I've just been diagnosed with hypertension. What should I do?

– The information has been reviewed by Dr. Wong Chi Pang

Many of us were told by our doctors that, “Your blood pressure is a bit high!”

Let’s read on to find out more about what we can do to manage our high blood pressure.


What is Blood Pressure?

Everyone has blood pressure, regardless of whether we are healthy or ill. It is one of the four major vital signs, with the others being pulse rate, body temperature, and breathing rate.

Blood pressure is measured in mmHg, and a blood pressure recording should indicate two numbers: systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). A normal, healthy adult generally has ana SBP reading of approximately 120 mmHg; and a DBP reading of around 80 mmHg. In other words, a normal adult blood pressure should be about 120/80 mmHg.

Blood pressure varies from person to person, with children and adolescents usually exhibiting lower blood pressure than adults. In contrast, elderly people generally have relatively higher blood pressure.


What is Considered as High Blood Pressure?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adults with blood pressure readings of over 140/90 mmHg should be considered as having high blood pressure (or diagnosed as having hypertension).

If your blood pressure falls between 130/85 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, you may have prehypertension, which may develop into hypertension if nothing is done. If you suspect that you have blood pressure issues, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

What Causes Hypertension?
What Causes Hypertension?

Nearly 90% of adults with hypertension suffer from primary hypertension, which has no identifiable cause.

The remaining patients may suffer from secondary hypertension, which is caused by certain medications or underlying conditions including chronic kidney disease, endocrine disorders, vascular disease such as renal artery stenosis, and sleep apnea. In fact, a small percentage of pregnant women might also develop high blood pressure during the mid to late stages of their pregnancy!

It is important to mention that for many people, hypertension is connected to poor lifestyle habits such as excessive consumption of sodium or alcohol, inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables, infrequent exercise, being overweight, and having insufficient sleep.

If My Parents Have Hypertension, Will I Also Develop High Blood Pressure?
If My Parents Have Hypertension, Will I Also Develop High Blood Pressure?

If your close relatives suffer from hypertension, your risk of developing the condition is higher. Blood pressure also naturally increases with age, and is very common among individuals over the age of 65.

What are the Symptoms of Hypertension?
What are the Symptoms of Hypertension?

It may seem strange, but most patients with hypertension do not experience any apparent symptoms. This is why hypertension is often known as a “silent killer.”

For others, they may experience dizziness, blurred vision, chest tightness, nausea, fatigue, or facial redness, but these symptoms do not always occur.

In the event of an acute hypertensive episode, where the blood pressure suddenly increases within a short period of time, patients may experience symptoms such as headache, chest pain, or shortness of breath. In this particular case, seek emergency medical help as soon as possible.

Why is it so Important to Pay Attention to Our Blood Pressure?
Why is it so Important to Pay Attention to Our Blood Pressure?

Hypertension can lead to many complications such as stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, vascular occlusion, ruptured aneurysm, or retinal hemorrhage, etc.

You may have heard of the “three highs,” which refer to high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. The “three highs” can also lead to serious diseases such as heart disease, brain hemorrhage, ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease, chronic kidney disease, and even vascular dementia.

How Should I Manage my Blood Pressure?
How Should I Manage my Blood Pressure?

Prior to taking any blood pressure medication, you should first adjust your lifestyle. This means that smokers should quit smoking, and those in the habit of drinking should cut their consumption of alcohol. You should also exercise regularly, limit your intake of sodium and high fat foods, and eat more fruits and vegetables. A healthy lifestyle is crucial when it comes to management of blood pressure.

If lifestyle changes are not enough to help lower your blood pressure, you may need to consider taking medication. There are many types of medication available today, including: diuretics (also known as water pills), which help the kidneys eliminate sodium and water from the body; angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which help relax the blood vessels; calcium channel blockers, which help slow your heart rate; and alpha blockers, which reduce nerve signals to the blood vessels. If taken correctly and appropriately, these medications will help lower your blood pressure.

If I take my pills as instructed, can I keep on Smoking?
If I take my pills as instructed, can I keep on Smoking?

Of course not! It is critical to stop smoking immediately!

How Often Should I Get My Blood Pressure Tested?
How Often Should I Get My Blood Pressure Tested?

You may refer to the recommendations offered by the Department of Health:


Systolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)

Diastolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)





Check every two years




Check every year

High Normal



Check every six months


140or higher

90 or higher

Consult your doctor as soon as possible

Reference: Department of Health