A lot of people suffer from high blood pressure or Hypertension. The disease is so common that it has started being taken lightly. However, if left untreated, hypertension can lead to other fatal diseases like Coronary Artery Disease and Kidney failure.
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers x/y mmHG. X is the systolic blood pressure and y is the diastolic blood pressure, so it is systolic/diastolic pressure mmHG. Systolic blood pressure is a measurement of the highest blood pressure when the heart contracts whereas diastolic is a measurement of the lowest blood pressure when the heart muscles relax. Anything above 140/90 is considered high blood pressure.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
There are a couple of overlapping symptoms like dizziness and palpitation but there is no particular symptom individually related to hypertension. People who might have high blood pressure but are not aware of it should immediately go see a doctor if they feel dizziness (especially while walking), persistent headache, and redness of the face.
Hypertension is also hereditary. If there’s a family history of high blood pressure, you should get it checked in your early twenties.
The most common type of high blood pressure is Essential Hypertension. By definition a high level of blood pressure without any specific cause behind it is called Essential Hypertension. The speculative cause is considered to be a mix of genetics and environmental factors. Some of the perceived causes of essential hypertension are:
Age– As people age, their chances of getting hypertension becomes higher.
Weight– Obesity and high blood pressure is related. People who are on the heavier side often suffer from hypertension.
Gender– High blood pressure is more common in men than women. However, a lot of women get high blood pressure after menopause.
Inactive lifestyle– A sedentary lifestyle coupled with increased stress levels can be the reason for hyper tension.
Stress– People who are prone to stressing more are at higher risks of getting high blood pressure. In fact, stress is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure.
Too much salt- There is a direct correlation between salt and blood pressure. People suffering from high B.P. are strictly recommended to exclude salt from their diet.
While high blood pressure is a symptomless disease, it could in itself be triggered by some other disease. Besides diseases, the secondary cause could also be attributed to drug and alcohol abuse.
- Kidney-related diseases
- Hormonal conditions such as Thyroid
- Certain congenital defects in blood vessels
- Drug abuse like that of cocaine
- Excessive alcohol abuse
However, only 10% of total hypertension cases are brought on by these secondary causes.
Blood pressure can be diagnosed in a painless way through a Sphygmomanometer- the device doctors use to measure blood pressure. Today, a number of modern devices are also available that can measure blood pressure at home with just one click.
However, make sure you purchase a doctor recommended brand as measurements can vary with instruments.
Treating High Blood Pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, you will have to immediately consult a doctor. Hypertension is also called the ‘silent killer’ because it leads to other fatalities like a heart attack or stroke.
Here are some ways you can treat and prevent your blood pressure from shooting high up:
Medication– Your doctor is going to put you on medication to lower your blood pressure. Most people who suffer from hypertension are prescribed medicines to be taken regularly as a preventive measure. Every high blood pressure medication falls under these four types- ACE inhibitors, Calcium channel blockers, Angiotensin receptor blockers, and Thiazide diuretics.
Your doctor might also give you an SOS medicine to be taken when the blood pressure gets very high. This type of medicine has an immediate effect.
Change your lifestyle– A lifestyle modification can work wonders for your high blood pressure. Try to adopt an activity to keep yourself physically fit and active.
Quit smoking– Smoking or chewing tobacco has an immediate effect on your blood pressure. To regularize your blood pressure level, try to quit taking tobacco in any form.
Reduce alcohol consumption– Excess alcohol intake leads to hypertension. Try cutting back on the quantity if you cannot quit altogether or switch to drinking occasionally.
Reduce weight– If you do not fall under the purview of a healthy BMI, you will have to watch your weight. Sometimes losing even 15 pounds can have a profound effect on your blood pressure.
Healthy food choices– Eating processed food is as it is not good for your body. Switch to fruits and vegetables like kale, kiwifruit, broccoli, banana and celery. Not only will you lose weight but you will also avoid indirectly consuming excessive salt and preservatives.
Try the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet. Although this diet was originally intended to help fight hypertension, it also shows fantastic results in reducing and maintaining weight. The diet comprises of a holistic approach with emphasis on low sodium, non-fat dairy, high fiber and whole wheat products.
Reduce intake of salt– Eating salt in moderation is better than having to give it up altogether. Even if you do not have high blood pressure, you should go easy on the salt.
As one of the most common diseases, hypertension is also one of the most common triggers for life-threatening diseases. It is best to get it diagnosed and treated early to avoid severe consequences later in life.