When the long-term force of blood against the walls of your arteries is very high you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension. This condition may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Two things affect blood pressure – the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance within your arteries to the flow of blood. The scary thing about hypertension is that often there are no symptoms that can tell you that you have this condition, so it may be years before you realise the damage it may have caused your blood vessels or heart. Controlling your blood pressure is vital to avoid serious health problems like heart attack and stroke. Once detected you can work with your doctor to control it and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Signs and symptoms
- No signs or symptoms (even when blood pressure is dangerously high)
- Headaches may indicate that your blood pressure is very high
- Shortness of breath or nosebleeds are sometimes symptoms of very high blood pressure
When to see a doctor
Due to the lack of symptoms it is most likely that you will be diagnosed with high blood pressure during a routine medical check-up. After your child turns three his/her blood pressure should be checked every year. After you turn 18 ensure you get a blood pressure reading every two years. If you are at risk of cardiovascular disease or if you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure you should be monitored more frequently.