6 million Australians have hypertension… this ‘silent condition’ affects emergency services

A health professional uses a stethoscope on a patient

Blood pressure tests are a routine part of GP visits. But this check-up shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Six million Australians have hypertension – an alarming figure that has tripled in the age range of 35 – 44 between 2017 and 2018.

What’s more concerning is the lack of symptoms in people with hypertension. 

A recent ABS study revealed 73.7% of all adults measured with high blood pressure didn’t report having hypertension.

While the risk of hypertension increases as you age, it affects all age groups.

Left unchecked, it can lead to a greater chance of experiencing heart attacks and strokes.

For shift workers, such as police officers, paramedics, nurses, doctors and firefighters, studies have shown an increase risk of cardiovascular and sleep disorders.

This is due to circadian rhythm disfunction and poor nutritional choices.

Emergency workers are exposed to traumatic events, which increase the likelihood of alcoholism, obesity, depression, and insomnia – all of which are linked to heart troubles.

High blood pressure? A high priority

Smoking, being overweight, a sedentary lifestyle and consuming a diet high in fat and salt (and low in produce and fibre) can increase the likelihood of hypertension.

The stress epidemic is also a major, yet silent, cause of high blood pressure.

While there is blood pressure medication available, the best shield against hypertension is maintaining a healthy lifestyle - body and mind.

There’s nothing that you haven’t heard before. Hypertension prevention requires healthy living, at its more basic level. 

Lose unnecessary weight, as every kilogram counts. Cut back on alcohol and avoid smoking.

Move more, to keep arteries flexible and reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system.

Stay calm and manage stress to reduce the release of hormones that spike blood pressure.

Meditation has a long history of reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

A balanced diet is another natural remedy to help your body regulate blood pressure.

Stay away from high amounts of sodium and saturated fat that constrict small blood vessels.

Enjoy foods rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium.

The DASH diet is specifically designed for people living with high blood pressure – helping sufferers drop the top number of blood pressure readings, between eight to 14 points.

Why emergency workers in their 40s need to take hypertension seriously

Heart Foundation statistics tell us the number of Australians with hypertension doubles in the 35-44 age bracket, compared to the decade before.

It jumps again, dramatically, between 45 – 54, and peaks at 75 years.

Early intervention in that first spike period, between age 35 – 44, is the key to prevention and management.

Organise regular check-ins with your GP, adopt these healthy lifestyle strategies, and isolate what you need extra, specialist help with.

Living with hypertension

We understand the demands of front line work more than any other insurer.

After all, we've been looking after the health and wellbeing of the police community for more than 85 years.

Whether you're already a member or interested in becoming one, call us to find out how to get the most out of our cover and benefits. We're here to help. 

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