Our Cardiology service offers several tests for the diagnosis and control of arterial hypertension, such as: echocardiography, stress test, laboratory tests and a 24-hour blood pressure map. Within the framework of World Hypertension Day, Dr. Rodrigo León, a cardiologist at our clinic, points out some myths and truths associated with this condition.
What is hypertension?
Blood pressure is the force exerted against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood; it is normal if it is below 120/80 mm Hg. If the measurement is greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg, it is considered hypertension.
- When you have high blood pressure you should not exercise or carry weight. Physical activity is essential to control blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risk. Aerobic physical exercise is recommended, minimum 30 minutes, 5 times a week.
- Medicines for high blood pressure damage the kidneys and/or the heart. Rather, they prevent the damage caused by sustained levels of high blood pressure.
- If I can control my blood pressure, I no longer need to take my medications. If the medication is stopped without the doctor’s advice, you will have high blood pressure measurements again.
- Blood pressure medications can affect my sexual performance. False, they have no effect on sexual function.
- I have hypertension due to stress. Hypertensive people have a hereditary component of the disease. Stress by itself does not cause hypertension.
- If I eat little salt, I don’t have to worry about my blood pressure. If you have a genetic predisposition to hypertension, low salt intake will not prevent you from suffering from the disease.
- Hypertension can damage several organs. If blood pressure is not controlled, organs such as the heart, brain and kidneys are damaged over the years, leading to heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.
- High blood pressure is hereditary and I will develop it at some point in my life. Yes, however, an early diagnosis and adopting a healthy lifestyle will be important to delay its onset.
Remember, high blood pressure is one of the most vulnerable conditions to COVID-19. If your blood pressure measurement is not within normal values, do not hesitate to go for a cardiac check-up.
Dr. Rodrigo León
Cardiologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma