Citing the increased risk of cardiovascular events during cold weather, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) yesterday advised people with cardiovascular disease to follow a “722” principle for monitoring their blood pressure levels.
As the Central Weather Bureau forecast that the temperature could drop to 12°C in northern Taiwan today, the HPA said that this could cause blood vessels and arteries to constrict, increasing blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular events.
However, high blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms, and many elderly people or those with a high risk of cardiovascular disease might not notice a change, it said, adding that regularly measuring blood pressure is important.
Photo: Lin Cheng-kun, Taipei Times
Normal blood pressure is considered to be lower than 120/80 mmHg, and a pressure between 130/85 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg is considered “high-normal,” the HPA said.
Hypertension is defined by a pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher, which can cause damage to the brain, heart or kidneys, it said.
Taiwan Hypertension Society chairperson Kao Hsien-li (高憲立), a cardiologist at National Taiwan University Hospital, said that many people only measure their blood pressure when they seek medical attention at hospitals or clinics, but the numbers do not represent long-term blood pressure levels, especially as some people could have higher levels if they feel nervous in the hospital.
The Taiwan Hypertension Society is promoting a “722” principle for measuring blood pressure at home, especially for people with cardiovascular disease.
Kao said that this means measuring blood pressure seven days per week, twice per day — after waking up and before going to bed — and twice each time, with an interval of at least one minute and recording the average numbers, Kao said.
The HPA urged people who have a family history of hypertension and are obese to also measure their blood pressure at home regularly, as well as maintain healthy habits, including keeping their diets low in fat, sugar and sodium, but high in fiber, while avoiding alcohol and smoking, and exercising regularly.
These habits are important for everyone in maintaining healthy blood pressure, but especially for elderly people and people who have cardiovascular disease, the HPA said, adding that patients on medication should follow the directions on the prescription.
People should seek immediate medical help by calling 119 upon feeling chest tightness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, extreme fatigue, dizziness as these could be signs of a heart attack, it said.
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