What is hypertension?

Hypertension is defined as the condition when the blood pressure remains consistently elevated for some time during the day. Blood pressure is represented in millimeters mercury (mmHg). Systolic blood pressure (systole) is considered to be 120 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (diastole) is considered to 80 mmHg. In general, a blood pressure of 120-129/80-84 mmHg is normal, while a blood pressure of 130-139/85-89 mmHg is high normal and 140/90 mm Hg is hypertension.

How frequent is it?

One out of every three adults in our country is hypertensive. It is more frequent in women than men. In Turkey, a significant portion of hypertensive individuals (53%) is middle-aged, a period of life when such individuals are considered to be economically productive. The incidence of hypertension under the age of 30 (12%) is not negligible in our country. The incidence of hypertension over the age of sixty goes up to 60-80%. In our country, although the incidence of hypertension is high, a mere 40% of the patients is aware of their condition.

What are its causes?

The causes of hypertension remain unknown in 90-95% of the patients. This is called essential hypertension (hypertension without an identifiable cause such as a disease).
In 5-10% of the patients, hypertension occurs due to another disease. Majority of the diseases causing hypertension are renal (kidney) diseases. 
Another major cause of hypertension is endocrine (hormonal) causes. It is important that a significant portion of such diseases are curable.

What does hypertension cause?

Hypertension is an insidious disease. It can occur at any age. It may not show any indications. If not controlled, hypertension might lead to the following problems: Cardiac diseases, stroke, embolism of neck and leg veins and arteries, cardiac failure, renal failure and loss of vision.

Who are under risk?

Individuals with a family history of hypertension, individuals over 40, overweight individuals, smokers, diabetic patients, and pregnant patients if they have a family history of diabetes are under risk.

What should hypertensive patients do?

Individuals should be aware of the healthy weight they should maintain and keep that weight. Salt consumption should be reduced while the consumption of fruits and vegetables should be increased. Saturated and total fat consumption should be reduced, and the medication prescribed by physicians should be regularly taken. Smoking and alcohol should be stopped. Regular physical activity and exercise is highly recommended.
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