THE SILENT KILLER

Hypertension is not a disease but a risk factor that can be controlled with lifestyle and pharmacology therapy.

In Italy hypertension affects nearly 25% of Italians, about 12 million people, a figure that reaches 80% if we consider those over 65. Each year nine million people who undergo specialist examinations: lifestyles and medications can monitor this risk factor for cardiovascular disease also called the silent killer.

The arterial hypertension in Italy affects on average 33% of men and 31% of women, of whom about half are in a borderline condition in which the systolic pressure (the maximum) is between 140 and 160 mmHg and diastolic (the minimum) is between 90 and 95 mmHg. (Source ISS).

In the elderly, 52% of men and 57% of women are hypertensive or under regular antihypertensive treatment. Despite the availability of several therapeutic treatments, experts say that two thirds of hypertensive patients do not adhere to therapy and not changing lifestyles, thus incurring the risk of major complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney complications and premature death. It’s time to go to the doctor.

One risk to be monitored.

According to experts, hypertension is not a disease but a risk factor that can be controlled either with the lifestyles that with proper drug therapy.

“Hypertension is like a hidden sniper and invisible because the symptoms can be difficult to interpret,” says Roberto Meazza specialist and coordinator of the Day Service arterial hypertension OU of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Milan and the clinical physiology center and hypertension of the Policlinico of Milan.

According to the expert, there are two signs that must be taken into account and lead to request a doctor’s advice: “The presence of headache upon awakening but passes when you get up from the bed and the need to go to the bathroom several times during the night are the most characteristic symptoms of hypertension.

More than they have swollen legs and nosebleeds that people associate with rather more frequently to high blood pressure “, said the specialist.

The signs to be reckoned with.

“If there is no family history of hypertension,” says Roberto Meazza, “after 40 years it is advisable to measure blood pressure twice a year, every two or three months after 45 years and in case of doubt. The pressure should be measured if possible at home, with a self-assessment tool also wrist, putting his left wrist at heart level and resting on the right shoulder.

“It is important to relax for a few minutes before making the detection possible between 18.00 and 20.00 and never having eaten or smoked,” says the hypertension expert at the Policlinico di Milano does not recommend that the pressure measurement at pharmacies because it could be distorted by emotional stress, the presence of other persons or a poorly calibrated instruments.