High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Tomorrow is World Hypertension Day. The message is “know your numbers” to prevent and control the silent killer.
“Sometimes the first presentation of high blood pressure is a stroke or a heart attack, so you really need to take precautions,” says Dr. Haidar Hadi, a Consultant Cardiologist and Internist for Northern Health.”If you are over 40, you need to check your blood pressure at least once a year even if you are feeling perfectly well. Even if you are under 40, maybe if there is an opportunity to check it, just check it.”
Dr. Hadi says lifestyle is a factor in high blood pressure. That includes things like obesity, diabetes, smoking and too much alcohol. It’s not just people middle-aged and over that are at risk for hypertension. “In the recent years, we have seen younger people getting high blood pressure because of video games and less exercise.”
While technology has advanced, Dr. Hadi recommends leaving blood pressure testing to trusted methods. “I see some people start to look at their iPhones and their apps to try to check their blood pressure. These apps are not validated. The best way to check it is to get a decent machine, and you can get one as cheap as $50. Or use your Doctor or the Drug Store.”
So what does good blood pressure look like? “For the general public, under 140 over 90 is what we are shooting for,” says Brett Chiasson, a Pharmacist at Hart Drugs. “It’s going to be sort of depend on the patient, what other medications they are taking and the risk factors. If it’s a diabetic patient, you want their numbers under 130 over 80.”