The exact causes of hypertension, or high blood pressure, are not known.

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on the arterial wall while blood flows through the arteries. The pressure measured when the heart contracts and sends blood out of the heart is systolic (highest). The pressure measured when the heart dilates with blood flowing back into the heart is called diastolic (lowest) blood pressure.

High blood pressure’s strong correlation with cardiovascular diseases and high morbidity has made measuring blood pressure a necessity of identifying those at risk.

Daily Monitoring: An Important Part of Your Health Routine

Half of Canadians Over 65 Suffer From High Blood Pressure

Over 6 million Canadians suffer from high blood pressure. The incidence increases with age, such that more than 50% of people over the age of 65 have high blood pressure. Self-Monitoring of blood pressure is widely recommended by health professionals as a valued addition to doctor’s officemeasurements, and also provides an effective means of increasing patient adherence to antihypertensive therapy.

High Blood Pressure Often Goes Undetected

Because there are usually no symptoms, over one third of people with high blood pressure don’t even know it. In fact, only about 20% of all hypertensives receive adequate therapy. This is especially disturbing because with proper monitoring, high blood pressure is easily detected, and usually, controlled.

Prevention Is The Key

Only your doctor can determine if you have hypertension. But you may be able to reduce your risk of developing it, and you can help control it. Regular exercise, reducing the amount of salt in your diet and loosing excess weight are key steps. It’s often a good idea to measure and record your own blood pressure as well. Your doctor may find your daily blood pressure records very helpful when evaluating your condition and/or treatment. If your doctor has prescribed medicine for your high blood pressure, it is extremely important to take it regularly.

2008 Public Recommendations, Canadian Hypertension Educational Program