Jarrod Wilson (Exercise Physiologist – Burnie)
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension occurs when the pressure in the blood vessels of the body is too high. In other words, blood is exerting too much pressure on the artery walls as it is pumped around the body.
A blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers. The top number (value) is the systolic blood pressure, which indicates how much pressure is in the artery when the heart is contracting. The bottom number (value) is the diastolic blood pressure, which indicates how much pressure is exerted in the artery when the heart is relaxed.
Systolic blood pressure
Diastolic blood pressure
Below is a table that represents the stages of hypertension. It is generally accepted that hypertension is 130/90 or higher.
If not treated well, hypertension can have serious consequences – think heart attack, stroke, and even death!
How Common is Hypertension?
There is every chance that you or someone you know has hypertension, as well over a billion people around the world are believed to have the condition.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension is well known as the silent killer, as often people do not experience symptoms despite having the condition. This is why it is so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. For people that do experience symptoms with hypertension, the most common ones are:
- Vision changes
- Buzzing in the ears
I have got hypertension. What do I do about it?
It is very important to first make an appointment with your GP to discuss the options to treat your high blood pressure. They may prescribe antihypertensive medication to help lower your blood pressure. They may also recommend some light exercise or physical activity, in which case you may be referred to see an Exercise Physiologist. An Exercise Physiologist can guide you through an appropriately structured exercise and lifestyle program, tailored to your needs and preferences.
How Can Exercise Help Hypertension?
There is now compelling evidence that supports the use of aerobic, resistance, isometric, and high intensity exercise to help in the prevention and treatment of hypertension. For more information about the effectiveness of exercise for people with high blood pressure, read one of Jarrod’s previous blogs on this subject:
If you have known hypertension and would like to manage it more effectively, speak with your GP about the possibility of a referral to see one of the Exercise Physiologists at Coastal Physiotherapy.
Sharman, JE, Smart, NA, Coombes, JS & Stowasser, M 2019, ‘Exercise and sports science Australia position stand update on exercise and hypertension’, Journal of Human Hypertension, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-7.