High blood pressure is called hypertension. When blood pressure is high, blood hits the walls of the arteries (channels that carry blood) and can damage them. This damage makes it easier for cholesterol to block the arteries. When arteries are blocked, less blood can get through to the body's organs. This can cause damage to organs like the kidneys, brain, and heart.
During the day, blood pressure goes up and down. Temporary high blood pressure is normal if you are angry, excited or exercising.
Some people with hypertension monitor their blood pressure with a machine at home.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
High blood pressure usually causes no symptoms.
When it is very high, it can cause headaches, vision problems, nausea, and vomiting. This is a medical emergency. If you have these symptoms and high blood pressure, go to the health center or call the emergency number.
Healthy choices to prevent and treat high blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid salt and salty foods. Eat a variety of country foods or healthy store-bought foods. You can use the Nunavut Food Guide to help you make healthy eating choices.
- Be active every day or most days
- Reducing or quitting smoking. For help, talk to a health care provider, visit nuquits.ca, or call the Nunavut Quitline at 1-866-368-7848.
- Following the Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines for alcohol
- Visit the health centre for scheduled checkups and get the tests recommended by your health care provider. They may also recommend medicines you can take.
High Blood Pressure (Nutrition Handout)