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hypertension is serious

Hypertension Management


ZuziMpilo Clinic is a Primary Health Care facility in central Johannesburg, conveniently situated to be accessible to patients using various modes of transport. The clinic has an experienced team of doctors and nurses to help you manage various conditions including hypertension.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension or High blood pressure is a chronic medical condition in which the pressure in the blood that circulates through the arteries (blood vessels) is increased – making it difficult for the heart to pump against.

If you have hypertension your heart works harder to pump blood to distant tissues and organs.  And if it’s not controlled your heart enlarges and your arteries become scarred, hardened and less flexible.

A lot of adults in South Africa have hypertension – it is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 South Africans suffer from Hypertension.

Risk Factors for Hypertension

  • Advanced Age
  • Overweight
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol use
  • Family History
  • High Salt Diet
  • Stress

Adverse Health effects

It is often called the “silent disease” as it has no obvious symptoms and can go undetected for years whilst damaging your tissues and vital organs.

An elevated pressure in the blood vessels will damage the walls of the arteries, veins and heart. This damage could eventually lead to heart failure, heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

Check your blood pressureDiagnosis

High blood pressure is often called a "silent disease" because you usually don't know you have it as there are no outward symptoms or signs.

The presence of certain symptoms may unfortunately mean your Hypertension has been developing over a long period of time.

  • Palpitations
  • Nose bleeds
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Dizziness
  • Blurring vision

It’s important to note these symptoms may occur with various other conditions and illnesses.

Causes of hypertension

High blood pressure is caused by a variety of factors which include genetic background (it often runs in the family) with no other cause identified.  However, having hypertension is also linked to the way we live.

  • Lack of exercise and including not walking or moving enough while at home or at work which makes us overweight.
  • Little exercise combined with wating a lot of takeaways or comfort food which contain too many calories, sugar and bad fat.
  • Eating a lot of processed food which contain too much salt.
  • Living a stressful lifestyle which most can’t avoid in the urban society environment.
  • Older peope have a greater chance of having hypertension
  • Overweight

So in a nutshell Hypertension is caused by

  • Genetic factors
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Aging

It’s also important to note that the genetic and age factors on blood pressure are largely escalated by unhealthy lifestyle factors.


Non-drug treatment involves a change of one’s lifestyle which means OUT with the couch potato tendencies and IN with a more active you.

  • Control your weight with the right diet and exercise plan.
  • Decrease your total salt (Sodium) intake, it’s advised you do this in consultation with your health practitioner.
  • Limit your alcohol intake or at least have a glass of water in between your alcoholic drinks.
  • Avoid intake of beverages with high caffeine levels but worry not, you don’t have to give up coffee all together. A modest use of 1-2 cups a day will not increase your high blood pressure.
  • Stop the use of all tobacco products, yes even snuff!

Drug treatment

If your blood pressure is dangerously high, your doctor will most likely recommend that you take some antihypertensive pills along with changing your lifestyle.

  • All the tablets used to treat your high blood pressure do so by relaxing the muscles in the wall of your arteries.
  • This will increase the diameter of the arteries.
  • In some instances you may be told that you are receiving “water tablets” also known as Diuretics.
  • These tables make you urinate a little bit more than normal hence you will reduce the amount of blood in an artery.
  • “Water tablets” will also increase the diameter of an artery hence lower the blood pressure in this way.

Monitoring and control

It’s recommended that all adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year.

Once you have been told you have high blood pressure, you should have regular checks as recommended by your doctor.

It’s important to note that hypertension is a chronic disease which means treatment is for life, adherence and regular checks are important.

People with hypertension should also be checked for the complications of raised blood pressure

  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Eyes
  • Sensation


Sources: South African Hypertension Society, Health-e News Service, Health24

Annual Health ChecksDiabetes Management | Cholesterol Screening | Adult Immunisation | Child Vaccine Programme | Family Planning | Pap SmearsVoluntary HIV Testing | CD4 TestingWellness ProgrammeARV ProgrammePrevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission | Post-exposure Prophylaxis | TB Screening | Pharmacy


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How this lady’s life has improved

10 ways to be successful on ARVs

Download this article here

Antiretroviral therapy typically combines three or more antiretroviral drugs that work together to keep the HI Virus from multiplying. Although antiretroviral drugs improve health and delay death, they do not cure HIV/AIDS.


  1. Commit to drug taking: ART is lifelong treatment which needs to be taken correctly for it to be effective.
  2. Get to know your treatment: Ensure that you know and understand what medication you are on and how to take it.
  3. Choose a pill time: Get help from your healthcare provider to work out a medication schedule that will fit into your daily activities.
  4. Remember your medication: Make use of an alarm clock or cellphone to remind you when to take your medication.
  5. Get a pillbox: Keep a supply of your drugs with you wherever you go, so that you do not miss your pill time (it also helps to have a bottle of water with you).
  6. Get a treatment buddy: It helps to disclose to someone close to you, preferably someone who lives with you, who will be able to offer you support and to remind you to take your treatment.
  7. Missed doses: If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose then you should wait and take the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  8. Stopping treatment: Do not stop treatment on your own, unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
  9. Be aware of side effects: Ensure that your health care provider has explained to you any possible side effects that you may experience. If you do experience any report them to your Health care provider as soon as possible.
  10. Monitoring and evaluation: Be sure to keep all scheduled appointments with your healthcare provider, especially in the first few months of taking treatment, so that the effect of the treatment can be monitored.



Name: Sarah
Age: 34 years

This patient found out that she was HIV positive when she was 4 months pregnant. She struggled to tell her mom and her partner who also found out he was HIV positive. She gave birth to an HIV negative son. Her family supports her to take her ARVS every evening when Generations begin and she hasn’t looked back. In fact she often forgets she is HIV positive!

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Name: Disebo

Age: 39 years

This ZuziMpilo Medical Centre patient thought she would die within three days of her AIDS diagnosis which she discovered after the birth of her son. Rather than tell her family the truth, she told her mom she had Cancer, but when she finally admitted to having AIDS, she was almost forced to leave home. Thankfully she began on ARVs. She says: “Seven year later I am still doing well on treatment and living a healthy life thanks to the drugs. Antiretroviral medication really works!”

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