Hypertension: Its Symptoms, Causes and Appropriate Cures!
Hypertension: Its Symptoms, Causes and Appropriate Cures!
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure is a long-term medical condition in which the walls of the arteries (a blood vessel leading from the heart, carrying oxygenated blood to the tissues) receive too much pressure repeatedly. A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and the bottom number (diastolic).
Symptoms: High blood pressure is generally a chronic condition, and is often associated with few or no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it is usually when blood pressure spikes suddenly and extremely enough to be considered a medical emergency. Rare symptoms include dizziness, headaches, and nosebleeds.
Major Risk Factors: If the hypertension is not treated or controlled, the excessive pressure on the artery walls can lead to damage the blood vessels (cardiovascular diseases) as well as vital organs. The extent of damage depends on two factors: The severity of hypertension and How long it goes untreated.
Here are some possible complications/major risk factors of high blood pressure:-
Stroke; Heart Attack and Heart Failure; Blood Clots; aneurysm; Kidney Disease; Thickened, narrow or torn blood vessels in the eyes; Metabolic Syndrome; Brain Function and memory problems etc.
What are the causes of hypertension?
High blood pressure is classified as primary (essential) high blood pressure or secondary high blood pressure. About 90-95% of cases are primary, defined as high blood pressure due to non-specific lifestyle and genetic factors. Lifestyle factors that increase the risk include excess salt, excess body weight, smoking, and alcohol. The remaining 5-10% of cases are categorized as secondary high blood pressure, defined as high blood pressure due to an identifiable cause, such as chronic kidney disease, use of birth control pills etc.
Here is the list of the reason behind high blood pressure:
Age: The older you get, the higher is your risk of getting a high blood pressure.
Family History: If your parents or grandparents have hypertension, your chances of developing it becomes significantly higher.
Temperature: A study that monitored 8801 participants over the age of 65 found that systolic or diastolic values differed significantly across the year and according to the distribution of outdoor temperature. Blood pressure was lower when it got warmer, and rose when it got colder.
Obesity and Overweight: Both overweight and obese people are more likely to develop high blood pressure, compared to people of normal weight.
Physical Inactivity: Lack of exercise as well as having a sedentary lifestyle, raises the risk of hypertension.
Smoking: Smoking causes the blood vessels to narrow, resulting in higher blood pressure. Smoking also reduces the blood’s oxygen content so the heart has to pump faster in order to compensate, causing a rise in blood pressure.
Alcohol Intake: People who drink regularly have higher systolic blood pressure, then people who do not, according to researchers. They found that systolic blood pressure levels are about 7 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) higher in people who drink frequently than people who do not.
High Salt Intake: Researchers reported that societies, where people do not eat much salt, have lower blood pressures than places where people eat a lot of salt.
High Fat Diet: Many health professionals say that a diet high in fat leads to a raised blood pressure risk. However, most dietitians stress that the problem is not how much fat is consumed but rather what types of fats.
Here are certain ways to control high blood pressure:
Lose Extra pounds and watch your waistline: Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure. Losing weight can help reduce blood pressure.
Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches
Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches.
Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity at least 30 minutes almost 5 days a week can lower blood pressure 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury. It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.
Eat a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
It isn't easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:
Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that's best for you.
Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you're dining out, too.
Reduce Sodium in Your Diet: Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. In general, limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is appropriate for people with greater salt sensitivity, including:
Anyone age 51 or older.
Anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease
To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these tips:
Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy.
Eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
Don't add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavor to your food.
Ease into it. If you don't feel you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.
Limit the amount of Alcohol You Drink:
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg.
But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and for men older than age 65, or more than two a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have substantial increases in life expectancy.
Cut back on Caffeine:
The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it, but there is little to no strong effect on blood pressure in habitual coffee drinkers.
Although the effects of chronic caffeine ingestion on blood pressure aren't clear, the possibility of a slight increase in blood pressure exists
To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. Talk to your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure.
Reduce your Stress:
Chronic stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure. Occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking.
Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what's causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
There are some changes you could make to your lifestyle to reduce high blood pressure. Some of these will lower your blood pressure in a matter of weeks, while others may take longer.
Cutting your salt intake to less than 6g (0.2oz) a day
Eating a low-fat, balanced diet
Cutting down on alcohol
Drinking less caffeine
Setting at least six hours of sleep a night if you can
Blood Pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. The pressure depends on the work being done by the heart and the resistance of the blood vessels.
Medical guidelines define hypertension as a blood pressure higher than 130 over 80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg), according to guidelines issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) in November 2017. Around 85 million people in the United States have high blood pressure.
Treating high blood pressure can take a multi-pronged approach including diet changes, medication, and exercise. Simple lifestyle changes can often help reduce high blood pressure (hypertension), although some people may need to take medication as well.
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