I. Diagnostic criteria
Hypertension is diagnosed when blood pressure measures 140mmHg or higher systolic and 90mmHg or higher diastolic in consulting rooms three times on different days without the use of antihypertensive drugs.
It can also be diagnosed if the blood pressure reading is 135/85mmHg or higher on average for 5 to 7 consecutive days when checked at home through a standard procedure.
Medical treatment is recommended when hypertension is diagnosed.
II. Prevalence and hazards
As one of the most common chronic diseases, high blood pressure is the most important risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and death. In China, deaths caused by cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases account for more than 40 percent of fatalities. Around 70 percent of stroke deaths and around 50 percent of myocardial infarctions are closely related to hypertension.
III. Regular blood pressure measurement
1. Adults aged 18 and above should regularly self-monitor blood pressure at least once a year, and pay attention to its changes.
2. People should have more frequent measurement if they are diagnosed with high normal blood pressure (120-139/80-89mmHg) or are at high risk of hypertension because they are overweight or obese, follow a high-salt diet, smoke or drink alcohol chronically, suffer from long-term mental stress, or are sedentary and avoid physical activity.
3. People aged 35 or above are required to have their blood pressure measured upon their first visit to a medical institution. Regular monitoring is needed if the blood pressure is elevated.
4. Hypertensive patients are strongly recommended to do self-measurement at home and strengthen self-management. Measurements should be made once a week if the blood pressure remains under control but otherwise should be increased in frequency.
5. It is recommended to use an upper-arm fully-automatic electronic sphygmomanometer that has obtained an international standard certification.
1. Keep exercising. Regular physical exercise, including brisk walking, swimming, Tai Chi and doing housework can help prevent and control high blood pressure.
2. Limit salt intake. A high-salt diet remarkably increases the risk of high blood pressure. An adult should consume no more than 5 grams of salt per day.
3. Reduce intake of foods rich in fat and sugar, limit the use of cooking oil, and eat more vegetables and fruits.
4. Eat less fast food. Try to eat at home, which helps control the intake of fat, salt and sugar.
5. Quit smoking. Smoking is harmful to health. Smokers should quit as soon as possible.
V. Treatment of high blood pressure
1. A vast majority of patients need to take antihypertensive drugs regularly for a long period.
2. Targets of antihypertensive treatment:
For patients with simple hypertension, blood pressure should be decreased to less than 140/90mmHg. The target is 130/80mmHg for those who can tolerate the treatment and for patients with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease or heart failure.
The target is higher however for patients over 80.
3. Most hypertension cases are primary. In general, they cannot be cured and require long-term and regular medication, which will decrease the risks of heart, brain and kidney complications.
Do not believe in illegal advertising or pseudo-scientific publications. Remember health care products, physiotherapies and diet therapies cannot replace blood pressure medication.
4. In most cases, hypertension can be controlled. Those whose blood pressure is poorly controlled should promptly seek medical attention.
VI. Management of high blood pressure
Hypertension is a lifelong disease and requires long-term monitoring and standardized treatment.
Primary medical institutions give long-term follow-ups for hypertensive patients over 35, which is a national basic public health service.
Patients should also strengthen self- management, keep a healthy lifestyle, take medicines on time as prescribed, and receive regular follow-ups to reduce the risks of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.