Hypertension (high blood pressure)

High blood pressure describes a constantly high blood pressure in the blood vessels. Most of the time, there are no symptoms and hypertension is detected when taking blood pressure.

As the heart works hard to push the blood into the vessels, it can get tired and cause heart failure. The blood vessels are damaged and angina, stroke, kidney and eye problems can result.


The diagnosis of hypertension is not always easy to establish. Low, normal, or high blood pressure is measured, but the threshold value for hypertension remains difficult to define.

By convention, it is estimated that an individual with a diastolic pressure of 9 to 10 cm of mercury and a systolic pressure of 14 to 16 cm of mercury is hypertensive and should receive antihypertensive treatment.

To establish the diagnosis with greater reliability, blood pressure should be measured at different times. Biochemical tests are carried out simultaneously on urine and blood samples.


Essential hypertension accounts for about 90% of hypertension cases and secondary hypertension for the remaining 10%. This can be caused by kidney disease, birth control pills or endocrine disorders. Treatment of the cause usually leads to a decrease in hypertension


The goal of treatment, usually prescribed by a GP, is to lower blood pressure to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack.

It is often accompanied by a diet low in salt, calories, alcohol and saturated fat, but rich in potassium, calcium, polyunsaturated fats, magnesium and fiber. Similarly, the patient is advised to resume moderate physical activity whenever possible.

Although smoking does not affect tension, it can increase the risk of attack (stroke) or heart attack.

Prescribed medications, alone or in combination therapy, include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and diuretics.



Episodes of very high blood pressure can cause headaches, palpitations, nose bleeds and ringing in the ears.



It is often said in the case of hypertension, take care not to eat too much salty food. Indeed, the typical North American diet is very rich in sodium compared to potassium. It is better to cook at home than to always buy prepared foods. The oils used will be of better quality and it will be easier to control the amount of salt added to food.

Potassium is important to ensure a good contraction of the heart muscle. It is found in bananas, potatoes baked in the oven (with the skin), in cantaloupe, spinach, etc. There is the same type of problem between the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Our diet tends to provide a little too much omega-6 compared to omega-3.


Restoring ratios between essential fatty acids and between sodium and potassium is already an effective approach to preventing many cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension.

Obviously, the consumption of alcohol and fat should be limited. The typical Mediterranean diet is the most recommended for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. It consists of fruits and vegetables (in abundance), complete cereal products, extra virgin olive oil, red wine (maximum 1 to 2 glasses per day) as well as lean meats including a good fish.

Dark chocolate rich in cocoa has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Physical exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise is recommended to maintain optimal cardiovascular health. It takes a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes per exercise session and repeat this period at least 4 to 6 times a week.

If you are starting an exercise program, it is advisable to talk to your doctor to make a personalized assessment.

Stress management

Chronic stress and anxiety are real enemies for heart health. It is essential to learn how to better manage conflict situations that can lead to chronic stress. Regular practice seeing daily relaxing exercise, will only be beneficial to the body.

Basic advice

Obesity, stress and lack of exercise are aggravating factors of hypertension. Moreover, although the pressure is high during the practice of a sport, all the blood vessels adapt during the effort, which does not aggravate the hypertension and even makes it possible to reduce it after the activity.

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