Hypertension - FAQs
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is fast becoming
a frighteningly common ailment among
adults, with an estimated 1 in 5 individuals
battling the condition. Part of the problem is that
hypertension often escapes our notice initially,
paving the way for cardiovascular disease to quietly
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Hypertension typically presents without any hallmark
symptoms. At most, headache, dizziness or lethargy
is sometimes observed, but these can often be very
vague and non-specific. This lack of obvious signs
and symptoms is why hypertension is dubbed a 'silent
What are the risk factors for hypertension?
The major risk factors for hypertension include:
• Age. Your risk of
hypertension increases as you get older.
• Family history.
Hypertension tends to run in families.
• Being overweight or obese.
• Physical inactivity.
• Smoking. Smoking
damages the arteries, increasing the likelihood of
high blood pressure.
• Certain chronic conditions.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease
are linked to hypertension.
What are the complications of hypertension?
Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to
life-threatening cardiovascular complications. These
include heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
What are the non-drug approaches to treat
Several lifestyle adjustments can help lower your
blood pressure numbers.
• Weight reduction.
Even dropping just 4.5 kg can significantly improve
your blood pressure.
• Healthy eating. Salt
intake should be reduced to less than 6g a day,
while alcohol consumption should be reduced to no
more than 10 pints of beer per week for men, or 7
pints for women.
• Regular exercise.
30-60 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a
week, can make a difference. But be careful not to
• Quitting smoking.
Which is the best pharmacological option for
To help manage your hypertension, your doctor will
first assess your state of health, blood pressure
levels, risk factors and co-existing health
conditions to determine the most appropriate drug(s)
For instance, ARBs are typically chosen for better
tolerability, ACE inhibitors for cardiovascular and
renal protection, and CCBs for first-line therapy in
those over 55. In patients with diabetes, ACE
inhibitors are recommended.
Combination therapy is also common practice; for
example, patients with uncontrolled blood pressure
and at high risk of cardiovascular complications may
be prescribed a combination of an ACE inhibitor and
amlodipine (a CCB).