Hypertension is a silent killer

Hypertension is a silent killer

As our heart beats, it forces blood through our arteries. This force is called blood pressure. If the pressure is too high, it is called hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure. High blood pressure may mean that your heart has to work harder to pump blood. Your arteries may be narrow or stiff. The extra work puts you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 30 Mar 2013, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:43 AM

HTN is dangerous because it does not cause any symptoms in majority of patients; therefore, they remain unaware of it. That is why it is called a silent killer.

According to Dr. Rupesh Singh, Specialist Cardiologist, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah, about 50 per cent of those suffering from blood pressure are not aware of it and 60 per cent of those who are aware of it are not adequately controlling it.

Blood pressure consists of two numbers, a higher number over a lower, 110/72, for example. It is stated as “110 over 72.” The ideal is below 120 for the top number (systolic) and under 80 for the bottom (diastolic).

Dr Singh suggests one should pay close attention to blood pressure if he or she has certain conditions such as:

  • Heart failure.
  • Prior heart attack.
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Prior stroke.
  • Multiple risk factors for heart disease.

Most people have essential hypertension which means that there is no a specific cause for high blood pressure. This group of patients needs anti-hypertensive medication for indefinite period. Their blood pressure can be controlled but cannot be cured. This type of high blood pressure may be lowered by changing lifestyle factors such as:

  • Stress.
  • Smoking.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Excessive weight.
  • Drug/tobacco/alcohol use.
  • Use of salt.

About 10 per cent of hypertensive people have certain specific cause for high blood pressure such as kidney disease, endocrine problem etc. This type of hypertension is called secondary hypertension and in this group if cause is corrected, blood pressure is cured.

Sometimes high blood pressure complicates the pregnancy. It usually happens after 20 weeks of pregnancy and associated with leakage of protein in urine.

Therefore it is important for pregnant females to have regular checkups.

Most people do not have symptoms from high blood pressure until it has caused damage to the body.


When a cause has been identified, treatment for high blood pressure is directed at the cause. It usually starts with life style modification in form of salt restricted diet, regular exercise and weight reduction. If these measures fail, medications are started. There are a large number of medications to treat HTN.

This fall into several categories and your caregiver will help you select the medicines that are best for you. Medications may have side effects but benefit of controlling blood pressure is much higher.

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