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Blood pressure (hypertension) and HIV

how hiv is passed on

High blood pressure (or hypertension) can be caused by a range of lifestyle factors such as poor diet with too much salt, smoking or a lack of exercise. Taking protease inhibitors may increase the risk of high blood pressure.

Can HIV treatment cause hypertension?

Yes. Increased fats in your blood, which can contribute to high blood pressure, can be caused by antiretrovirals such as protease inhibitors. If you have high blood pressure you can talk to a clinician to find out whether your medication may be contributing, and which lifestyle changes may help to reduce it.

What causes high blood pressure?

High blood pressure (or hypertension) can be caused by a poor diet with too much salt and not enough fruit and vegetables. It can also be caused by being overweight, not exercising enough, smoking, or drinking too much alcohol. It sometimes runs in families. Lifestyle changes such as improving your diet, stopping smoking and exercising more can help to reduce your blood pressure.

What is high blood pressure?

A normal blood pressure reading is below 130/80mmHg.

If you have readings of 140/90mmHg or higher on more than one occasion, you have high blood pressure.

Your blood pressure needs to be high enough to move the blood around your body but not too high, otherwise your heart can become enlarged and your risk of heart attack or stroke increases. Your medical team will be able to monitor your blood pressure during your appointments.

What is a blood pressure test?

A blood pressure test measures the pressure of the blood as it is pumped through your arteries and around your body. According to the British Heart Foundation, your blood pressure is highest when your heart contracts and pumps blood. It is lowest when it relaxes while it fills with blood before pumping again

Your blood pressure will be expressed by two numbers, one on top of the other, such as 120/80mmHg.

The first number (known as systolic pressure) refers to your blood pressure when your heart beats, measured in millilitres of mercury.

The second number (known as diastolic pressure) is your blood pressure when your heart relaxes after beating.

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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 4/1/2018 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 4/1/2021

Content Author: Kerri Virani

Current Owner: Health promotion

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