Hypertension

Hypertension is one of the most common illnesses that affect a large number of people. Nearly 77 million people in the United States fell prey to high blood pressure according to the estimations of the American Heart Association. Blood is pumped throughout the body by the heart via arteries. In hypertension, the blood pressure in these arteries remains constantly at an elevated level, which is why this condition is also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension can lead to stroke and heart disease. Even though symptoms of hypertension don’t show up for years, it can be diagnosed by assessing the damaged sustained by the heart.

Facts on Hypertension

What Is Blood Pressure?

The pressure with which the blood is flowing through your vessels, particularly arteries, is referred to as blood pressure. The unit in which blood pressure is measured is mm of Hg (millimeters of Mercury). There are two numbers included in a blood pressure reading e.g. 120/80 mm Hg. The first number represents the pressure of blood in the arteries during the contraction cycle of the heart and is known as systolic pressure while the other represents the pressure of blood during the resting period of the heart between each contraction and is known as diastolic.

What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?

If your blood pressure is consistently at or higher than 140/90 mm Hg then it is considered as high blood pressure. However, you would be considered hypertensive if your systolic or diastolic pressures are elevated. There are a number of factors which determine whether a person’s blood pressure is high enough for him to receive medication for it. Patients having diabetes, a cardiovascular condition or being susceptible to heart and kidney disease have to be given immediate treatment if their blood pressure rises to 140/90 mm Hg. However, in some cases it is best to start treatment if the blood pressure reaches 130/80 mm Hg.

Symptoms & Complications of Hypertension

Symptoms

Most people suffering from hypertension don’t even know about it until they go for a checkup. Confusion or fatigue, severe headaches, chest pain, vision problems, having difficulty in breathing, blood in urine, irregular heartbeat and pounding in the ears are some of the symptoms that might indicate that you have high blood pressure.

Complications

Complications

Description

Cardiovascular disease

Hardening of arteries might occur due to high blood pressure which can cause stroke and heart attack. Elevated blood pressure levels can give rise to aneurysms which can be proved as life threatening if they rupture. There is a chance of heart failure too, as the heart muscle becomes unable to pump blood against the high pressure of blood.

Kidney disease

The blood vessels in your kidneys might become narrow and weak and hamper their function.

Eye disease

The blood vessels in your eyes might get torn, thickened or narrow, resulting in eye issues like vision loss.

Metabolic syndrome

You may get metabolic syndrome which is a combination of a number of metabolic disorders including high insulin level and low HDL cholesterol.

Memory deterioration

Your memory can deteriorate and you might have difficulty in thinking, remembering and learning things.

When to See a Doctor

Blood pressure is usually checked whenever you visit a doctor.

It is best to start having your blood pressure checked the day you turn 18. If you have been found to be at risk of developing high blood pressure then your doctor might check your blood pressure more often. The reading of blood pressure must be taken from both arms to rule out any differences in readings.

You can have your blood pressure measured at health fairs or from blood pressure machines in malls as well. However, the results of BP machines are not accurate all the time.

Causes & Risk Factors of Hypertension

Causes

  • Primary (essential) hypertension

In most cases, the exact cause of primary or essential hypertension is not known. It is said to develop slowly over many years.

  • Secondary hypertension

When hypertension is being caused by an underlying condition, it is termed as secondary hypertension: Adrenal gland tumors, kidney and thyroid issues, congenital blood vessel defects, obstructive sleep apnea, alcohol abuse, use of cocaine, amphetamines and certain other medications. This type of high blood pressure develops suddenly and is more dangerous than primary hypertension.

Risk Factors

Here are some risk factors of hypertension:

Type

Description

Age

Children and adults are both at risk of developing high blood pressure. Kidney or heart issues are the prime reasons for hypertension in kids but obesity, lack of physical activities and having an unhealthy diet are other reasons that can lead to hypertension as well.

Heredity

People with family history of high blood pressure are more at risk of developing this condition.

Race

Black people are most likely to have high blood pressure than white people.

Weight

Obese and over-weight people generally have high blood pressure as their heart has to pump more blood to their cells to provide them oxygen and other necessary nutrients.

Lack of exercise

Heart rates of people that don’t exercise are usually quite high which causes their hearts to work extra hard and results in high blood pressure.

Unhealthy diet

A diet containing too much sodium or too low potassium and Vitamin D can cause high blood pressure.

Unhealthy life styles

Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis or smoking cigarettes can also lead to high blood pressure as well.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women are more at risk of having high blood pressure.

Stress

Taking too much stress can increase your blood pressure for a temporary period of time too.

Treatments for Hypertension

Medical Treatments

Age

Medication

Description

Under 55 years old

ACE

Angiotensin-converting Enzyme (ACE) does the job of relaxing the blood vessels to lower blood pressure levels but can cause dry cough.

ARB

Angiotensin-2 Receptor Antagonist (ARB) also relaxes the blood vessels for reducing blood pressure.

Over 55 years old

Calcium channel blockers

Calcium channel blockers reduce blood pressure by expanding the arteries. They do this by not letting calcium to enter the muscle cells of both blood vessels and the heart.

Diuretics

Diuretics lower blood pressure by flushing out surplus salt and water from the body in the shape of urine.

Self-Care at Home

  • Decrease salt intake. Avoid eating too much salt and try to keep its daily intake down to less than 6 g.
  • Do more exercise. Start on a regular exercise.
  • Control weight. Try to reduce your weight.
  • Avoid smoking. Cut down on your cigarette smoking or better still, quit it altogether.
  • Maintain balanced diet. Start eating a balanced, healthy diet that is low in fat.
  • Reduce alcohol & caffeine drinks. Avoid consuming too much caffeine drinks and alcohol.

Watch the video to get more information on hypertension:

 

 
 
Current time: 04/29/2017 01:29:42 am (America/New_York) Memory usage: 3917.13KB