Tue, May 21, 2019 - Page 2 News List

A third of people not aware they have hypertension

LIFESTYLE:Limiting salt and alcohol consumption, exercise, diet and not smoking can help people keep their blood pressure under control, experts said

By Wu Liang-yi and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

More than 30 percent of people with high blood pressure are unaware of their condition, Taiwan Hypertension Society director Wang Tzung-dau (王宗道) said.

One in every four adults over the age of 20 in the nation has high blood pressure, Wang said at a press conference held by the society and the Taiwan Society of Cardiology on World Hypertension Day on Friday.

The first step to treating hypertension is to measure blood pressure correctly, the National Taiwan University Hospital cardiologist said.

Apart from taking measurements at a doctor’s office and at home, Wu advised taking several tests throughout the day to monitor changes in blood pressure and get an average reading.

Typically, blood pressure should be controlled under 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg), he said.

People who have been diagnosed with hypertension and have a blood pressure reading of below 160/100 mmHg could try to control their blood pressure by limiting sodium intake and alcohol consumption, losing weight, exercising, controlling their diet or quitting smoking, he said.

If they are unable to lower their blood pressure after three months, they could start taking mediciation, he added.

Mackay Memorial Hospital’s Cardiovascular Center doctor Lee Ying-hsiang (李應湘) said that one of his patients in their 40s has already had two strokes because they were unable to lower their blood pressure.

Kidneys play an important role in regulating blood pressure, he said.

Overactive renal sympathetic nerves lead to increased renin secretion, thereby increasing sodium reabsorption, reducing renal blood flow and increasing blood pressure, he said.

There is a catheter-based procedure that reduces the activity of the overactive renal sympathetic nerves by inserting a catheter into the renal artery, he said.

The Taiwan Hypertension Society and the Taiwan Society of Cardiology recommend the procedure to people who have taken more than three types of blood pressure medication at the highest dosage for a month, but were unable to lower their blood pressure to the target level; those who cannot tolerate the side effects of medication or take medication on time; those who have cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, or organ damage; and those who are still unable to control their blood pressure three months after receiving treatment for secondary hypertension.

In 2017, more than 6,000 people in Taiwan died of hypertension, not including deaths from other conditions trigged by hypertension, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed.

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