Arterial hypertension afflicts 30% of adults. It is defined by a resting systolic blood pressure of greater than or equal to 140 or a diastolic blood pressure of greater than or equal to 90, verified by at least one other high reading.
A systolic blood pressure of 120-139 or a diastolic pressure of 80-89 constitutes prehypertension. Arterial hypertension is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and peripheral arterial disease. Heart disease mortality, stroke mortality, and mortality from other blood vessel causes is directly related to the height of blood pressure above 115/75.
A person with arterial hypertension can lower his or her pressure by eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, limited in fats, by restricting dietary salt, by regular aerobic exercise such as walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, by maintaining a good weight, and avoiding excess alcohol consumption. If these measures do not bring the blood pressure down to criteria, the physician can prescribe medication that can help.
Also, ten percent of patients with arterial hypertension will have another medical problem that has led directly to the hypertension. Some of these require surgical correction. The physician
typically will also inquire about and seek to mitigate other risk factors for atherosclerosis (blockage of arteries by cholesterol plaque). Additionally he will look for evidence of major organ damage from the hypertension.
James R. Saxon, MD
Dr. James Saxon specializes in Internal Medicine and serves as the Primary Care & Internal Medicine doctor at Family Physicians Of Mulberry.