High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to heart failure, stroke, coronary heart disease, and other health problems. Get an insight into the high blood pressure causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Overview: An estimated one in three adults in the United States have high blood pressure or hypertension. It is a common condition, but a severe one, in which the force of the blood against the arteries is elevated and eventually causes health problems, like heart disease.
A very high blood pressure condition usually has no signs and symptoms, as it develops over years, and can be easily detected. It can be measured by the systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) pressures, in the arterial system. The ranges to identify the levels of blood pressure are as follows:
• Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
• Pre hypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
• Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
• Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above
Causes and symptoms of high blood pressure:
High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know the levels is to have yours measured. However, some people experience high blood pressure symptoms like dull headaches, dizzy spells or a few more nosebleeds than normal. To get the blood pressure levels checked make an appointment with your doctor. In case you feel fine and also finds your blood pressure level as normal, you should work with your doctor to keep it at bay. Make sure, a single high reading does not mean you have the condition. There are other factors that account for high blood pressure. These include the following:
• Eating too much salt in your diet
• Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
• You are overweight
• Not much physically active
• Drink alcohol in excess
Apart from the previously mentioned causes of hypertension, there are other causes that increase your risk of developing the condition. These are as follows:
• Family history- If you have a family history of hypertension, you are prone to develop the same.
• Age- Age is the primary concern for developing different health conditions. As a person gets older, the effects of unhealthy lifestyle tend to increase the risk of blood pressure.
• Ethnic origin- Ethnicity plays a significant role in high blood pressure condition. People from African-Caribbean and South Asian descent are at high danger of developing hypertension.
Treatments of high blood pressure:
A combination of certain medications and lifestyle changes play a crucial role in treating the condition of hypertension. Following the plan recommended by your doctor, you can avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication and other severe conditions associated with high blood pressure.
Lifestyle changes for treating hypertension:
A particular change in lifestyle plays a significant role in treating the high blood pressure problems. You can also avoid or delay other complications and need for medications if you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle. Below are some of the lifestyle changes you can contribute to lower the risk of high blood pressure:
• Eating a healthy diet by adding fresh fruits and veggies to your diet
• Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight by indulging in physical work or activity
• Quitting smoking
• Limiting alcohol intake
• Eating less salt
• Managing stress
Medications for high blood pressure:
In some cases, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to tame the high blood pressure condition. In these cases, hypertension drugs are prescribed. If your systolic pressure ranges from 140 to 159 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure from 90 to 99 mm Hg or higher, your doctor will prescribe your medications like:
• Diuretics- Initially, your doctor will suggest you diuretics, which are also called water pills. These works by flushing excess water and sodium from the body, thus lowering blood pressure. Along with lifestyle changes, diuretics can control your blood pressure.
• Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors- These drugs allow the blood vessels to widen by preventing the formation of a hormone called angiotensin. You may be prescribed Lisinopril, Enalapril and Ramipril under this category.
• Beta blockers- Beta blockers like Metoprolol, Nadolol and Atenolol are some of the drugs that may be suggested by your doctor to control hypertension. These work by blocking certain nerves and hormonal signals to the heart and blood vessels, resulting in lowering the blood pressure.
• Calcium channel blockers- Commonly prescribed calcium channel blockers include Nifedipine, Amlodipine and Diltiazem. These medications work by preventing calcium from going into the heart and blood vessel muscle cells, causing the cells to relax and lowers the blood pressure.
These drugs help in reducing the blood pressure more effectively than a single diuretic. For better and efficient results, combine two medicines of different classes, as doing this may allow you to take a smaller dose of each and also reduces the chances of further complications.
Once you get trapped with hypertension problem, the only way left to you is to take care by making changes in lifestyle and taking the correct medications. Keeping a constant check and managing the blood pressure condition is a lifelong commitment, so take a pledge and care for yourself and for those you love.