Many people have no symptoms of high blood pressure but it can still cause long term heart disease, so everyone should be checked.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition where the force of the blood flowing through your arteries is consistently too high, which can cause long term heart disease.
According to the Irish Heart Foundation, more than 50 percent of men and women in Ireland aged over 45 have high blood pressure. Of these, four-fifths of men and two-thirds of women are unaware of their condition, and are not being treated.
If you are over 30, you should have a regular heart check especially if:
- you sometimes feel short of breath at rest or lying down
- you suffer with troublesome ankle swelling
- you sometimes experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
What causes high blood pressure?
There are many factors that can lead to high blood pressure, including being overweight, eating too much salt, high alcohol intake, genetic predisposition, and not eating enough fruit and vegetables. In some cases, high blood pressure may relate to underlying kidney, thyroid or adrenal problems. High stress can also impact blood pressure.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
Many people may have no symptoms of high blood pressure. A small minority may suffer headaches, nosebleeds or shortness of breath, but as these symptoms are not specific to high blood pressure and generally only occur years after the condition begins, they are unhelpful in comprehensively diagnosing high blood pressure.
Diagnosing high blood pressure
Diagnosis of high blood pressure entails a blood test, an ECG, and a blood pressure check.
Occasionally, patients feel anxious when visiting their doctor, which can lead to falsely high blood pressure. Your doctor may want to have multiple blood pressure data checks before making a diagnosis, so you will be asked to wear a 24-hour blood pressure monitor. This monitor is a small device worn on your arm while you go about your normal routine, multiple readings are recorded, then analysed by your doctor.
Treatment of high blood pressure
Treatment for high blood pressure varies from lifestyle changes to medication. Your doctor will advise you based on the causes identified.
Please contact the clinic to book an initial consultation with your GP.