Chronic diseases

Cardiovascular system

The dangerous and silent hypertension

Chronic diseases

Knowing more about hypertension is the first step to prevent and control a disease that evolves without symptoms, but which poses great health risks.

Pay attention to blood pressure!

Arterial tension or blood pressure, as it is more commonly known is the force at which your blood is pumped in blood in the vessels around your body. The pressure is higher when the heart pumps blood - it is the systolic or maximum pressure, and lower when the heart is at rest - it is the diastolic or minimum pressure.


Minimum and maximum blood pressure values
Blood Pressure - Values Table

Without symptoms but risky

Anybody can have high blood pressure at any given time although that does not mean they are ill. The risk exists when the blood exerts excessive force on the arteries in a continuous way over time - that is arterial hypertension.

Symptomless evolution

It evolves without symptoms: the damage installs itself silently in organs such as the heart, kidneys, eyes, lungs, and brain.

With consequences

Heart disease, cerebrovascular accident (stroke) and kidney failure are some of the risks if blood pressure is not well controlled.

Prevention is the best choice

You cannot feel arterial hypertension at the beginning, but you can measure it:

  • A healthy person over 18 should measure blood pressure, at least, once a year;
  • A smoker, with diabetes, overweight or a family history of cardiovascular disease should measure more frequently, following medical advice.

Healthy food
Healthy food

Measuring is easy

  • At the pharmacy, benefiting from pharmaceutical advice.
  • A home, using adequate devices, which must be certified respecting instructions, in order to guarantee accurate results.


Prevention is the best way

  • Eat a healthy diet: eat more vegetables and fruit, reduce your fat and salt intake, which contributes to increased BP. There are salt substitutes, without sodium.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol and coffee because they raise BP.
  • Undertake physical activity regularly as it stimulates blood circulation and helps maintain the ideal weight.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine makes the heartbeat faster and narrows blood vessels, increasing blood pressure and damaging their wall.
  • Measure your blood pressure regularly. Knowing the values allows corrective measures to be taken, if necessary.

If you are taking medicine for BP, follow your clinical treatment. Doses and schedules must be respected, and the treatment should not be interrupted on your own initiative.

Stop smoking
Stop smoking

Facts and figures

According to several studies, HTN (Hypertension) is estimated to affect 30-45% of the population in Europe, and Portugal is no exception to these figures.  

It is not yet clear why essential hypertension is more prevalent among black population than other ethnic groups, but it is known that people of African descent not only suffer from hypertension more frequently, but it usually starts earlier in life and causes more complications. It is believed that some interaction of genetic and economic factors may explain this higher incidence.


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