Your Ultimate Guide to Hypertension. A common health condition, high blood pressure also referred to as hypertension, occurs when there is long-term force of blood against artery walls. The force can be so high that it causes health problems like heart disease. High blood pressure tends to develop over time and can affect nearly anyone
How high blood pressure occurs
Your blood pressure is often determined by the amount of blood, which the heart is able to pump and the level of resistance of blood flow in arteries. When the heart pumps more blood and the arteries are narrower than normal, then you are likely to experience high blood pressure.
Hypertension can go on for many years without experiencing any symptoms. Damage to heart and blood vessels may occur for a long time without any symptoms and may remain undetected. When you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, you are at risk of suffering serious health problems like stroke and heart attack. That’s why people are advised to go for checkup to determine their blood pressure.
However, remember that short term or temporary blood pressure can occur in individuals due to other factors such as stress, anxiety, some medications, and hormones. The short-term spikes in blood pressure are expected to subside and return to normal ranges when the causal factor is done away with.
What are the causes of hypertension?
Hypertension may be categorized into two groups. There is primary hypertension or essential high blood pressure, which develops over many years in a gradual manner. This form of hypertension has no identifiable causes.
The other category is secondary hypertension, which is often caused by an underlying problem or condition. This type of hypertension tends to occur suddenly. It can cause higher blood pressure that is more than the one experienced in primary hypertension.
The causes of secondary high blood pressure include kidney problems, obstructive sleep apnea, abuse of alcohol, and use of illegal drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine. It may also arise due to thyroid problems, defects in blood vessels, adrenal gland tumors, and use of medications like birth control pills, decongestants, and OTC pain relievers.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Apparently, most people experiencing high blood pressure may not show any signs or symptoms. The condition continues to manifest and may remain undiagnosed until it is detected either from routine checkups for other conditions or during your blood pressure checkups. It is therefore advisable that people consider going for blood pressure tests at least two times in year or more frequently if an individual has higher risk of developing the condition.
A few people having high blood pressure may however, show symptoms such as shortness of breath, headaches, and nosebleeds. It is important to understand that these symptoms are not specific can be experienced by a person who does not have high blood pressure. They usually tend to occur when the hypertension has reached alarming state or it is in life-threatening stage.
Treatment of high blood pressure
Blood pressure needs to be checked in both arms in order to establish if there may be a difference. In case you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure in the past, it is likely that your doctor is going to recommend you go for more frequent tests. People who have risk factors of developing cardiovascular diseases may need to be tested of blood pressure more often.
Once you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you may want to work closely with your doctor to determine the best way to control and manage it. Changing your lifestyle goes a long way in managing and controlling high blood pressure. You need to change your diet to have one that has less salt and is balanced.
On top of that, you need to engage in moderate exercise but regularly. In case you smoke, this is the time you should quit. Smoking is dangerous to your health even if you don’t have hypertension, therefore, you should start thinking of quitting now.
It is also paramount that you maintain a healthy body weight. At times, making substantial lifestyle changes can be enough in controlling high blood pressure. The treatment for blood pressure will depend on your health. People who are older than 60 years mainly tend to have isolated systolic hypertension. This is when the diastolic pressure remains normal but the systolic pressure goes up.
A variety of medications are available to treat high blood pressure. Such medication include diuretics or water pills which help the kidneys to eliminate water and sodium in body so that blood volume is reduced. Other medicines like beta blockers are also used to reduce the workload of the heart and widen the blood vessels to minimize and allow the heat to beat slower and with less force.