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Too young for High Blood Pressure? Perhaps, if you’re younger than 15…
In the year 2000, forty seven thousand South Africans were killed by high blood pressure. The Heart & Stroke Foundation estimated that 25% of all South Africans between the ages of 15-64 has high blood pressure, known as the Silent Killer – because it often shows no symptoms until a person has a stroke or heart attack and dies. High blood pressure is the second biggest killer in SA, second only to unsafe sex.
However, most of us are ignorant of the facts, assuming that blood pressure is not prevalent in our ethnic background, in young people or that it causes many symptoms that can act as warning signs – and we will worry about it then.
But more than 6 million South Africans will be shocked to realize they have high blood pressure, if only they had themselves tested.
High Blood Pressure: Just how high is too high?
Normal is 130/85
High normal is 13/85 – 140/90
Mild hypertension is 140/90 – 160/100
Moderate hypertension is 160/100 – 180/100
Severe hypertension is 180/110 – 210/110
Very high 210
Knowing when you should have your blood pressure tested
Regular blood pressure checks take all of 2 minutes and are non-invasive and don’t affect you negatively at all. If you are a blood donor, you will probably have your blood pressure checked every 56 days, or when you donate. Take every opportunity to have your blood pressure checked – it is usually free and you can have it done when you visit your physician, a pharmacy or a clinic. Some pharmacies have an in-house clinic where they will gladly perform blood pressure checks.
If any of the following issues affect you, have your blood pressure checked right away:
- family history of high blood pressure
- unbalanced / unhealthy diet
- alcohol consumption
- excess weight (particularly around the waist)
- sedentary lifestyle
- middle aged
- taking medication (birth control, steroids and anti-inflammatories)
- ethic groups (African / coloured women are at the highest risk)
Knowing and addressing your high blood pressure risk factors can help avoid the disease from reaching advanced stages. Visual disturbances, nausea and headaches usually only occur in the advanced stages of high blood pressure, shortly before seizures.
Don’t let your blood pressure become an issue before taking steps
Many of the above risk factors can be eliminated by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Take the necessary precautions now to avoid ending up as a statistic that could have been avoided.