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Introduction and CausesSymptoms and Effects
PreventionTreatment and Self-help

Introduction and Causes
Symptoms and Effects
Treatment and Self-help

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure is persistently higher than normal (140/90 mmHg), even when you are resting or relaxed.

What causes it?

In most circumstances, no cause can be found. A number of risk factors, individually or in combination, can increase the risk of hypertension, including

  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Family history of hypertension

There are also specific medical causes, including:

  • Kidney diseases
  • Some heart conditions
  • Certain hormonal imbalances
  • Side effects of some drugs, e.g. steroid

According to the Population Health Survey 2003/04 of the Department of Health, 60% of male with hypertension do not know they have the disease.

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What are the common symptoms?

Hypertension is also known as a "silent killer" because most people with hypertension have no symptom. Hypertension is usually diagnosed by chance when people go for a routine health check, or during an examination for another problem.

When severe, hypertension will cause:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Problems with vision

Do You Know...

Men often resort to alcohol when they feel stressful. However, alcohol in fact cannot help reduce the stress. It also increase the risk of hypertension if taken in large amount.

What are the complications?

Persistent high blood pressure poses a serious risk to health by increasing the likelihood of:

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How can I prevent it?

You can lower your risk of having hypertension by:

  • No smoking.
  • Eating a healthy and low fat diet, and reduce your salt intake.
  • Moderation of your alcohol intake.
  • Taking suitable exercise regularly.
  • Controlling your weight.
  • Getting adequate rest and avoiding stress.
  • Getting your blood pressure checked every couple of years at least.


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What is the treatment?

If the blood pressure is only slightly raised, or when there is no specific cause for it, it is usually treated by adopting a healthy lifestyle, without the need to resort to medications.

In more serious cases, hypertension can be treated by medication along with lifestyle changes. The choice of an appropriate treatment is based on the degree of blood pressure elevation, severity of the symptoms, the extent to which they affect the patient's life, and the presence of any other medical conditions.

How can I help myself?

If you have a diagnosis of hypertension, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of complications. All of the above preventive advice applies.

To yield satisfactory results from the drug treatment, you have to take the medication as prescribed. Never stop or skip taking them on your own without consulting your doctor first, even when symptoms disappear or when your blood pressure is under control. It is important to visit your doctor regularly to have your blood pressure monitored.

If you have any suspicions, you should seek medical advice.

Health Alert

Hypertension is also known as a "silent killer" because most people with hypertension have no symptom. If left untreated, it may lead to stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure and renal failure.


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Last revision date: 2017-11-13