What is hypertension?
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a chronic non-communicable disease that corresponds to the main isolated risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is associated with the highest death burden in Chile (MINSAL). Globally, about 1.13 billion people present this pathology (WHO, 2020), which is equivalent to almost 15% of the population. According to The Global Burden of Disease study, suboptimal blood pressure is the isolated risk factor with the highest contribution to the death rate, causing 9.4 million deaths each year. The prevalence of HT in our country is 27.3% (ENS 2016/2017).
This condition is defined as the persistent record of high blood pressure, which is equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg , considered to be severe over 180/120. Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries and is determined both by the amount (volume) of blood that the heart pumps through the body, and by the resistance and elasticity of the walls of the arteries.
In other words, the more blood the heart pumps, the narrower the arteries and the stiffer its walls, the greater the blood pressure. The volume of blood and its viscosity are determined by the intake of sodium and water through the diet, so the more viscous and abundant the blood, the heart has to make more effort to pump in every beat.