By Dr. Willie T. Ong

A national survey shows that one in four Filipino adults has high blood pressure or hypertension. By the time we reach the age of 60, almost half will have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, if uncontrolled, can be a deadly disease. It’s unfortunate that many people do not take the necessary steps to control it.

Some cases of high blood pressure have no symptoms whatsoever. That is why high blood pressure is regarded as a silent killer. However, there are patients who develop symptoms such as headache, nape pain, dizziness, flushing of the face, palpitation and nose bleeding.

For classification purposes, a person has mild hypertension if the systolic BP is between 140 to 159 mm Hg or the diastolic BP is between 90 to 99 mm Hg. These cases may still respond to a change in lifestyle: (a) lose weight and exercise, (b) reduce salt and fat intake and (c) stop smoking and limit alcohol intake.
By contrast, the more serious label of moderate to severe hypertension refers to a systolic BP higher than 160 mm Hg or a diastolic BP greater than 100 mm Hg. These critical elevations of blood pressure make one susceptible to a stroke or a heart attack, hence treatment with medications are needed.

First Aid For High Blood Pressure:

1. Make sure that the blood pressure reading is correct especially if the patient has no symptoms such as headache or chest pains.

2. Keep the patient relaxed. To calm the patient, you can instruct him to breathe slowly and deeply. Sometimes, slow breathing can already lower the blood pressure.

3. If the patient has maintenance medicines for high blood pressure, let him take it.

4. You can usually give the patient medicines for high blood pressure in the following circumstances: (1) If the blood pressure is over 140/90 and the patient has symptoms such as headache, dizziness, or chest pains, and (2) If the blood pressure is 160/100 or higher.

5. The usual first aid medicines doctors give to lower the blood pressure include (1) Clonidine 75 mcg, one tablet orally or (2) Captopril 25 mg, one tablet orally. These medicines can also be place and dissolved under the tongue for faster action. But for most cases, taking it orally is good enough. Consult your doctor first.

6. Take note that not all cases of high blood pressure should be given medications. Sometimes there are external causes of high blood pressure such as anger, tension or pain. In such cases, other medications such as a sedative or pain reliever may help lower the blood pressure.

7. Depending on the severity of the situation, you can bring the patient to the Emergency Room or make an appointment with a doctor the following day. Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: The health advice is only for general knowledge. For your specific questions, kindly consult your personal physician. Thank you.


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