Sunday, December 07, 2008

Are You Having High Blood Pressure Without Knowing It?

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It has been found by previous research that people with high blood pressure will be at a higher risk of getting heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and dementia.

As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), high blood pressure is defined as being 140 over 90 mm of mercury or more. Mercury is the fluid used in the blood pressure gauges. The first number (140 mm), known as systolic, measures maximum heart pressure while the second (90 mm), known as diastolic, measures pressure when heart is in a resting phase (diastolic).

Many people who already have hypertension are just not aware of the condition. In fact, a recent study by Warwick Medical School in Britain and other institutes in Europe reported that more than half of people in 3 European countries who were diagnosed with high blood pressure did not know they had the condition. In addition, half of those who were aware that they had hypertension had managed to have their problems under control.

The findings were published in the International Society of Hypertension's Journal of Hypertension on November 12, 2008.

1,604 persons from Southwest London, Limburg in Belgium and Abruzzo in Italy, who participated in the study, answered questions regarding healthcare and lifestyle habits.

24 percent of the participants were found to have high blood pressure, yet only 44 percent of them were aware of their condition. Among these people, less than half had reduced their blood pressure to below 140 over 80 mm of mercury, the widely accepted benchmark of health.

According to the researchers, management of hypertensive problem is considered better in Britain than in many other European countries, partly because doctors in Britain have incentives to help patients reach targeted blood pressure. However, the incidence of high blood pressure is still rising, as too many patients are still not adequately treated.

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