Skip to Content
Vitality Logo

Hypertension: What is it and how is it treated?

Published: 06/04/2022 

During Stress Awareness Month, Insights Hub hears from a clinical expert about the causes of high blood pressure, how it can be prevented and the changing role of health insurance.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, occurs when pressure in our blood vessels gets so intense it puts extra strain on our vessels, heart and organs. If it goes untreated it can lead to life-threatening illness such as cardiovascular disease which can cause heart attacks or strokes.

Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, according to the NHS1. Concerningly, the majority of clients with it will not know they have it. However, there are a number of warning signs they can watch out for.

What are the signs of high blood pressure?

According to Vitality’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Anushka Patchava, the symptoms of hypertension can vary. “One might suffer from blurriness or double vision, chest pains or become out of breath; or might feel light-headed or faint,” she says. “You might also have fatigue and/or feel like you cannot do the things you are normally able to do.”

Clients who consistently suffer from these symptoms should see a GP in order to get blood pressure tested and monitored by assessing systolic and diastolic readings, she adds.

How can it be prevented?

The good news, however, is that there are things that can be done to reduce high blood pressure. Understanding what’s behind it is crucial to alleviating it. With stress serving as a common cause, removing things that contribute to it, both at work and at home, can improve hypertension. “Sleep can also help,” adds Dr Patchava. “As can increasing levels of physical activity.”

Causes of high blood pressure also might include a high diet in salt, fat and cholesterol. “Looking after what you eat and when you eat can really help reduce hypertension overall.” Sometimes it’s connected to existing medical conditions. “For example, we know that kidney issues and hormone problems can increase blood pressure, as can diabetes and high cholesterol.”

Ultimately, clients should be advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure which, if ignored, can lead to serious, potentially fatal outcomes later down the line.

What role can health insurance play?

Health insurance can help clients who may be suffering from hypertension in various ways, Dr Patchava explains. “Firstly, our members have access to annual health screenings which will help diagnose potential causes such as high cholesterol. There’s also access to virtual and face-to-face GPs.”

Once diagnosed, your clients can receive blood pressure monitoring. “In addition, Vitality offers digital self-care health tools involving partners which allow members to receive remote ECG devices that connect to smart phones at a discounted price.”

Finally, the Vitality Programme incentivises clients to engage in healthy behaviour, such as physical activity and mindfulness, by rewarding them and offering cashback on healthy food. “All of which have been proven to play a preventative role when it comes to maintaining the right blood pressure levels,” Dr Patchava concludes.

Want to hear about what causes heart disease and how it can be prevented? Read more.

Find out how Vitality can support the healthcare needs of your clients with private medical insurance.
Find out more about how indexation works and why it is a good idea for your clients, especially at this time.

Where to next?

  • Five digital healthcare trends to watch our for

    Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Vitality, Dr Anushka Patchava, talks us through the main areas of innovation within digital health technology spurred on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Why 'Next Best Action' is the future of prevention

    ‘Next Best Action’ uses behavioural science to encourage clients to quit smoking, become a healthier weight or get active in a way that will add healthier years to their lifespan.

  •                Insights Hub                

    Our Insights Hub brings you our range of adviser content - from video series to articles & blogs.