attack, heart failure, and irregular heart rhythm, which can lead to sudden death. This is because excess pressure can harden the arteries, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the heart.
Hypertension can also cause blockage or rupture of the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the brain, leading to stroke. It can also cause kidney damage leading to kidney failure.
Discover: How to Detect Fake Heart Attacks
At what age should you start managing arterial hypertension?
Arterial hypertension can be present at all stages of life. But, as we’ve said before, it’s more frequent and diagnosed more from the age of 40-50 years. However, because of our sedentary lifestyle and diet, hypertension is increasingly occurring in younger people.
Specialists found a higher percentage of hypertension in men under 45 years of age than in women. Between the ages of 45-65 years, tensions between men and women are usually similar. However, after the age of 65, women with hypertension outnumber men with this disease.
This is because women have already gone through menopause, which involves a drastic decrease in female hormones and estrogen. These dilate the arteries, decreasing the tension in them and, therefore, protecting against AHT.
How to manage hypertension
Hypertension doesn’t usually give symptoms. It’s a silent disease, and many people don’t usually realize they have it. That’s why you need to visit your family doctor regularly for check-ups. As we said, it can occur at any stage of life.
The best thing to do is to learn healthy habits from an early age to prevent it. Checking your blood pressure is very easy, at any pharmacy or doctor’s office. If you detect abnormal values in more than two measurements, go to the doctor.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should check your blood pressure at home as your doctor instructs. You must take the prescribed medication and lead a healthier lifestyle. This will help you to enjoy better cardiovascular health.