World hypertension day: reflexes to fight a silent killer
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World hypertension day: reflexes to fight a silent killer


It is presented as a “silent killer” because most of the time it does not manifest itself through any particular symptom. High blood pressure (HTA) corresponds to a permanently too high blood pressure in the arteries. It is dangerous because it tires the heart, creates serious damage to the walls of the arteries and causes cardiovascular accidents. The latter thus represents the first preventable cause cardiovascular disease and stroke worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In France, the French Federation of Cardiology (FFC) indicates that it is even the first reason for consultation in general medicine.

The prevalence of this disease has not decreased among the French, with one in three adults affected, as indicated by the Esteban study of Public Health France published in the Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin of April 24. Screening and management of the disease have also not progressed in the country, while the situation has improved in most other developed countries. The results also indicate that less than one in two hypertensive patients take treatment for hypertension and only one in two people treated is controlled by its hypertensive treatment. The Haute Autorité de Santé estimated in 2016 that if 10 million hypertensive patients are treated, 4 million patients ignore each other.

It should be monitored regularly

“Beyond a simple risk factor, hypertension is a real chronic disease. Its progression is the consequence of the evolution of our lifestyles, in particular a diet too high in fat and salt, as well as a decreased physical activity », Says the FFC. If it does not heal, it heals on the other hand very well. Provided therefore, to know that one is hypertensive: it is recommended to measure at least once a year blood pressure, at home or at the doctor’s. In addition, certain disorders can nevertheless alert such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, visual disturbances, fatigue, ringing in the ears …

If hypertension can often be linked to factors against which we can not act (age, sex, heredity …), there is a set modifiable risk factors. “They either contribute to increasing the volume of blood circulating in the arteries, or to increasing the rigidity of the arteries through a structural or vasoconstrictor effect”, specifies Inserm. Overweight, obesity and lack of physical activity are mentioned first, as is a diet too high in salt. “In France, a survey in 2006 showed that the average salt intake is estimated at 8.5 g per day. In hypertensive patients, intakes of less than 6 g per day are recommended, ”says the FFC.

The five daily reflexes

Tobacco, on the other hand, produces substances that damage the arteries and promote deposition of cholesterol plaques while excessive alcohol consumption (beyond two doses per day for women, three for men) raises blood pressure numbers, as does stress. Other risk factors are less well known. “Disturbed sleep, which does not allow sufficient recovery phases, alters the control of blood pressure”, specifies the FFC which quotes in particular sleep apnea syndrome. Finally, the latter warns against social isolation because “its negative consequences on the hygiene of life reinforce hypertension”.

Thus, the WHO considers that “everyone can take five concrete steps to reduce as much as possible the risk of suffering from hypertension and the consequences of the disease. ” To know :

  • adopt a healthy diet,
  • avoid the harmful use of alcohol,
  • practice physical activity (at least 30 minutes a day),
  • manage stress in a healthy way, especially through meditation and socializing.

However, in the absence of improvement after three months, hypotensive treatment based on 8 “families” of drugs is required, most often for life, to effectively control blood pressure. The latter does not replace the rules of hygiene of life, it only supplements them.

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