High blood pressure overview

05 Jan
2018
By Marie

High blood pressure is a widespread disease in which blood flows from beginning to end in the blood vessels (arteries) at the higher pressure than normal pressures.

Measuring Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the power of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart push’s blood. High blood pressure, is known as hypertension, happens when this force is too elevated. Health care workers check blood pressure readings the same way for adult, teen, children. They use a gauge, electronic sensor or stethoscope, and a blood pressure cuff. With this equipment, they measure:

Systolic Pressure:  Blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood

Diastolic Pressure:  Blood pressure when the heart is at relax mode between beats

Health care workers write blood pressure numbers with the systolic number above the diastolic number. For example:-

118/76 mmHg
People read “118 over 76”
milli meters of mercury
.

Normal Blood Pressure: Normal blood pressure for adults is defined as a systolic pressure below 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure below 80 mmHg. It is common for blood pressures to fluctuate when you wake up, sleep, or are nervous or exited. When you are energetic, it is normal for your blood pressure to amplify. However, once the activity stops, your blood pressure get back to your standard baseline range.

Blood pressure on average rises with age and body size. Newborn infants often have exceptionally low blood pressure range, that taken as normal for babies, while grown-up teens have numbers similar to adults.

Abnormal Blood Pressure

Abnormal elevation in blood pressure is defined as having blood pressures higher than 120/80 mmHg. The subsequent table below outlines and defines high blood pressure severity levels.

Stages of High Blood Pressure in Adults

Stages Systolic
(top number)
  Diastolic
(bottom number)
Prehypertension 120–139 OR 80–89
High blood pressure Stage 1 140–159 OR 90–99
High blood pressure Stage 2 160 or higher OR 100 or higher

The ranges in the chart are blood pressure guides for adults who do not have any short-term severe illnesses. People with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should keep their blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg.

Although blood pressure increases seen in pre-hypertension are fewer than those used to diagnose high blood pressure, pre-hypertension can develop to high blood pressure and should be taken critically. Time after time high blood pressure weakens and damages your blood vessels, which can lead to tricky situation.

Types of High Blood Pressure

There are 2 main types of high blood pressure: First is primary high blood pressure and second is secondary high blood pressure.

Primary High Blood Pressure

Primary, or necessary, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. This category of high blood pressure tends to extend over years as someone ages.

Secondary High Blood Pressure

Secondary high blood pressure is caused by an additional medical condition or use of certain medicines. This type usually resolves after the cause is treated or isolated.

High blood pressure causes

The exact cause of high blood pressure is not well-known, but quite a lot of factors and conditions may play a role in its development, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorder
  • Sleep apnea

Other factors are environmental factors: Air pollution may cause high blood pressure regardless to how long you are exposed to it.

Inhaling air pollutants may show the way to the development of high blood pressure, according to an analysis available in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Hypertension. Earlier studies have attempted to link air pollution to high blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension; however, the results were controversial and unpredictable. The recent study found that both short- and long-term exposure to air pollutants commonly associated with coal airborne dust, burning, vehicle exhaust, and dirt may influence whether somebody will develop high blood pressure.

 High blood pressure symptoms

In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure hypertension, which can lead to kidney failure, heart stroke, heart attack, and eye problems if untreated. The only way to come across if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is particularly important if you have a close family member who has high blood pressure

If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be assured symptoms to look out for, including:

  • A severe headache
  • Fatigue  or confusion
  • vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Blood in the urine

If you have any of these hypertension symptoms, see a heart specialist without any further delay. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

When to Seek Medical Care

Hypertensive emergency

A hypertensive urgent situation exists when blood pressure reaches levels that are destructing organs. Hypertensive emergencies, in general, occur at blood pressure level exceeding 180 systolic OR 120 diastolic but can take place at even lower levels in patients whose blood pressure had not been up to that time high.

The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this array can be harsh and comprise of:-

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Damage to the eyes and kidneys
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Eclampsia
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Aortic dissection
  • Angina

If you get a blood pressure reading of 180 or higher on top or 110 or higher value on the bottom, and are having any symptoms of likely organ damage (chest pain, shortness of breath, backbone pain, numbness/weakness, change in visualization, difficulty in speaking) do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Search for emergency medical help without delay. Call 9-1-1. If you can’t access the emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the hospital straight away.

High blood pressure treatment

You can take valuable steps to lower your blood pressure with changes to your lifestyle and by taking prescriptions.

In all cases, you can benefit from making some simple lifestyle changes. You are also suggested to take medication will depend on your blood pressure level and your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack, kidney failure or stroke.

  • If your blood pressure is constantly above 140/90mmHg (or 135/85mmHg at residence) but your danger of cardiovascular disease is low – you should be able to minor your blood pressure by making some changes to your lifestyle.
  • If your blood pressure is constantly above 140/90mmHg (or 135/85mmHg at home) but below 160/100mmHg – you will be offered medication to minor your blood pressure if you have the active or high risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • If your blood pressure is constantly above 160/100mmHg – you will be suggested for medication to lower your blood pressure.

Lifestyle changes

Below are several changes you could make to your lifestyle to decrease high blood pressure. Some of these will minor your blood pressure in a matter of weeks, others may take longer.

  • Cut your salt intake
  • Eat a healthy, low-fat, balanced diet, including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Do yoga
  • Be active
  • Cut down on alcohol.
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink less coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks such as cola

 High Blood Pressure Medications

There are numerous classes of blood pressure medications. Each class lower the blood pressure in a different manner.

Diuretics

Diuretics enhance urination which reduces the sodium and fluid in the body. That can help minor the blood pressure because it lowers blood amount. Mild hypertension can some time be treated using diuretics alone. Examples of diuretics include:

  • Bumetanide
  • Chlorthalidone

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers lower blood pressure by acting directly on the heart. These high blood pressure medications reduce heart rate and force of pumping, as well as reduce blood volume. Beta blockers include:

  • Acebutolol
  • Tenormin

ACE inhibitors

Angiotensin is a hormone in the body that causes blood vessels to narrow. The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors diminish the production of angiotensin and, in turn, that helps minor blood pressure. Examples of ACE inhibitors include:

  • Benazepril hydrochloride
  • Captopril

Calcium channel blockers

Calcium increases the potency and force of contractions in the heart and blood vessels. Blocking its access to smooth muscle tissue reduces this consequence. Calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure by soothing blood vessels and reducing heart rate. Examples of calcium channel blockers include:

  • Amlodipine besylate
  • Clevidipine
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Marie

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