How to Prevent Hypertension at Work
What is hypertension?
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood on the wall of blood vessels and it varies with each heartbeat. When the heart contracts, blood flow in the blood vessels increases. The maximum force thus acting on the vessel walls is known as “systolic blood pressure”. When the heart relaxes, blood flow in the blood vessels decreases and the pressure also reduces. The pressure recorded during relaxation of the heart is called “diastolic blood pressure”.
NB: Hypertension is a common chronic disease. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is defined as blood pressure persistently equal to or higher than 140 (systolic) / 90 (diastolic) mmHg at rest.
Hypertension can be classified into two types:
- Primary hypertension: About 90% of patients with hypertension belong to this category. It has no definite cause and is associated with aging, hereditary, eating habit, smoking, alcoholism, stress, fatigue, lack of exercise and obesity.
- Secondary hypertension: It accounts for about 10% of patients with hypertension and is secondary to other diseases such as chronic renal disease, thyroid disease, coarctation of the aorta, etc. Blood pressure will usually return to normal when the underlying causes are treated.
Symptoms and signs:
Mild hypertension is usually asymptomatic and most of the patients are found to have hypertension during a periodic medical checkup. However, extremely high blood pressure may cause symptoms like a headache, dizziness, easy fatigue, etc.
- If the blood pressure is mildly elevated without any specific cause, it can be effectively controlled by adopting a healthy eating habit and lifestyle as well as doing exercises regularly.
- If the blood pressure is persistently high, apart from adopting the aforementioned non-pharmacological treatments, the patients may need to take anti-hypertensive drugs. The choice of the appropriate anti-hypertensive drugs depends on a lot of factors such as the severity of the disease, the impact of the disease on daily activities, other concomitant diseases of the patients, etc. Therefore, you should seek your doctor‘s advice and take the medications according to the prescription with the right dose and at the right time.
Common anti-hypertensive drugs include:
- 1. Diuretics: It enhances urine excretion and thus lowers the blood pressure.
- ß- blockers: It inhibits the sympathetic nervous system, thus slowing down the heart rate and reducing the blood pressure
- Acetylcholinesterase (ACE) inhibitors It inhibits the functions of the ACE enzyme and thus lowers the blood pressure
- Calcium channel blockers
- It lowers the blood pressure by inhibiting the influx of calcium ions into the cells.
How work affects Hypertension
Patients with hypertension should pay particular attention to certain work situations or requirements that may affect the stability of their blood pressure, for example:
- Cold work environment: Working in a cold environment may induce constriction of blood vessels causing the blood pressure to rise
- Work stress: It can result in tension causing a rise in blood pressure.
- Physical demand: Metabolism will rise when the workload is heavy and work is physically demanding, leading to a rise in blood pressure.
- Hot and humid work environment: Manual works may result in excessive sweating and dilation of blood vessels that may cause postural hypotension.
How Hypertension affects work
- In general, there is minimal impact on work when hypertension is well under control.
- However, some patients may have side effects such as dizziness and fatigue or disturbance of their mood and work, especially during the initial stage of treatment. Before these patients engage in work which is inherently hazardous or where the safety of others can be affected such as working at height, underground work, work on water or underwater, machine operation and driving, they should seek medical advice to avoid the occurrence of accidents.
- Have a balanced diet with food that is low in sugar, salt and fat, and high in fibers
- Exercise regularly
- Have a regular living habit
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Take adequate rest
- Have regular follow-up consultations to monitor the blood pressure level
- Avoid alcoholism
- Quit smoking
Patients with Hypertension should;
- Adopt the aforementioned measures so as to prevent a deterioration in the disease
- Understand your own illness such as monitoring the blood pressure regularly and pay attention to any symptoms of complications
- Know the therapeutic actions, side-effects, and details of dosage instructions of the medications
- Follow the treatment advice given by medical personnel and observe the schedule for taking the medications every day.
- Arrange regular follow-up consultations