Q: Good morning doctor,please i have friend whose blood pressure is 135/90,but what he usually experience is a strong headache which always began when he was doing hard work but relieve him immediately he manage to finish the work. Please,what is happening to him and what can he use as drug?
A: Good question. Normal blood pressure is 120/70mmHg and high blood pressure is 140/90mmHg. Anything in between is pre-hypertension. Having a blood pressure in the pre-hypertensive range (like your friend…though he’s practically out and into the hypertensive range) is a call to lifestyle modifications that will help bring his blood pressure back to the normal range and not tip it into the hypertensive range. For diabetics or people who have chronic kidney disease, a blood pressure of 130/80mmHg is considered high.
It’s also important to note that we’re not quick to label people as hypertensive because there are lots of things that can affect blood pressure. Coming into the hospital to see a doctor after battling through Lagos traffic and perhaps, being hit by a Danfo driver, your blood pressure will certainly be higher than normal. Getting to the hospital at that time and having your vital signs checked, will reveal a blood pressure in the abnormal range. Allowing the person to relax for about 5 minutes may present a different and normal blood pressure reading. In addition, some people have ‘white coat’ hypertension. This is high blood pressure reading that occurs once the people involved get to the hospital and see the doctor. It can be attributed to fear and anxiety.
Usually, blood pressure that is measured to be high, has to be taken on another occasion after the person has relaxed to be classified as hypertension. However, very high readings require immediate attention. To be sure of your actual blood pressure, the doctor may give a 24 hour blood pressure monitor that checks blood pressure over a 24 hour period. Then he decides the treatment protocol suitable for the patient.
To reduce your risk of high blood pressure, incorporate these lifestyle measures:
Reduce your intake of salt. Use salt sparingly while cooking and there should be no added salt after cooking. Remember that there are hidden sources of salt that we probably don’t think of like in salted nuts, processed foods like bacon and sausage, chips etc
Eat less oil. If you have to use oil at all, be sure to do so sparingly. Even the heart healthy oils are loaded with calories.
Eat more fruits and vegetables as they contain loads of goodness. They also ensure that you do not pile on excessive weight that may also predispose you to high blood pressure.
Exercise or make sure that you are involved in activities for at least 150 minutes every week. This could be in the form of going to the gym or doing other activities that you enjoy that will add to your activity chart for the week. You could dance, skip, run, hike, climb stairs instead of using elevators etc.
Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption.
Learn to cope with and manage your stress better. Stress is a part of everyday life and it is practically impossible to live without stress. What we can do is to manage our response to our everyday stressors.
Remember that high blood pressure is a silent killer and really doesn’t give any signs. If your friend is having headaches attributed to high blood pressure, then he really needs to do something NOW. Please let him go see his doctor to make a proper diagnosis and then recommend appropriate treatment.
Have a good night, people 😀