Hypertension: All you need to know
According to the World Health Organization, “Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure”.
The vessels have the duty of transporting blood from the heart to all the regions of the body, and each time the human heart beats, it pumps blood into the vessels. So, when the pressure increases, it is known as hypertension and comes in various stages.
Stages of Hypertension
Regular: systolic and diastolic pressures are less than 120 mm (about 4.72 in) Hg and 80 mm (about 3.15 in) Hg, respectively.
Elevated: Systolic pressure is 120-129 mm (about 5.08 in) Hg, and diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm (about 3.15 in) Hg.
Stage 1 (Mid Stage): 130 – 139 mm (about 5.47 in) Hg systolic blood pressure or 80 – 89 mm (about 3.5 in) Hg diastolic blood pressure
Stage 2 (Severe Stage): Systolic blood pressure of at least 140 mm (about 5.51 in) Hg or diastolic blood pressure of at least 90 mm (about 3.54 in) Hg
If you have heart disease or a family history of heart disease or other risk factors like diabetes, treatment is advised at this stage.
Risk Factors of Hypertension
Hypertension is more common in adults over the age of 65. Blood pressure can rise steadily when the arteries harden and constrict, owing to plaque formation.
Hypertension is more common in some ethnic groups than in others. African Americans, for example, have been known to be at a higher risk than other ethnic groups.
This makes for a significant risk factor for developing hypertension.
Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Blood pressure can be raised by drinking excessive alcohol or smoking regularly.
Pre-existing chronic conditions
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic renal disease, and excessive cholesterol levels cause hypertension, especially as people get older.
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Because a person with hypertension may not detect any symptoms, it is often referred to as a “silent killer.” Hypertension, if left untreated, can harm the heart, blood vessels, and other organs, including the kidneys. Blood pressure should be checked regularly.
High blood pressure can lead to the following complications in uncommon and severe cases:
- Sleeping disorder
On the other hand, most people with hypertension have no symptoms, mainly in the initial stages. Symptoms are most likely to appear if it gets to Stage 3 and when high blood pressure becomes hypertensive, headaches and nosebleeds might occur.
Signs to look out for
A sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure monitor, can aid in blood pressure monitoring and blood pressure monitoring may not always necessitate a visit to the doctor.
High blood pressure for a brief period is a common reaction to various events such as acute stress or strenuous activity, these can temporarily raise blood pressure in a healthy person.
As a result, a diagnosis of hypertension necessitates repeated readings demonstrating persistently elevated blood pressure over time.
Treatment and management of Hypertension
Lifestyle adjustments are usually the first line of treatment for hypertension. However, here are some recommendations:
Consistent physical activity
Current guidelines urge everyone, including those with hypertension, to exercise for at least 150 minutes (about two and a half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
Most individuals will benefit from strength training at least twice a week and 150 minutes (about two and a half hours) of exercise. Every week, people should exercise for at least five days.
Walking is an example of appropriate activity, others are:
- Reduction of stress
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The following are some stress-relieving techniques:
- Warm baths for meditation
- Long walks while doing yoga
Avoid consuming alcohol and recreational drugs, as they might lead to high blood pressure and hypertension consequences.
Additionally, smoking can raise blood pressure. Avoiding or quitting smoking lowers your chances of hypertension, heart disease, and other health problems.
Hypertension can be treated with drugs and starting with a modest dose is commonly recommended by doctors. Most antihypertensive medicines have mild side effects.
People with hypertension may eventually need to take two or more trustworthy source medications to control their blood pressure.
The prescription is based on the individual’s medical history and any underlying medical issues.
Anyone taking antihypertensive medications should carefully check the labels of any over-the-counter (OTC) meds they may be taking, such as decongestants.
These over-the-counter medications may interact with the blood pressure meds they are taking. To find out which would work best for you, click to book an appointment with a doctor [book appointment button]
Lowering salt consumption
High sodium intake contributes to high blood pressure and the most prevalent source of sodium in one’s diet is salt.
According to the American Heart Association, people that do not have hypertension should consume fewer than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day to avoid high blood pressure and this is around one teaspoon.
For people with a history of hypertension, you should consume fewer than 1,500 mg (about half the weight of a penny) of sodium each day.
The salt reduction would be beneficial to both reducing your blood pressure and your overall health.
Consuming more fruits and veggies while consuming less fat
Individuals with high blood pressure or those at elevated risk of developing high blood pressure should consume less saturated fat and more unsaturated fats.
Experts advise people with hypertension to eat more heart-healthy foods, such as:
- Food high in fiber and entire grains
- A wide range of fruits and vegetable pulses like beans
- Non-tropical vegetable oils, such as olive oil, twice a week Omega-3-rich fish
- Chicken and fish without their skin
- Low-fat dairy products
Is hypertension genetic?
A family history of hypertension “likely” contributes to a person’s disease development. Environmental factors in the family may also play a role. For example, if a person lives with an older relative who has hypertension, they are more likely to share lifestyle patterns that raise their risk of hypertension.
Is hypertension considered a form of heart disease?
According to the centers for disease control and prevention, “Genes likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. However, it is also likely that people with a family history of high blood pressure share common environments and other potential factors that increase their risk”.
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