High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Symptoms and More
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When determining your blood pressure, both the volume of blood that is flowing through your blood vessels as well as the degree of resistance that the blood encounters when the heart is pounding are taken into consideration.
Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, is a condition that develops when the force of blood flowing through your veins is persistently too high. In this piece, we will discuss the fundamentals of hypertension, such as its symptoms, causes, how it is treated, and other pertinent information.
What exactly is meant by “high blood pressure”?
Blood vessels that are narrower, also called arteries, produce a greater amount of resistance to the flow of blood. Your blood pressure will be greater because there will be more resistance to the flow of blood through your body when your arteries are narrower. Elevated blood pressure has the potential to bring on a host of health problems, including coronary heart disease.
Hypertension is fairly frequent. In point of fact, ever since the standards were updated in 2017, about half of all adults in the United States are now potentially susceptible to being diagnosed with this illness.
In most cases, hypertension manifests itself only after a period of several years. In most cases, you won’t have any symptoms at all. However, even in the absence of symptoms, high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels and organs of the body, most notably the kidneys, heart, eyes, and brain.
It is critical to diagnose cancer at an early stage. Readings of your blood pressure should be taken on a regular basis so that both you and your doctor can monitor any changes. If your doctor notices that your blood pressure is higher than normal, he or she may ask you to monitor your blood pressure over the course of a few weeks to determine if the number remains high or returns to normal levels.
Both medically prescribed medicine and making positive adjustments to one’s way of life are necessary components of hypertension treatment. If the problem is not treated, it could result in serious health complications, such as a heart attack or a stroke.
How to make sense of results that indicate high blood pressure
A reading of blood pressure is comprised of two numbers. The top figure, which represents the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood, is known as your systolic blood pressure. The reading of the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats is known as your diastolic pressure (the number at the bottom of the readout).
Adult blood pressure readings are classified into the following five categories:
A blood pressure reading that is lower than 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury is considered to be healthy (mm Hg).
The systolic number is greater than 120 mm Hg, and the diastolic number is lower than 80 mm Hg. This reading is considered to be elevated. Medication is rarely used as a treatment for high blood pressure by medical professionals. Instead, your doctor might suggest making some modifications to your lifestyle in order to help bring down your results.
If your systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or if your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 mm Hg, you have stage 1 hypertension.
If your systolic blood pressure is 140 mm Hg or higher, or if your diastolic blood pressure is 90 mm Hg or higher, you have stage 2 hypertension.
A hypertensive crisis is defined as either having a systolic blood pressure that is higher than 180 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure that is higher than 120 mm Hg. When blood pressure falls within this range, immediate medical intervention is required. When blood pressure is this high, immediate medical attention in an emergency setting is required if any symptoms, including chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or changes in vision, manifest themselves.
A pressure cuff is used to obtain a reading of a person’s blood pressure. It is essential that the cuff be properly adjusted so that you can get an accurate reading. A cuff that is not fit properly may produce erroneous readings.
The readings for children’s and teenagers’ blood pressure are different from one another. If your child’s doctor asks you to monitor their blood pressure, you should inquire about the healthy ranges for your child’s blood pressure.
What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?
In most cases, there are no symptoms associated with hypertension. A significant portion of individuals will report no symptoms at all. It’s possible that it will be years, or even decades before the illness reaches levels severe enough that apparent symptoms appear. Even so, it’s possible that these symptoms are due to something else entirely.
The following are examples of reliable sources of severe hypertension:
reddening of the eyes and the appearance of blood spots (subconjunctival hemorrhage)
In contrast to the common belief, severe hypertension does not often induce nosebleeds or headaches, as stated by the American Heart Association, a reliable source. The only exception to this is when a person is experiencing hypertensive crisis.
Having your blood pressure checked on a regular basis is the most reliable method for determining whether or not you have hypertension. When you make an appointment at the majority of medical facilities, your blood pressure will be measured.
If you only get a physical once a year, you should talk to your doctor about your chances of developing hypertension and any extra readings that you might require in order to better monitor your blood pressure.
For instance, if you come from a family with a history of cardiovascular disease or if you have risk factors for developing the condition, your physician may advise you to get your blood pressure checked twice a year. Together with your primary care physician, you will be able to stay on top of any potential difficulties before they become problematic.
What are the factors that contribute to hypertension?
There are two distinct forms of high blood pressure. The root cause of each variety is unique.
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Hypertension of an essential or primary nature
Hypertension that is considered essential is sometimes referred to as primary hypertension. This form of hypertension typically manifests itself after a period of time. This particular form of hypertension affects the majority of people.
Essential hypertension is often caused by a number of different causes working together, including the following:
Genes: Certain individuals have a higher risk of developing hypertension due to their family medical history. There is a possibility that this is due to inherited gene mutations or genetic abnormalities from your parents.
Age: People over the age of 65 are more likely to develop hypertension than younger people.
Hypertension is more prevalent among individuals of African descent who are not of Hispanic origin.
Having to live with obesity: Having to live with obesity can lead to a few different heart concerns, including hypertension.
Consumption of large amounts of alcohol: Women who regularly consume more than one drink per day and males who regularly consume more than two drinks per day may be at an elevated risk for developing hypertension.
Living a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to decreased levels of fitness and an increased risk of developing hypertension.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes or metabolic syndrome have a greater chance of acquiring hypertension than those who do not have either of these conditions.
high sodium consumption: There is a possible link between having a high sodium consumption on a daily basis (defined as more than 1.5g) and developing hypertension.
Hypertension due to a secondary cause
The onset of secondary hypertension is frequently sudden, and it frequently progresses to a more severe state than initial hypertension. Secondary hypertension can be caused by a number of different conditions, including the following:
obstructive sleep apnea
cardiac conditions present at birth
issues with your thyroid caused by the negative effects of your drugs
substance abuse that is against the law
issues with the adrenal glands brought on by persistent alcohol consumption
certain endocrine tumors
Recognizing the symptoms of high blood pressure
Getting a reading of one’s blood pressure is all that is required to make a diagnosis of hypertension. In the majority of medical practices, taking your blood pressure is a standard element of a checkup. Request a reading of your blood pressure at your next appointment if you do not receive one automatically.
If your doctor notices that your blood pressure is consistently high, he or she may ask you to take further readings at regular intervals for a few days or weeks. It is extremely uncommon for hypertension to be diagnosed based just on one reading.
Your physician will want to see evidence that the problem has persisted. This is due to the fact that your environment, such as the tension you may experience as a result of being at the doctor’s office, can contribute to an increase in your blood pressure. Additionally, the levels of blood pressure shift throughout the course of the day.
If your blood pressure continues to be elevated, your doctor will most likely order additional diagnostic procedures to rule out any potential underlying disorders. These tests may involve the following:
screening for cholesterol and other blood tests
test of the electrical activity of your heart using an electrocardiogram (also known as an ECG), ultrasound of your heart or kidneys, and a home blood pressure monitor to monitor your blood pressure over a period of 24 hours at home.
Your doctor should run these tests to assist uncover any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your high blood pressure. They are also able to investigate any potential impact that your high blood pressure has had on your organs.
It is possible that treatment for your hypertension will begin at this time with your doctor. If you get therapy early, it might lessen the risk of permanent damage.
There are various treatment options available for high blood pressure.
Your doctor will consider a variety of criteria in order to select the course of therapy that will be most effective for you. Whether you have essential hypertension, benign hypertension, or mixed hypertension are examples of these factors.
Options most commonly used to treat hypertension
Alterations to your way of life could be able to assist lower your high blood pressure if your doctor has diagnosed you with primary hypertension. If such adjustments to your lifestyle aren’t enough, or if they cease being beneficial, your doctor may recommend medication as an additional treatment option.
Alternative treatments for secondary forms of hypertension
In the event that your primary care physician identifies another ailment as the root cause of your hypertension, treatment will center on managing that condition instead. For instance, if a medicine you’ve recently started taking is responsible for elevating your blood pressure, your doctor may switch you to a different prescription that doesn’t have this undesirable impact.
Even after therapy for the underlying cause, hypertension may continue to be a problem for some people. In such a scenario, your physician may work with you to design modifications to your lifestyle and may also prescribe drugs to assist in lowering your blood pressure.
Treatment strategies for hypertension frequently undergo change. What seemed successful at first can end up being less effective in the long run. Your treatment will continue to be adjusted based on the feedback and suggestions you provide to your physician.
When it comes to blood pressure drugs, a lot of people have to go through a period of trial and error. It’s possible that your doctor won’t be able to locate a medicine or combination of medications that work for you until they test a few different options.
The following drugs are examples of those that are used to treat hypertension:
Beta-blockers are medications that slow down and/or lessen the force with which your heart beats. This results in a decrease in the volume of blood that is pumped through your arteries with each beat of your heart, which in turn results in a decrease in blood pressure. Additionally, it inhibits the production of specific hormones in your body that are responsible for the elevation of your blood pressure.
The use of diuretics is recommended because high blood pressure can be caused by high salt levels and excess fluid in the body. Diuretics, which are sometimes known as water pills, are medications that assist your kidneys in flushing out extra sodium from your body. As the salt exits your body, any excess fluid that was present in your bloodstream will flow into your urine, assisting in the lowering of your blood pressure.
Inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme Angiotensin is a substance that causes blood vessels and the walls of arteries to become more constricted and narrow. ACE inhibitors, which stand for angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, stop the body from manufacturing as much of a certain substance. This aids in the relaxation of blood vessels and lowers the blood pressure.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): While the purpose of ACE inhibitors is to prevent the production of angiotensin, the ARBs prevent angiotensin from connecting with receptors. In the absence of the chemical, the blood vessels will not constrict. This assists in relaxing the arteries and reducing the blood pressure.
Calcium channel blockers are drugs that prevent some calcium from entering the cardiac muscles of your heart. Calcium is necessary for cardiac muscle function. This causes the heart to beat with less force, which in turn results in a drop in blood pressure. These drugs function in the blood arteries as well, causing them to relax and contributing further to the overall reduction in blood pressure.
Alpha-2 agonists: This category of drug works by altering the nerve impulses that are responsible for the constriction of blood vessels. Because of this, the blood vessels are able to relax, which in turn lowers the blood pressure.
Treatments available at home for high blood pressure
Modifications to your lifestyle can help you gain control over the elements that contribute to hypertension. The following are some of the most widespread ones:
Creating a diet that is good for your heart
A diet that is good for the heart is an essential component in the fight against high blood pressure. In addition to this, it is essential for the management of hypertension that is under control and for lowering the risk of consequences. Among these problems are coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and heart attacks.
A diet that is good for your heart places an emphasis on:
fruits, vegetables, and grains of all types
lean proteins like fish
Getting more exercise is a good idea.
Exercise can help you naturally lower your blood pressure, and it can also help improve your cardiovascular system in addition to assisting you in losing weight (if your doctor has recommended that you do so).
Aim to do seven days of moderate-intensity physical activity for a total of 150 minutes every week. That comes up to around half an hour, five times a week.
Obtaining one’s ideal body weight
If you are obese and want to help decrease your blood pressure, keeping a healthy weight with a diet that is good for your heart and increasing the amount of physical activity you get will assist.
Working out is one of the best ways to deal with stress. There are many more activities that can be beneficial. These are the following:
Relaxation of the muscles through deep breathing, massage, and touch
yoga or tai chi
Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night may also assist reduce levels of stress.
Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol
If your doctor has diagnosed you with high blood pressure and you are a smoker, he or she will almost certainly recommend that you give up the habit. Tobacco smoke contains compounds that can be harmful to the body’s tissues and can cause the walls of blood vessels to become more rigid.
If you have a problem with drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis or are dependent on alcohol, you should receive treatment to cut down on the quantity you drink or to quit drinking entirely. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is associated with a rise in blood pressure.
Lifestyle tips to lower your risk of hypertension
If you have risk factors for hypertension, you can take steps now to minimise your risk for the condition and its complications.
Add fruits and veggies to your diet
Slowly work your way up to eating more portions of heart-healthy veggies. Aim to consume more than seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Then attempt to add one additional dish per day for 2 weeks. After those 2 weeks, strive to add one more serving. The goal is to get 10 servings of fruits and vegetablesTrusted Source each day.
Limit refined sugar
Try to restrict the amount of sugar-sweetened items, like flavoured yoghurts, cereals, and sodas, you eat on a daily basis. Packaged foods hide needless sugar, so be cautious to check labels.
Reduce sodium consumption
People living with hypertension and those with an elevated risk for heart disease may be advised by their doctor to keep their daily salt consumption between 1,500 milligrammes and 2,300 milligrammes per day.
The greatest strategy to minimise salt is to cook fresh foods more regularly and limit the quantity of fast food or prepackaged food you eat, which can sometimes be highly high in sodium.
Set weight loss objectives
If your doctor has recommended you lose weight, chat with them about an ideal weight loss goal for you. A weight loss goal of one to two pounds per week is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Trusted Source This can be accomplished by eating a diet higher in nutrients and engaging in more vigorous physical activity.
You can learn how to make the decisions that are best for your body and your lifestyle by using the assistance of a personal trainer, using a fitness app, and possibly even consulting a dietitian. These are all methods.
Maintain a regular check on your blood pressure.
Early detection of hypertension is the most effective means of preventing complications and side effects as well as avoiding issues.
Maintain a record of your blood pressure readings and bring it with you when you go to the doctor for your scheduled checkups. Your doctor will be able to spot any potential issues before they get more severe as a result of this.
Hypertension during the course of the pregnancy
Despite having the illness, people who have hypertension are still able to give birth to healthy children. However, if it is not carefully monitored and controlled during pregnancy, it can pose risks to the health of the baby as well as the mother who is giving birth.
Women who already have high blood pressure when they become pregnant have a greater risk of developing problems.
Women who are pregnant and have hypertension, for instance, may see a decline in their renal function. Babies that are born to mothers who have hypertension during pregnancy may have a low birth weight or be born before their due date.
It is possible for some people to develop hypertension when they are carrying their child. There are many different complications that might arise from having high blood pressure. After the delivery of the baby, the condition will frequently improve by itself. The chance of having hypertension later in life may be increased if hypertension is first diagnosed and treated during pregnancy.
People who are pregnant and have hypertension have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia at some point throughout their pregnancy. This illness, which manifests itself as high blood pressure, can lead to difficulties in the kidneys as well as other organs. This can lead to high levels of protein in the urine, issues with the function of the liver, fluid in the lungs, or problems with one’s vision.
As a result of this condition’s progression, both the mother and the infant are put in jeopardy. It’s possible that preeclampsia will progress into eclampsia, which will result in seizures. In the United States, complications related to high blood pressure during pregnancy continue to be a significant cause of maternal mortality. A low birth weight, an early delivery, or even a stillbirth are all potential complications for the infant.
Preeclampsia is a condition that can only be treated successfully by delivering the baby; unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent it. In the event that you develop this condition while you are pregnant, your obstetrician will carefully watch for any potential consequences.
What kind of damage can having a blood pressure that is consistently high do to the body?
Because hypertension is frequently asymptomatic, the damage it causes to your body may not become apparent until years after the problem has already progressed. In the event that your hypertension is not addressed, you run the risk of developing major problems, some of which could even be deadly.
The following is a list of complications that might arise from having hypertension.
Arteries in good health are both flexible and robust. When the arteries and vessels in the body are healthy, the flow of blood is unrestricted and unimpeded.
When someone has hypertension, their arteries become more rigid, tighter, and less elastic. Because of this damage, it is much simpler for dietary fats to deposit themselves in the arteries and so impede blood flow. Because of this damage, a person’s blood pressure may rise, they may develop blockages, and eventually they may suffer a heart attack or a stroke.
a compromised heart
When you have hypertension, your heart has to work harder than normal. Because of the increased pressure in your blood arteries, the muscles in your heart have to pump more frequently and with more force than a healthy heart should have to in order to function properly.
This could lead to an enlargement of the heart. Your risk of the following conditions increases if you have an enlarged heart:
unexpected cardiac death
assault of the heart
injury to the brain
For optimal functioning, your brain must have a constant supply of blood that is rich in oxygen. If left untreated, high blood pressure can decrease the amount of blood that reaches your brain:
Transient ischemic attacks are the medical term for brief interruptions in the flow of blood to the brain (TIAs).
The death of brain cells is a direct result of significant obstructions in the flow of blood. This condition is referred to as a stroke.
Your memory as well as your capacity to learn, recall, talk, and reason may be negatively affected if your hypertension is not under control. The effects of hypertension that is not under control are frequently not eliminated or reversed by treatment for hypertension. However, it does reduce the likelihood of difficulties occurring in the future.
The United States has a significant problem with people suffering from high blood pressure, which is sometimes referred to as hypertension.
If you have recently been given a diagnosis of high blood pressure, the treatment strategy that will be recommended to you will differ based on the factors involved. These include the severity of your hypertension, as well as the drug that your physician believes, will be most effective in treating you.
The good news is that in many instances of hypertension, making adjustments to your way of life can be potent tools for managing the condition or even reversing the diagnosis. These adjustments include increasing the proportion of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables in your diet, increasing the amount of time you spend being physically active, reducing the amount of sodium you consume, and cutting back on the amount of alcohol you drink.
It is essential to get your blood pressure measured at regular intervals in order to detect hypertension in its early stages, which frequently does not manifest with any symptoms. The earlier that you get a diagnosis of severe hypertension, the sooner that it can be managed and possibly even reversed. Since severe hypertension can cause serious health problems, getting a diagnosis as soon as possible is important.