Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Brighton Beach Physio - Monday, May 14, 2018

You may have heard the word hypertension or have been told you have high blood pressure, but what is and why do we worry about it?

Blood pressure is referred to as the silent killer as you don’t experience any symptoms, it needs to be specifically tested to know what your blood pressure is.

 

What is blood pressure and why is it so important?

Blood pressure is the force that is exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels as it is pumped around the body. The pressure is the amount of force that is exerted on the artery walls by the pumping blood. High blood pressure or hypertension is when the blood is pumping with more force than normal through the arteries. This pressure that is being exerted can speed up the clogging of the arteries with fatty plaque and this can contribute to heart attacks, heart failure, kidney disease and stroke1.

Hypertension affects around one in seven adult Australians and becomes more common as we age. Older people can experience a change in their blood pressure due to their arteries becoming more rigid with age (less elastic)2.

 

What is a normal blood pressure measurement?

Blood pressure consists of two readings:

  • Systolic – the highest pressure against the arteries as the heart pumps – normal readings are between 110 – 130mmHg2.
  • Diastolic – this is the pressure against the arteries as the heart relaxes and fills with blood – normal readings are between 70 – 90 mmHg2.

What causes hypertension?

  • Genes
  • Overweight / Obesity
  • Inadequate physical activity
  • A diet high in salt
  • Heavy drinking
  • Kidney Disease
  • The following conditions can make hypertension worse;
    • Cigarette smoking
    • High levels of saturated fat in the diet
    • High blood cholesterol
    • Diabetes

What can be done?

To reduce your blood pressure maintaining a healthy lifestyle and promoting the following can assist in reducing your risk of developing hypertension:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight (by exercising and appropriate diet control)
  • Eat a diet that is high in fibre, low in fat and salt
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit alcohol consumption

How can an Exercise Physiologist help?

At Brighton Beach Physiotherapy our Exercise Physiologist prescribes a tailored exercise program to prevent unwanted increases in blood pressure, by providing safe and targeted exercises designed for weight loss and cardiovascular fitness. These can be prescribed either as home-based program, gym-based programs or group fitness classes, depending on your interest.

Dietary advice can also be provided to assist you with making the changes that are required. Realistic goals are discussed and ways in which these goals can be achieved are addressed. Support and monitoring is available for you through the duration of your journey to a lowered blood pressure.

Our Exercise Physiologist provides you with the tools required to make the appropriate changes and see reductions in your blood pressure.

Please contact our office for further information on this service and how we can assist you with your goals.

 

References

  1. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/blood-pressure-high-hypertension
  2. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/