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Hypertension - What it is

Hypertension refers to high blood pressure. Blood  pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries as it circulates through your body. It is represented by two numbers called the systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The systolic blood pressure represents the pressure when the heart contracts. A normal systolic blood pressure is less than 140mmHg. The diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure when the heart relaxes. A normal diastolic blood pressure is less than 90mmHg.

Hypertension refers to a systolic blood pressure of 140mmHg and above, or a diastolic blood pressure of 90mmHg and above.

Health problems may arise if blood pressure remains high for a long time. Untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.

Hypertension - Symptoms

Most of the time, high blood pressure does not cause any symptoms. Hypertension is usually picked up during a routine medical examination. 

Hypertension may only cause symptoms if it reaches dangerously high levels. These symptoms may include headaches, visual disturbances, chest pain, or feeling breathless.

Hypertension - How to prevent?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help to reduce your risk of hypertension. These include:
  • Maintaining a healthy diet (including reducing the amount of salt in your diet)
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes a day for most days of the week)
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake

Hypertension - Causes and Risk Factors

Causes of hypertension:

Primary (essential) hypertension:
In most adults, there is no identifiable cause of hypertension. This is called primary, or essential hypertension. 

Secondary hypertension:
Some people have an underlying health condition which causes their high blood pressure. This is called secondary hypertension. People may require evaluation for causes of secondary hypertension if they have unusual features, or if their blood pressure is difficult to control. 

Some causes of secondary hypertension are as follows:
  • Hormonal disorders (adrenal, pituitary or thyroid gland disorders)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Abnormalities of the blood vessels or heart
  • Certain medications
Risk factors for hypertension:
  • Older age
  • Family history of hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Heavy alcohol consumption

Hypertension - Diagnosis

​Your blood pressure can be measured by your doctor in the clinic using an inflatable blood pressure cuff wrapped around your upper arm. A systolic blood pressure of 140mmHg or more, or a diastolic blood pressure of 90mmHg or more indicates high blood pressure.

Hypertension - Treatments

Hypertension cannot be cured, but it can be well-controlled. 
A healthy diet and regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are important first steps to. 
Blood pressure-lowering medication is often required to maintain blood pressure in the healthy range.

Hypertension - Preparing for surgery

Hypertension - Post-surgery care

Hypertension - Other Information

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