Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs on Heart Problems:•
+What is a normal blood pressure and what is hypertension?

Blood pressure measurements can be classified as:

Normal or ideal blood pressure is a systolic pressure of 120mmHg or less and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg or less. Systolic pressure between 120-139mmHg or diastolic pressure between 80-89mmHg is normal.

If Systolic blood pressure consistently remains 140mmHg or more and/or diastolic blood pressure remains consistently 90mmHg or more comes under the category of hypertension hypertension (high blood pressure)

+What health problems are associated with high blood pressure?

Several potentially serious health conditions are linked to high blood pressure, including:
Atherosclerosis: a disease of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque, or fatty material, on the inside walls of the blood vessels. Hypertension contributes to this build-up by putting added stress and force on the artery walls.
Heart disease: heart failure (the heart can’t adequately pump blood), ischaemic heart disease (the heart tissue doesn’t get enough blood), and hypertensive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) are all associated with high blood pressure.
Kidney disease: hypertension can damage the blood vessels and filters in the kidneys, so that the kidneys cannot excrete waste properly.
Stroke: hypertension can lead to stroke, either by contributing to the process of atherosclerosis (which can lead to blockages and/or clots), or by weakening the blood vessel wall and causing it to rupture.
Eye disease: hypertension can damage the very small blood vessels in the retina.

+How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms, so you usually don’t feel it. For that reason, hypertension is usually diagnosed by a health care professional on a routine visit. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has hypertension or you yourself have risk factors for it.

If your blood pressure is extremely high, you may have unusually strong headaches, chest pain and heart failure (especially difficulty breathing e). If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical advice immediately.

+What is the treatment for high blood pressure?

High blood pressure treatment usually involves making lifestyle changes and, if necessary, drug therapy. Lifestyle changes for high blood pressure include:
• Losing weight
• Stopping smoking
• Eating a healthy diet, such as the DASH diet
• Reducing the amount of salt in your diet
• Regular aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking)
• Limiting alcohol consumption

+What type of diet should I follow if I have high blood pressure?

A healthy diet, such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, is very effective at lowering high blood pressure. The Dash diet calls for a certain number of daily servings from various food groups, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The following steps can also help:
• Eating more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods
• Eating less of foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as fried foods
• Eating more wholegrain products, fish, poultry and nuts
• Eating less red meat and sweets
• Eating foods that are high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium

+When should I seek medical advice about high blood pressure?

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to see your doctor on a regular basis. He or she can answer your questions during these visits. However, there may be other times when you may need to speak to your doctor or specialist nurse. For instance: If you aren’t responding to the prescribed treatment and your blood pressure is still high. If you are having any side effects from the blood pressure medication. If this happens, your doctor may wish to adjust the dosage or commence you on another

+What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft waxy like material that is made in the liver of animals. Animal foods such as egg yolks, milk fat, organ meats, and shellfish, contain cholesterol too. In many people, an elevated blood cholesterol level (hypercholesterolemia) is caused by excessive intake of foods high in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar, and calories. Reducing intake of these products can reduce cholesterol levels. Limit intake to 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day.

+What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis, is often described as a hardening of the arteries. It occurs when the normal lining of the arteries is damaged, leading to a buildup of fat deposits and plaque. This causes the walls of arteries to thicken, leading to a narrowing (or even a blockage) of the arteries.

+What are Coronary Artery Diseases?

Coronary artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis. In coronary artery disease, the arteries that supply blood to the heart become severely narrowed, which can potentially decrease the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, especially during times of increased activity. Extra strain on the heart may result in chest pain (angina) and other symptoms.

+What is the link between smoking and heart disease?

Smoking is a major cause of atherosclerosis. Among other things, the nicotine present in smoke causes:
• Decreased oxygen to the heart
• Increased blood pressure and heart rate
• Increase in blood clotting
• Damage to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels, triggering atherosclerosis and heart disease

+What dietary changes can I make to reduce my heart disease risk?

To reduce your risk of heart disease, following steps should be taken:
• Increased intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes
• Limit fat intake. When you use added fat, use fats high in mono and polyunsaturates only
• Eat lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, and soy. Avoid red meat, as this tends to be high in fat and cholesterol
• Limit intake of cholesterol
• Eat complex carbohydrates (such as whole-grain bread, rice, pasta) and limit simple carbohydrates (such as regular soda, sugar, sweets)
• Eat small but frequent meals throughout the day (for example, eating five to six mini-meals)
• Reduce salt intake
• Exercise regularly

+What are the risk factors for coronary artery disease?

Conditions that increase a person's risk for heart disease, also called coronary artery disease, are called risk factors.
• Smoking
• High cholesterol
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Lack of exercise
• Obesity
• Diabetes
• Diet
• Stress
By improving lifestyle habits, you can reduce your risk of heart attack or angina.