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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Blood Pressure (High)

Introduction

You can have high blood pressure (Hypertension) for years without a single symptom. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.High blood pressure typically develops without signs or symptoms.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition which affects about 20 percent of the adult Canadian population. In most cases, patients do not have any specific cause for their condition with their genetic background usually being the main culprit.
  • Mild cases may sometimes be treated with life-style modification such as weight loss, reduction in alcohol intake, less salt in the diet and increased exercise. However, many individuals ultimately require medication to achieve a normal blood pressure.
  • Unfortunately, control of high blood pressure in the community is not as good as it should be. Even though numerous safe and effective medications are available, surveys have found that high blood pressure still continues to be common for a variety of reasons.
  • The condition is asymptomatic and it is sometimes difficult to get people to take drugs when nothing is bothering them.
  • Frequently, one needs to take several different types of medications in order to achieve a normal blood pressure and physicians and patients often stop short of obtaining optimum control.