High blood
pressure

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure or arterial hypertension is a common condition in which the long-term force exerted by the blood against the artery walls is too high. This can lead to serious health problems, such as heart or kidney disease. The more blood pumped out by your heart and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure will be.

Blood pressure is measured by two values using millimetres of mercury (mm Hg):

Systolic blood pressure (SBP)

The higher value, or systolic blood pressure (SBP), marks the pressure of the blood on the blood vessels when it is expelled from the heart. It corresponds to the maximum value of the blood pressure when the heart contracts.

Diastolic blood pressure (DBP)

The lower value or diastolic blood pressure (DBP), corresponds to the minimum blood pressure when the heart is distended between beats.

From these values, the following categories of blood pressure are established:

Blood pressure in Catalonia

High blood pressure is a very common condition.

In fact, 2 out of every 5 people aged 18 and over have high blood pressure.

40%
4/10

40%

4/10

40%

2.2/5

High blood pressure progression

Most people with high blood pressure do not present any symptoms, even when the values are dangerously high. When symptoms do appear, they are not very specific and they generally occur when the hypertension has reached a serious and potentially dangerous level.

If the blood pressure is very high, it can cause permanent damage to be blood vessels and the organs. The higher the blood pressure and the longer it goes unchecked, the greater the damage will be.

Brain arteries

Stroke

Stroke

Caused by a sudden interruption to the flow of blood to the brain due to obstruction of a blood vessel. 

Weakening of the blood vessels

Weakening of the blood vessels

Which causes altered function of the various organs. 

Memory problems

Memory problems

Or even dementia, as a result of the reduction in the flow of blood that reaches the brain.

Heart arteries

Heart attack

Heart attack

As a result of an obstruction in the vessels that carry blood with oxygen and nutrients to the heart. 

Heart failure

Heart failure

This happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to the other vital organs.

Peripheral arteries

Complications in the eyes

Complications in the eyes

Damage to the blood vessels of the retina can cause blurred vision, loss of visual acuity and fields of vision and difficulty seeing at night. 

Poor kidney function

Complications in the kidneys

Damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys can cause the kidneys to stop filtering correctly. If detected in time, the damage can be reversible. 

High blood pressure is one of the main cardiovascular risk factors

* The result of the cardiovascular risk calculation indicates the probability that a person will have a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years, based on their clinical characteristics.

High blood pressure is symptomless and many people think that they do not have a problem

“Doing nothing” is not a good option, high blood pressure is not cured on its own

Complementary measures to reduce cardiovascular risk

The following measures minimise the risks of disease and complement medicinal treatment.

Reduce salt intake to less than 6 grams a day*

Control of salt intake helps to reduce blood pressure and the associated cardiovascular risk.

A healthy balanced diet*

Make fruit, vegetables, pulses and wholemeal cereals a priority. Avoid saturated and trans fats, and follow a low sodium diet.

Regular physical exercise*

At least 30 minutes a day almost every day of the week.

Avoiding tobacco and alcohol*

Reduce the risk of suffering a cardiovascular event.

Weight control*

Maintaining a healthy weight helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

* Benefits backed by science

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