In this Health Article:
- What Causes High Blood Pressure?
- What Are the Types of High Blood Pressure?
- What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
- What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for High Blood Pressure?
- What Are the Treatments Available for High Blood Pressure?
- How Do You Cope Up with High Blood Pressure?
- What Are the Ways to Prevent High Blood Pressure?
- Medications for High Blood Pressure Available at InternationalDrugMart.com
- Self Care – The Bottom Line to Lower Your Blood Pressure
IntroductionAre you one of the millions of people suffering from high blood pressure? Be well informed about the causes, types, symptoms, and treatment of high blood pressure in order to combat it. Well, after all, it’s your blood pressure and, yes, you have got to know what it’s all about and what all that numbers really mean. About one-third of folks do not know that they have high blood pressure. Go through the below article to get the insights of blood pressure—a silent killer, indeed!
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood applied against the walls of the arteries as your heart pumps blood around the body. Your blood pressure does not always remain constant. It continually changes according to your physical state, emotional state, diet, medication use, and even posture too. However, blood pressure can damage your body in a number of ways if it rises and stays high for a long time. Note that high blood pressure is a serious condition that can put you at risk of getting heart failure, stroke, coronary heart disease, kidney failure, and others.
High blood pressure is medically referred to as hypertension. Blood pressure is expressed as systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic blood pressure (first number) is the pressure of the blood when the heart contracts. Diastolic blood pressure (second number) is the pressure of the blood when the heart is at rest between the heartbeats. A reading of 120/80 mmHg or lower is considered to be normal blood pressure. If the systolic pressure exceeds 140 or if the diastolic pressure exceeds 90, blood pressure is considered to be high.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?In majority of the cases, the specific cause of high blood pressure is unknown and is referred to as primary or essential hypertension. High blood pressure in such cases is associated with age, race, genetic factors or environmental factors. On the other hand, cases in which the specific cause of high blood pressure can be found are termed as secondary hypertension. The common causes of secondary hypertension are chronic kidney disease, alcohol addiction, thyroid disease, pregnancy, sleep apnea, use of oral contraceptive pills and tumors of the pituitary or the adrenal glands.
What Are the Types of High Blood Pressure?Hypertension is classified broadly as either primary hypertension or secondary hypertension.
Primary hypertension: Primary or essential hypertension is the most common type of high blood pressure. In these cases underlying cause cannot be detected. However, risk factors associated with primary hypertension have been identified and they include the following:
- Age: With increase in age, the risk of developing high blood pressure increases.
- Family history: The risk is high in those who have a family history of high blood pressure.
- Obesity: Those who are obese are at risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Inactive Lifestyle: Lack of exercise can lead to high blood pressure.
Secondary hypertension: Fewer than 5% of those who have high blood pressure have secondary hypertension. In this type of hypertension, an underlying condition or a cause can be identified. It could be any of the following.
- Health-related conditions such as diabetes, kidney conditions, pregnancy, hormonal conditions, adrenal disease, and sleep disorders.
- Owing to the intake of certain medicines including oral contraceptive pills, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and so on.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol or addiction to drugs.
White coat hypertension: It is a temporary rise in blood pressure that occurs in some people when they have their blood pressure measured at doctor’s clinic. If measured at home, people with white coat hypertension may have normal blood pressure readings.
Pseudohypertension: In people with pseudohypertension, which usually occurs in elderly patients, the blood pressure reading gets falsely elevated, while the blood pressure is still normal. So, attempts to treat high blood pressure in these cases may lead to low blood pressure.
Malignant hypertension: It is a serious condition characterized by very high blood pressure that can quickly cause organ damage and thus can result in kidney damage, brain damage, retinal bleeding, and liver failure.
Pulmonary hypertension: It is a very dangerous type of high blood pressure that affects only a specific part of the circulatory system.
Resistant hypertension: In people with resistant hypertension, the blood pressure remains high and it is resistant to treatment.
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What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?High blood pressure is often termed as the “silent killer” because it can damage your organs without causing pain. A person may have high blood pressure and can still feel fine, as high blood pressure, usually, has no symptoms at all. Thus, in many cases, high blood pressure goes unnoticed for a long time. During this period, high blood pressure can affect the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and other parts of the body.
People with high blood pressure, most often, will come to know it only after the damage has caused complications. The symptoms associated with high blood pressure include headache, restlessness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and blurred vision. Rarely, high blood pressure may lead to brain swelling; this can cause drowsiness and coma. The only possibility to know if you have blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked.
What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for High Blood Pressure?High blood pressure, if left untreated or uncontrolled, can (over a period of time) damage many parts of the body. This increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. Hence, it is best to get your high blood pressure measured. At the doctor’s clinic, a medical instrument called sphygmomanometer is used to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure readings are taken on different occasions, even when you are relaxed. If the measurement is 140/90 or higher at two or more readings, it indicates high blood pressure.
When you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend some routine tests. The tests are as follows:
- Urine test to check for protein or blood presence in urine.
- Blood tests to check kidney function, cholesterol and sugar levels.
- Electrocardiogram to check the functioning of heart.
What Are the Treatments Available for High Blood Pressure?Treatment to reduce blood pressure is usually advised when your blood pressure levels remain high at 140/90. Your doctor is likely to ask you questions about your health history, diet, and exercise habits. The best treatment plan to manage and control high blood pressure involves both lifestyle modifications as well as taking medications. The treatment plan includes the following:
- Recommendations to follow a healthy diet
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Abstinence from cigarette smoking
- Follow a suitable exercise program
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Reduce sodium (salt) intake
- Take prescribed medications as directed.
How Do You Cope Up with High Blood Pressure?Across the world, 1 billion people have hypertension. In the US, 1 out of every 10 people has high blood pressure. People diagnosed with high blood pressure will need to treat and control it for life. Medicines alone will not help to keep high blood pressure under control. You will also need to make lifestyle changes as mentioned below to keep your blood pressure under control:
- Maintaining an ideal weight is important as blood pressure increases with weight gain.
- Exercise regularly. Consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen that is suitable for your age, weight and other health conditions, if any.
- Eat a healthy diet. You should be aware of the right foods to eat and those that you need to keep off from your diet. Avoid junk foods such as fried items, sweets, etc. Do not give yourself into unhealthy food cravings or temptations at any point of time. Remember, you are what you eat. Always discuss your dietary plan with your doctor. Curb late-night snacking and try to reduce your meal servings especially at night.
- Follow a low-sodium diet. Even a slight reduction in sodium intake can contribute to lowering your blood pressure by 2 to 8 mmHg. Keep in mind that the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking too much can raise your blood pressure levels if you have high blood pressure. Check the recommended quantity of alcohol with your health care provider.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine in tobacco products can further raise your blood pressure levels.
- Reduce caffeine intake. Try limiting your intake of caffeine to 200 milligrams per day.
- Reduce stress and anxiety levels. To lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress levels. Figure out what causes stress for you and work to eliminate it or learn to cope by using techniques such as meditation, deep-breathing exercises or yoga. If required, do not hesitate to seek professional help from a counselor.
- Learn to monitor your blood pressure at home. Record the readings and discuss with your health care provider.
- Be part of a support system. Talking to people with similar health conditions can help you to cope with the situation.
What Are the Ways to Prevent High Blood Pressure?High blood pressure can have a serious impact on a person’s physical as well as mental well-being. But there’s good news! You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure, which include the following:
- Eat a nutritious, low-fat diet
- Adhere to an exercise program
- Reduce salt intake
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Do not smoke
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Reduce stress
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques regularly.
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Self Care – The Bottom Line to Lower Your Blood PressureSelf care plays a pivotal role in lowering high blood pressure. Below are some easy ways to take a good care of yourself!
- Your overall health is very important. Eat right foods, sleep well, relax and avoid stress.
- Be aware of changes in your body. Discuss even slight discomfort with your doctor.
- Restrict salt intake.
- Never get tempted to eat foods that you are not supposed to.
- Learn to self-monitor blood pressure.
- Lead a disciplined lifestyle.
- Get good sleep.
- Don’t involve in work that causes heavy physical or mental strain.
- Exercise regularly.
- Join humor club.
- Be active.
- Don’t ever skip medications.
- Be regular with doctor appointments.
- Maintain ideal weight.