What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) ?
Hypertension is commonly called high blood pressure. It is a common disease in which the blood fluid hits the walls of the arteries at a higher pressure than what it does usually. However, unrestrained high blood pressure can cause several damages and heart problems.
Stages of Hypertension
|Prehypertension||Between 120 to 139|
|Stage One of Hypertension||Between 140 to 159|
|Stage Two of Hypertension||Between 160 to 179|
|Hypertension Crisis||More Than 180|
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Most people with high blood pressure barely show any symptoms even if the level has reached to extremity. Some common symptoms of High Blood Pressure are:
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Listed below are the common causes of high blood pressure:
- Genetics: The genetic tendency to high blood pressure is one of the major causes. High blood pressure may be acquired through parents’ genes as well. This is why children are often seen to have high blood pressure.
- Salt intake: Excess of salt in your diet increases the possibilityof high blood pressure. It majorly targets your arteries, heart and brain and kidney function. This often results in the slowing of kidney functions and pressurizing artery walls.
- Lack of exercise: People suffering from obesity are usually targeted by blood pressure. Lack of exercise and being overweight promotes hardening of artery walls which pressurizes the blood flow.
- Stress: Both stress and anxiety can cause high blood pressure, as they release a hormone, which decreases the diameter of the blood vessel and increases the heart rate.
- Smoking and drinking: Studies have shown that more than 1 liter of alcohol in a day can boost up the blood pressure levels. Also, the nicotine present in cigarettes hardens the artery walls and clots your blood.
- Hormonal imbalance: Thyroid and adrenal disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, pheochromocytoma and acromegaly cause hypertension.
- Sleep apnea: Disruptive sleep apnea causes high blood pressure and also increases the chances of heart diseases and stroke. It is even related to obesity which is another cause of high blood pressure.
- Other causes: Sometimes, pregnancy also boosts the blood pressure level. Moreover, certain chronic conditions like kidney disorders and diabetes have been recorded to increase your blood pressure.
Higher and uncontrolled blood pressure can damage certain organs and nerves. Following are the complications of high blood pressure:
- An Aneurysm: Increase in the blood pressure can stretch the blood vessels resulting in an aneurysm. If the condition becomes severe, it can be life threatening.
- Weakened blood vessels: Weakened blood vessel is another hazardous condition that can damage eye nerves and cause blurred vision. Similarly, narrowing and weakening of kidney blood vessels can promote kidney failures and other disorders.
- Memory disorders: The ability of learning, understanding and concentrating is diminished due to hypertension. It is one of the most common disorders seen among high blood pressure patients.
- Metabolic syndrome: Metabolic syndrome contributes towards increasing of your waist size and disturbing your metabolism. It also leads to diabetes and several heart disorders.
- Atherosclerosis: High blood pressure can cause hardening and narrowing of arteries which causes atherosclerosis and angina pectoris. Furthermore, this increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
- Sexual dysfunction: Men suffering from high blood pressure can go through erectile dysfunction leading to less supply of blood to the penis. Also, women can experience a limited flow of blood to the vagina causing problems to achieve orgasm.
- Bone loss: Increase in the blood pressure stimulates calcium content in urine which reduces your bone mass.
- Sleep problems: High blood pressure causes shallow breaths during night leading to sleep apnea.
How is Hypertension Diagnosed?
- Sphygmomanometer: It is the most common device used to measure blood pressure. It is grouped with pump, dial, stethoscope, arm cuff and valve. Blood pressure monitor also acts like a stethoscope which can be used at home to diagnose HBP.
- Electrocardiogram: Also known as ECG or EKG, it helps in detecting abnormal heart beats and rhythms. Therefore, ECG keeps an eye on the blood flow which helps in knowing HBP.
- Echocardiogram: Echocardiogram provides detailed structure and function of your heart. In addition, the device also informs about the rate of blood flow and heart rate.
- Other methods: Doctors even diagnose high blood pressure by performing certain physical tests which include counting of your heart beats in different positions.
Treatments for High Blood Pressure
- Stop drinking: Alcohol and drug abuse majorly contributes to hypertension. Decreasing alcohol intake can support a healthy heart.
- Smoking: Specifically, cigarettes have shown an immediate and temporary increase in the blood pressure levels. On the contrary, regular smokers have lower blood pressure than non-smokers.
- Caffeine: Limited amount of caffeine also controls your blood pressure levels. However, an excess can increase the threat of HBP.
- Salt: People having HBP are always recommended to cut salt from their diet. Sodium present in the salt slows down the blood rate.
- Add potassium: Add an abundant amount of potassium in your diet can help in lowering your blood pressure level. Sources like banana, melons, zucchini, garlic and flaxseed help in lowering blood pressure.
- Weightloss: As obesity and over-weight majorly contributes to HBP, it is necessary to go on a weight loss program which reduces the problems of ‘the silent disease’.
- Stress management: Managing your stress and keeping calm can help in lowering your blood pressure levels. This can be done by participating in extra-curricular and social activities. Exercising or doing some yoga can be an excellent alternative to remaining stress-free.
- Medications: There are certain medicines that doctors prescribe for lowering high blood pressure. However, before consuming any of these, it is recommended to consult a doctor. Some common drugs are lisinopril oral, atenolol oral, Diovan oral and Toprol XL.