Find Everything you Need to Know About Hypertension Here
Hypertension is a lifestyle disease that affects a large number of urban populations worldwide. It is known to affect the functioning of other organs of the body that includes the heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes. There are several ways to manage and prevent high blood pressure, and the first step is to begin screening for high blood pressure during the early years of your life, as early as 18 years of age, according to certain studies. Today, we will learn about everything you need to know about this disease and ways through which you can overcome it.
What Is High Blood Pressure And Why Is It Causing 9.4 Million Deaths Worldwide?
Hypertension or high blood pressure occurs when your heart has to take extra effort to pump blood, causing damage to the arteries in the process. Normal blood pressure ranges from 120-130 mmHg systolic and 80-90 mmHg diastolic. If it goes beyond these readings, you typically get diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Since hypertension is mostly asymptomatic, early detection plays a significant role in its prevention. It could otherwise cause extreme damage to your heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes and result in fatalities. Therefore, early detection and regular monitoring of your blood pressure hold the key in the entire scheme of things.
To stay ahead of the game, the need for hypertension screenings is paramount. It will help with early detection and treatment, thus, avoiding any mishaps that may happen when left untreated.
How To Understand High Blood Pressure Readings?
Blood pressure reading comprises of two numbers – systole and diastole. Systolic blood pressure indicates the higher value and the extra force on your heart when it pumps out blood through the arteries. On the other hand, diastolic blood pressure is the lower value and indicates the pressure value of the arteries when your heart is resting or between two heartbeats.
There are five categories of blood pressure, and they are as follows:
- Normal : Blood pressure reading is less than or equal to 120/80 mmHg
- Elevated : Systolic blood pressure reading is between 120 and 129 mmHg, and the diastolic blood pressure reading is less than 80 mmHg
- Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic blood pressure reading is between 130 and 139 mmHg, or the diastolic blood pressure reading is between 80 and 89 mmHg
- Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic blood pressure reading is 140 mmHg or higher, or the diastolic blood pressure reading is 90 mmHg or higher
- Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic blood pressure reading is over 180 mmHg, or the diastolic blood pressure reading is over 120 mmHg. If you are at this stage, you need immediate medical attention, and other symptoms such as chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or visual changes may occur
What Are The Symptoms?
As you may have heard, hypertension is a silent killer and usually shows no signs or symptoms, and often goes undetected. Only when the condition reaches a severe stage, the symptoms become apparent. The symptoms of severe hypertension include:
Understanding the causes can stop these symptoms and, in turn, prevent high blood pressure. There are quite a few causes of high blood pressure, and they include the following:
Family History Or Genetics
If someone in your family, especially your parents, have a history of hypertension, there’s a strong likelihood of it affecting you. However, it depends on your lifestyle too.
Underlying Health Issues
There is a possibility of other conditions giving rise to a high blood pressure problem. If you have any underlying conditions like thyroid or kidney problems, and other physical changes, it may cause an elevation in blood pressure.
Erratic sleep pattern, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, and other such lifestyle habits can cause a spike in blood pressure thus, leading to unwarranted diseases or health conditions.
Therefore, if left untreated, hypertension can lead to fatal conditions. These complications can include:
- Damaged arteries
- Enlarged heart which could lead to heart failure, heart attack, cardiac arrest, or arrhythmias
- Brain damage due to unhealthy or reduced supply of oxygen-rich blood to the brain
- Blurred vision or eyesight problems
When To See A Doctor?
If diagnosed with high blood pressure, make sure you visit the doctor every year for a check-up, provided you abide by the treatment and medications recommended for you. In the opposite scenario, between the ages of 18 and 30, get your blood pressure checked every two years and annually once you cross 30 years.
Alternatively, if you happen to visit a doctor for another reason, do get your blood pressure checked during your appointment as it helps you track your blood pressure readings.
Primary hypertension gets treated with lifestyle modifications, and if they do not work, the doctor prescribes medicines. The treatment for secondary hypertension includes medications like beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and others. However, lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment upon the detection of hypertension. These lifestyle alterations include:
- Developing a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
- Increasing physical activity and reaching a healthy weight with minimum 30-45 minutes of exercise every day
- Managing stress, both physical and emotional, with meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, massage, and other such activities
- Adopt a cleaner lifestyle by quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake as it causes a spike in blood pressure
In the end, the ideal way to prevent high blood pressure and other complications is its early detection. You may monitor your blood pressure at home or visit your doctor’s clinic. Regular monitoring of high blood pressure can curb the severity of the condition before it advances into the fatal territory.
Note of Caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor in case of any blood pressure or other health-related problems.