What is Hypertension / High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure also known as hypertension is a medical condition that affects the heart, brain, kidney, and other parts of the body. A patient suffering from hypertension has an increased blood pressure running through his or her arteries, which are the major blood vessels in the body.
The amount of blood your heart pumps, as well as the resistance to blood flow in your arteries, affect your blood pressure. Your blood pressure will rise when your heart pumps more blood and your arteries become thinner. Blood pressure is represented by 2 parameters, systolic and diastolic. When the heart contracts or beats, the systolic shows the pressure in blood vessels. The diastolic indicates the pressure in the arteries while the heart is at rest and between beats. When readings are taken and the value for the systolic blood pressure is above 120 mmHg and for the diastolic is above 80 mmHg, the patient is said to be suffering from hypertension. On a portable blood pressure monitor, the systolic value is displayed on the top and the diastolic is displayed below.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension is being labeled as a silent killer. The reason is that even after measuring the blood pressure with high readings, a patient will still not show any symptoms. Hypertension is a major cause of premature death in the world.
But symptoms can include; irregular heartbeats, early morning headaches, change in vision, fatigue, anxiety, chest pain, and vomiting. These symptoms aren’t specific to hypertension alone. Also, you might experience these symptoms when the condition has reached a severe stage.
Most have a portable device at home that can read their blood pressure level. But seeing a doctor as appointed is always a good thing, as they can assess the current condition level and discuss further complications and closely related conditions.
Hypertension if uncontrolled can lead to much pressure on the artery walls, damaging blood vessels as well as the organs. Complications that can arise include:
· Heart attack
· Heart failure
· Memory trouble
Hypertension Risk Factors
Race: Africans are more prone to the condition. An average African might develop the condition at a younger age than the whites.
Family history: Hypertension can be passed down from members to other members of the family.
Age: As you grow older, the chances of high blood pressure increase. Men are prone to suffer from the condition earlier than women.
Obesity: An overweight person needs more blood circulation to carry oxygen and nutrients around the body and to the respective tissues. The blood pressure increases as more blood is forced to flow around.
Tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco can destroy the lining of the artery’s walls. The arteries shrink as a result and increase the chances. The chemicals in tobacco are responsible.
Alcohol: Excessive intake of alcohol can affect the heart negatively. This in turn affects the blood pressure.
Potassium deficiency: Everything in the body is all about balance. Potassium balances the amount of sodium in the body. Losing much potassium due to the absence of taking foods rich in it or dehydration can increase the build-up of sodium in the body.
An overabundance of sodium: Sodium that is richly found in salt can cause high blood pressure.
Management and Treatment of Hypertension
Hypertension is a chronic disease. Self-management plays an important role in getting better treatment. Self-management comes in the form of lifestyle changes and choices, such as:
Regular exercise: It is advised you engage in physical exercise a minimum of 5 days per week and should last for a minimum of 140 minutes. Activities such as jogging, walking, and cycling are advised. It can be a combination of more than one.
Reducing stress: Managing and reducing stress is important as it deals with overthinking. Meditation, yoga, and going on long walks can aid in clearing the head and stress reduction
Dieting: Reduce salt intake and maintain a balanced intake of fruits, vegetables, and balanced prepared meals. Refrain from eating food containing saturated fats. Grainy food, food rich in fiber, fish, and low dairy products are advised to be consumed. Speaking with a dietician can help in formulating the best food for you.
Body weight management: A body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above indicates you are overweight, and you need to cut it down. A health weight status ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. Exercising and proper calorie consumption can aid in body weight management.
Alcohol and tobacco intake: Alcohol should be in moderation. In most cases, it is advised you stop consuming alcohol. There is no moderation for smoking or chewing tobacco. The act should be stopped as soon as possible.
Medications can also be used to manage and treat hypertension. Choice of medication varies on the affected person and any possible chance of underlying medical conditions.
It is advisable that the blood pressure is checked periodically. The symptoms are not always visible till it becomes a life-threatening condition. You can consult with our doctor for more on the condition and management and treatment of the condition.
The information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by Surjen.com