“Detecting hypertension early helps minimise the risks. A BP test is the only way to find out if your BP levels are elevated – a non-invasive and really quick measure that will immediately determine if levels are unacceptably high. A BP reading of 120-129 over 70-79 is considered normal.

“If you have BP higher than 140/90 immediately seek further medical intervention. With this kind of diagnosis, your doctor is likely to prescribe antihypertensive medication that’s taken every day. This is the only way to ensure that the treatment will effectively control blood pressure in the long-term and protect against the risk of cardiovascular events,” Mpe says.

Research has shown that “some people stop their treatment after only six months while 50% of people with hypertension stop their treatment completely after one year”.

Mpe warns that this prevents BP from “returning to normal and has very important and severe consequences, including an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke”.

Rayner says one “can do little about your parents or your age but you can choose to live a healthy life and lifestyle changes should be sufficient to correct a BP of 130-140/80-90”.

“This includes daily exercise, reducing salt intake, following a good diet high in fruit and veg, no excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining an ideal weight, managing stress and no smoking.”

Medipost pharmacist Ivan Mashabane says: “When hypertension is not brought under control, it places extra pressure on the cardiovascular system, potentially leading to heart attack, heart failure or stroke, and it can cause irreparable damage to other systems leading to conditions such as kidney failure, cognitive decline due to vascular dementia, and it may permanently impair a person’s vision.

“Fortunately, oral antihypertensive medication is available to help manage high blood pressure, although a healthy lifestyle and exercise are also necessary to protect your health and keep your blood pressure within the target range.”

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