oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - An approach to preventing and treating hypertension through lifestyle modification : clinical



Only blood pressure levels below 120/80 mmHg are considered optimal and, even at these levels, patients are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. The other important risk factors associated with developing cardiovascular disease are type two diabetes, smoking, abnormal lipid levels, a family history of early cardiovascular disease and abdominal obesity. This implies that one must do more than treat or optimise blood pressure in order to lower cardiovascular risk. <br>Furthermore, the relationship between blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular events is continuous, consistent and independent of other risk factors. This means that, even if the other risk factors are absent or normal, a patient will have an increased risk of suffering from a heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease as blood pressure levels are rising. In fact, for every 20 mmHg increase in systolic or 10 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure, there is a doubling of mortality from both ischaemic heart disease and stroke. This direct relationship between raised blood pressure levels and the risk to die from cardiovascular disease can, fortunately, also be reversed by lowering blood pressure levels. It has been estimated that a 5 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure, for instance, will result in a 14% overall reduction in mortality due to stroke, a 9% reduction in coronary heart disease and a 7% decrease in all-cause mortality.


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