High blood pressure (hypertension) can be a very common condition that causes the force of blood against the wall of your artery to be so high that it could eventually lead to issues with your health, for example, heart disease.
The blood pressure is determined by the quantity of blood that your heart pumps and the degree of obstruction to the flow of blood within your blood vessels. The more blood your heart pumps and the smaller your arteries, the greater the blood pressure. A blood pressure reading can be measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It is comprised of two numbers.
- Maximum number (systolic pressure). The first number, also known as the upper, determines the amount of stress in your body’s arteries when you beat your heart.
- The bottom number (diastolic pressure). The second lower number is the number that measures the pressure inside your arteries in between beats.
There is a chance that you could be suffering from hypertension for many years without noticing. However, if you don’t control your blood pressure, it can increase the risk of developing serious health issues, such as stroke and heart attack. Luckily high blood pressure is easily identified. Once you realize an increased risk of blood pressure, you should consult your doctor to reduce it.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Many people with high blood pressure don’t have indications or symptoms, even when blood pressure readings are extremely high.
Some people suffering from hypertension might experience headaches, breathlessness, or nosebleeds. However, these symptoms aren’t always specific and typically do not occur until blood pressure is serious or life-threatening.
When is the best time to visit a doctor?
You will likely be asked to take your blood pressure in the routine appointment with your doctor.
Request your blood pressure reading at a minimum every two years, beginning at 18. If you’re 40 years old or over, or between the ages of 18 and 39, with an increased risk of having hypertension, consult your doctor to take blood pressure tests every year.
Should generally measure the blood pressure on both sides to determine if there’s a variation. It’s crucial to choose the correct size arm cuff.
The doctor may suggest frequent blood pressure tests if you’ve had a diagnosis of hypertension or additional risk factors for heart disease. Children 3 or older typically have their blood pressure measurements in conjunction with their annual health examinations.
If you’re not seeing your physician, you might be eligible for an uninvolved blood pressure test at a health fair or other location within your local area. In addition, there is equipment in some shops that will test your blood pressure at no cost.
Like the ones found in pharmacies, the public blood pressure machines can provide useful information on your blood pressure; however, they can have some limitations. For example, they are not 100% accurate. In addition, devices are dependent on many aspects, including the correct size of the cuff and proper use of instruments. Get advice from your doctor regarding using the machines for public blood pressure.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
There are two kinds of high blood pressure.
Primary (essential) hypertension
In most adults, there’s no specific basis for excessive blood pressure. However, this kind of hypertension, known as primary (essential) hypertension, tends to grow slowly over a long period.
Some people have high blood pressure due to unrelated health conditions. This kind of hypertension, also known as secondary hypertension, can occur suddenly and result in more significant blood pressure than primary hypertension. Different situations and medications can result in secondary hypertension, which includes:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney disease
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
- Certain genetic defects that you are born with (congenital) within blood vessels
- Certain medications, including birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, cold remedies, prescription pain relievers, as well as prescription medications
- Illicit drugs include amphetamines and cocaine.
Risk factors of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a result of many risk factors, which include:
- Age. The risk of increasing blood pressure is higher when you get older. Up to age 64, high blood pressure is more prevalent in males. The risk for women is higher to suffer from high blood pressure once they reach 65.
- The race of the HTML0. High blood pressure is more common in people of African heritage, who tend to develop at earlier ages than whites. The risk of serious complications, like heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure, occurs more frequently in those who are of African heritage.
- Family background. High blood pressure tends to be a family trait.
- Obesity or overweight. The more you weigh, the more blood you’ll need to provide the tissues with oxygen and nutrients. When the blood flow throughout your blood vessels grows, so is the pressure placed on the walls of your arteries.
- Inactivity in the physical sense. Active people tend to experience higher heart rates. The higher the heart rate is, the more your heart has to work for each contraction and the more powerful the strain on your arterial walls. Inactivity also can increase the risk of being overweight.
- Smoking tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco increases your blood pressure for a short period. However, the chemical compounds in tobacco can also harm the wall of your artery, which could cause your routes to narrow, increasing your risk of suffering from heart disease. On the other hand, smoking cigarettes can also increase the risk of heart disease.
- Too much salt (sodium) in your diet. Excessive sodium in your diet may cause your body’s system to store fluid, which raises blood pressure.
- Too much potassium in your eating habits. Potassium helps balance the sodium content within your cells. The proper balance of potassium is essential for heart health. If you’re not getting enough potassium from your food or lose excessive amounts of potassium due to dehydration or other health issues, the sodium could build up in your blood.
- Drinking excessive alcohol. Over time, excessive drinking could damage your heart. Drinking more than one drink per day for women and more than two drinks per day for males could impact your blood pressure.
- If you consume alcohol, be sure to drink it in moderation. For healthy adults, this means drinking up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for males. A drink is equivalent to 12 pounds of beer, five glasses of wine, or 1.5 grams of alcohol with an 80 proof.
- The stress. High levels of stress can cause an occasional rise in blood pressure. Habits that result from anxiety, such as smoking more cigarettes, eating more, or drinking alcohol, could further increase blood pressure.
- Certain chronic diseases. Certain chronic conditions can also increase high blood pressure, including kidney disease or diabetes, and sleep apnea.
Sometimes, pregnancy can cause high blood pressure.
While the risk of high blood pressure is the most prevalent in adults, children could be at risk too. In some children, high blood pressure may be caused by issues with the heart or kidneys. However, for a growing percentage of kids, unhealthy practices in life, like a poor diet and a lack of exercise, are the main causes of elevated blood pressure.
Complications of Hypertension
The high pressure on the artery walls created due to high blood pressure could harm the blood vessels and your organs. The more pressure you have in your blood and the more time it is uncontrolled, the more harm.
Uncontrolled blood pressure may result in complications such as:
- A stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure can lead to the hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) that can cause heart attacks, strokes, and other issues.
- Aneurysm. Increased blood pressure could cause blood vessels to shrink and then bulge, resulting in an Aneurysm. If an aneurysm ruptures, it could be life-threatening.
- Heart Failure. The heart needs to be more efficient in pumping blood against the increased pressure in your vessels, which results in the walls of the heart’s pumping chamber getting thicker (left hypertrophy of the ventricular wall). The muscle that has become thicker could have trouble making enough circulation to satisfy your body’s demands and lead to heart insufficiency.
- A narrowed and weakened blood vessels within the kidneys. It can prevent the organs from functioning properly.
- Thicker, narrower, or damaged blood vessels within the eye. It can result in loss of vision.
- Metabolic Syndrome. This syndrome is a set of diseases of your body’s metabolism, including the size of your waist and high triglycerides. It also results in a decrease in the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) as well as elevated blood pressure and insulin levels. These issues can make you more susceptible to suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
- Memory problems and understanding. Uncontrolled high blood pressure could also hinder the ability of your brain to remember, think, and learn. Difficulties in learning or memory are frequent for those with excessive blood pressure.
- Alzheimer’s. Narrowed or blocked arterial arteries may restrict blood flow into the brain, leading to a specific kind of cognitive impairment (vascular dementia). A stroke that disrupts cerebral blood circulation causes vascular dementia.
The doctor will ask you questions regarding your medical history and perform a physical examination. Then, the nurse, doctor, or another medical assistant will put an inflatable arm cuff over your arm and take measurements of your blood pressure with an instrument for measuring pressure.
Should generally monitor Your blood pressure across both armpits to determine if there’s any difference. It’s crucial to choose a suitable-sized arm cuff.
The measurements of blood pressure fall into various types:
- A normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure is normal if lower than 120/80 mm Hg.
- Blood pressure elevated. Elevated blood pressure is a systolic blood pressure that ranges between 120 and 129 millimeters, and diastolic blood pressure is less than (not over) an amount of 80mmHg. The blood pressure increases and tends to worsen as time passes without steps taken to lower blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure could be known as prehypertension.
- Stage 1 hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic blood pressure ranging from 130-139 mm Hg or a diastolic level from 80-89 mg.
- Hypertension stage 2. More severe hypertension, stage 2 hypertension, refers to a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg and higher or a diastolic level of 90 millimeters Hg and more elevated.
- Hypertensive Crisis. A blood pressure reading higher than 180/120 millimeters Hg is a serious condition that requires urgent medical attention. When you notice this sign while taking your blood pressure measurement at home, let it sit for 5 minutes and then retest. If the blood pressure remains high, consult your physician right away. If you experience chest pain, eye problems, weakness or numbness, breathing difficulties, or other symptoms or signs of a heart attack, dial 911 or your emergency medical number.
Both numbers in the reading of blood pressure are vital. However, after 50, systolic reading becomes much more crucial. Isolated systolic hypertension is when your diastolic blood pressure normally remains (less than 80 millimeters Hg); however, the systolic reading is excessive (greater than or equivalent to 130 millimeters Hg). It is a very common form of high blood pressure in people over 65.
Since blood pressure is typically fluctuating throughout the day and could rise during a visit to the doctor (white coat hypertension), Your doctor will probably check your blood pressure during three to four appointments before determining that you have hypertension.
Taking your blood pressure at home
The doctor may request you to keep a record of your blood pressure at home to give additional details and determine whether you suffer from elevated blood pressure.
Monitoring at home is a great method to determine whether you suffer from high blood pressure and determine whether your blood pressure treatment is working or determining the deterioration of high blood pressure.
Monitors for blood pressure at home are readily available and affordable and don’t require prescriptions to purchase one. However, the home blood pressure monitor isn’t an alternative to visits to your physician, and home blood pressure monitors can be limited in some ways.
Use an approved device, and ensure that the cuff you wear fits. Bring the monitor to the doctor’s office to test its accuracy each year. Consult your physician about the best way to check your blood pressure from home.
According to the American Heart Association, the devices that monitor your blood pressure on your finger or wrist are not recommended because they aren’t as reliable.
If you are suffering from hypertension, your doctor recommends a test to determine the cause and look for conditions that may trigger hypertension.
- Monitors for the emergency. This 24-hour blood pressure test can be used to identify if you have elevated blood pressure. The instrument used for this test monitors your blood pressure regularly over 24 hours. It gives a more precise picture of the changes in blood pressure throughout an average night and day. However, these instruments aren’t readily available in all medical facilities and may not be paid for.
- Tests for labs. Your doctor may suggest a Urine test (urinalysis) and blood tests, such as cholesterol tests.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This quick and easy test will measure the electrical activity of your heart.
- Echocardiogram. Depending on your symptoms and signs and your test results, your doctor might request an echocardiogram to look for symptoms of heart disease. Echocardiograms use sound waves to create photographs of the heart.
Changes in your lifestyle can aid in managing and controlling your blood pressure. Therefore, your doctor might suggest you adopt lifestyle changes, such as:
- A heart-healthy diet that includes less salt
- Engaging in regular physical activity
- Being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as losing some weight when obese or overweight
- The amount you drink should be limited. consume
However, sometimes lifestyle changes don’t suffice. For example, if exercise and diet don’t assist, your doctor might suggest medication to lower blood pressure.
The kind of medicine prescribed by your physician will depend on the blood pressure measurement you have and your overall health. Multiple blood pressure medications usually are more effective than just one. Sometimes, finding the most effective medicine or combination of drugs results from trial and trial.
It would be best if you strive for an ideal blood pressure treatment goal that is less than 130/80 mm Hg in the following situations:
- You’re an adult in good health, age 65 or over.
- You’re a healthy, active adult older than 65 with at least a 10% likelihood of developing a cardiovascular disease within the next ten years.
- You suffer from a chronic kidney condition, diabetes, or coronary arterial disease.
Discuss with your physician to determine what your blood pressure treatment goals are. Additionally, the best blood pressure treatment goals will vary with age and health issues, especially if you’re more than 65.
Treatments for high blood pressure comprise:
- Diuretics. Diuretics, sometimes known as water pills, are a class of drugs that aid in eliminating sodium and water from your body. They are usually the first drugs to combat high blood pressure.
- Several diuretics are classified as a loop, thiazide, and potassium-sparing. Which one your doctor recommends is contingent on the blood pressure measurement you have taken and other health issues like kidney disease and a heart condition. Diuretics commonly prescribed to lower blood pressure are chlorthalidone hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide) and many others.
- One of the most common side effects of diuretics is an increase in urine production, which may reduce potassium levels. Suppose you’re suffering from an insufficient potassium level. You can ask your doctor to add diuretics that have potassium-sparing properties like triamterene (Dyazide, Maxine) or spironolactone (Aldactone) as part of your therapy.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These medications — such as lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), benazepril (Lotensin), captopril, and others — help relax blood vessels by blocking the formation of a natural chemical that narrows blood vessels.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). The medications reduce blood vessel tension by stopping the action and not the formation, an organic chemical that narrows blood vessels. ARBs Included are candesartan (Atacand), losartan (Cozaar) and many more.
- Calcium channel blockers. These drugs — like amlodipine (Norvasc), and diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac, others), relax your muscles in the blood vessels. Certain medications slow the heart rate. Calcium channel blockers can be more beneficial for older individuals and those of African backgrounds than ACE inhibitors.
- Avoid drinking or eating grapefruit-based products while using calcium channel blockers. Grapefruit raises blood levels of some calcium channel blockers. It can be hazardous. Consult your physician or pharmacist if you’re worried about interactions.