Skip To Main Content

Step up to a Healthier You with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure [Hypertension]

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because you may have it and not experience any symptoms. It is very important that you have your blood pressure checked regularly.

One high blood pressure reading does not necessarily mean you have hypertension. Your doctor may diagnose hypertension right away if your blood pressure is extremely high, or may ask you to come back for several visits before a diagnosis can be made. Generally blood pressure that is consistently higher than 140/90, would be considered high blood pressure.

Blood pressure should be measured when you are relaxed and rested because most people have higher readings when they are under physical or emotional stress. Monitoring your own blood pressure with a home blood pressure monitor or by using the blood pressure monitoring stations available at your local pharmacy can be helpful, but it is advised that you see your family physician for an actual diagnosis of high blood pressure.

Factors that Contribute to High Blood Pressure

  • Diet high in sodium
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • High levels of stress
  • Diabetes

Age, sex and race also contribute to the development of high blood pressure, with older individuals, males, and those of Aboriginal, African, and South Asian descent being at greater risk.

How Does High Blood Pressure Cause Stroke?

Over time, high blood pressure:

  • Damages blood vessel walls causing scarring that promotes the build-up of fatty plaque which can narrow and block arteries;
  • Strains and weakens the heart; Very high blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the brain to burst and cause a stroke.

The Good News…
High blood pressure is the number one modifiable risk factor for stroke.

High Blood Pressure can also Lead to:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Dementia
  • Eye problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Sexual dysfunction

It is important to note that through early detection of high blood pressure, and through proper treatment due to healthy lifestyle changes and medication when necessary, your risk of developing any of the above health issues can be greatly reduced.

If You Have High Blood Pressure:

  • Have it checked on a regular basis.
  • See a doctor regularly.
  • Have your cholesterol measured. Most people with high blood pressure have other risks for heart disease and stroke such as high cholesterol.
  • Have your blood sugar checked. People with diabetes and high blood pressure must be monitored closely and need to strive for lower blood pressure targets.
  • Have your kidney function checked. Kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
  • If you are told you have high blood pressure, tell your family members. They may be at risk for hypertension and should have their blood pressure checked.

More than nine in ten Canadians will develop high blood pressure(hypertension) unless they adopt a healthy lifestyle. – Blood Pressure Canada