Matters of The Heart: Cardiovascular Diseases
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How is hypertension diagnosed?

Diagnosing and managing hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a critical aspect of preventive healthcare in Singapore. With proper diagnosis and effective management, individuals can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and improve their overall health.

Here is an overview of the diagnosis and management of hypertension in Singapore:

The diagnosis of hypertension is based on accurate blood pressure measurements taken on multiple occasions. In Singapore, healthcare professionals follow the guidelines established by the Ministry of Health and the Singapore Hypertension Society.

The diagnostic criteria are as follows:

  • Normal blood pressure: Below 120/80 mmHg.

  • Elevated blood pressure: Systolic blood pressure between 120-129 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure below 80 mmHg.

  • Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic blood pressure between 130-139 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure between 80-89 mmHg.

  • Hypertension Stage 2: Systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or higher or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher.

How is hypertension managed in Singapore?

The management of hypertension in Singapore aims to achieve blood pressure control and reduce the risk of associated complications. The management strategies include:

Lifestyle Modifications. Encouraging individuals to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, such as:

  • Following a balanced diet low in sodium and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

  • Engaging in regular physical activity, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight through portion control and calorie moderation.

  • Limiting alcohol consumption to recommended levels.

  • Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke.

Medication. Depending on the severity and individual circumstances, healthcare professionals may prescribe antihypertensive medications to achieve blood pressure control.

Commonly used medications in Singapore include diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers. Medication selection is tailored to each individual’s needs and may involve a combination of different drugs.

Regular Monitoring. Individuals with hypertension are advised to monitor their blood pressure regularly. This can be done at home using home blood pressure monitors or through regular check-ups with healthcare professionals. Regular monitoring helps track blood pressure levels and evaluate the effectiveness of lifestyle modifications and medication.

Comprehensive Cardiovascular Risk Assessment. In addition to blood pressure management, healthcare professionals in Singapore conduct comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessments for individuals with hypertension. This includes assessing other risk factors, such as cholesterol levels, diabetes status, and family history, to determine the overall risk of developing CVDs. This assessment guides further preventive strategies and interventions.

Collaborative Care. Managing hypertension in Singapore involves a collaborative approach between healthcare professionals and individuals. Primary care physicians, cardiologists, and allied healthcare professionals work together to provide comprehensive care. Regular follow-up appointments, health education, and counseling sessions are conducted to support individuals in achieving and maintaining blood pressure control.

Public Health Initiatives. The Singapore government and various organizations undertake public health initiatives to raise awareness about hypertension and promote healthy lifestyles. These initiatives include health campaigns, educational programs, and policies to encourage regular health screenings, increase awareness about hypertension, and support individuals in adopting healthy behaviors.

By emphasizing early diagnosis, lifestyle modifications, appropriate medication, regular monitoring, and collaborative care, hypertension management in Singapore aims to reduce the burden of CVDs and improve the overall cardiovascular health of the population. Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals and adhering to the recommended management strategies are essential for optimal control of hypertension.