Afghan health officials warn the number of people with hypertension or high blood pressure is on the rise in Afghanistan, based on the statistics from government hospitals and clinics.
Blood pressure is defined as the force exerted by blood on the walls of the arteries when the heart beats. It changes throughout the day. In particular, it increases during physical exertion and decreases during sleep. That is normal.
However, sometimes due to medical conditions, it remains consistently above average. This condition is medically known as hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, damage to the eyes, and narrowing of arteries. Untreated hypertension can cause heart failure and increased risk of heart attack.
Although high blood pressure can cause headaches, dizziness and problems with vision, the majority of people suffer no symptoms at all. As a result many people with hypertension remain undiagnosed because they do not get their blood pressure checked.
In over 90 per cent of cases, the cause is unknown. In the remaining cases, high blood pressure is a symptom of a recognisable underlying problem such as a kidney abnormality, tumour of the adrenal gland or congenital defect of the aorta. In cases where the root cause is corrected, blood pressure usually returns to normal.
The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years, particularly, after you have reached 40.
TreatmentHypertension, combined with obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol and diabetes, increases the risk of heart attacks several times.
There is no cure as such for hypertension, but following a healthy lifestyle can be enough to bring blood pressure down to a normal level. Medication is used if lifestyle changes alone fail to lower blood pressure sufficiently.