High blood pressure affects almost 1 in every 4 Singaporeans between age 30-69 years old. It is also more prevalent in elderly communities, with about half of the population between 60-69 having hypertension (another name for high blood pressure).

Why does this matter?

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure, heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, and kidney failure. Treating high blood pressure can reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure that blood applies to the inner walls of the arteries. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to other organs and parts of the body.

Two measurements define an individual’s blood pressure:

  • Systolic pressure: the pressure in the arteries produced when the heart contracts (at the time of a heartbeat)
  • Diastolic pressure: the pressure in the arteries during relaxation of the heart between heartbeats

The Singapore Ministry of Health suggests the following classification of Blood Pressure levels for adults ages 18 years and older.

Normal blood pressure Less than 130 over less than 85
High-normal blood pressure 130 to 139 over 85 to 89.
Hypertension Grade 1: 140 to 159 over 90 to 99
Hypertension Grade 2: 160 to 179 over 100 to 109
Hypertension  Grade 3: more than 180 over more than 110

Untreated high blood pressure increases the strain on the heart and arteries, eventually leading to organ damage. The risk of these complications increases as your blood pressure rises above 110/75, which is still in the healthy range.

Why I do have high blood pressure?

Kidney problems are responsible for 5% of high blood pressure cases. The remaining 95% of hypertension diagnosis is typically of unknown causes, although known risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Every time I measure my blood pressure, different values show up. How can I get diagnosed?

Blood pressure naturally has significant and spontaneous variations. It is the lowest at night and in the evenings, while higher in the middle of the afternoon. Stress, anxiety, tobacco use, caffeine, and exercise can also influence your blood pressure as well.  Therefore, your GP may suggest you take several blood pressure readings before confirming your diagnosis.

Before you measure your blood pressure levels, you need to sit or lie down for at least 3 minutes.  It is recommended you not smoke, take coffee or exercise 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure reading.

How can I manage hypertension?

The first line of treatment for those with high blood pressure should be lifestyle interventions. This can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduction of salt & alcohol intake
  • Having more fruits, vegetables & whole grains
  • Following a DASH eating plan (DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)

What about medication?

Depending on your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, your doctor will decide whether you should take medication immediately upon diagnosis or wait to see if you can change your lifestyle within 3 to 6 months and improve your blood pressure. Once on medication, you must be consistent and take it regularly. Only stop or reduce your dosage when advised by your doctor.

Is hypertension considered a chronic disease?

Health promotion board defines a chronic disease as a medical condition that is generally progressive and can be managed with simple lifestyle changes. High blood pressure cannot be cured and can lead to serious health conditions and requires continuous monitoring and management. It is therefore categorised as a chronic disease.

At MyDoc we have several programmes that can help you gain control of your health. Contact us to find out more.

Always here for you,
Claudia Correia
MyDoc Lead Dietitian

*The content in this publication is for educational purposes only, and therefore is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Bibliography

European Society of Cardiology. (1 Sep, 2018). 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. European Heart Journal 39(33): 3021–3104. Retrieved July 9, 2020 from https://dl.uswr.ac.ir/bitstream/Hannan/52973/1/EHJ%202018%20Volume%2039%20Issue%2033%20September%20%286%29.pdf
Health Promotion Board. (3 Jun, 2019). Chronic Diseases: Understanding the Medical Conditions and their Causes. Retrieved July 1, from HealthHub: https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/96/topics_chronic_diseases
Health Promotion Board. (29 Aug, 2018). High Blood Pressure. Retrieved July 1, from https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/53/highbloodpressure.
Ministry of Health. (2017, Nov). MOH Clinical Practice Guidelines 1/2017: Hypertension. Retrieved July 09, 2020 from Ministry of Health: https://www.moh.gov.sg/docs/librariesprovider4/guidelines/cpg_hypertension-summary-card—nov-2017.pdf
Sheps, S. G. (2019, Jan 9). Blood pressure: Does it have a daily pattern? Retrieved July 1, 2020 from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure/faq-20058115
Sheps, S. G. (2019, Jan 26). Caffeine: How does it affect blood pressure. Retrieved July 1, 2020 from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure/faq-20058543

Claudia Correia

Claudia Correia

Claudia has a degree in Dietetics and has a special interest in Women’s Health, Mediterranean Diet, Weight Management, Chronic Disease, Nutritional Wellness & Mindful Eating, as well as, in Cancer Nutrition Therapy. She is a dietitian member of SNDA (Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association) and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia has been practising as a dietitian since 2010, and she has spent four years at Raffles Hospital. For the past years, she has been passionately working with her clients on areas such as weight management, women’s health, chronic disease management, wellness and oncology. Claudia has diversified experience from both Europe and Asia, coupled with the expertise of handling a variety of cuisines. She caters to the most varied needs of an individual. When consulting her clients, she educates and creates awareness of the impact of food, while emphasizing the enjoyment of food.

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