Understanding High Blood Pressure and its Management
Hypertension or high bp is a widely prevalent lifestyle condition that affects people of all ages. Hypertension was also seen among young adults, a more common disease in the elderly. However, regardless of its prevalence and increasing incidence, many people still underestimate it in 2022. We’ve got you complete hypertension treatment guidelines for 2022!
Here’s All You Need to Know About Hypertension Treatment Guidelines in 2022!
A hypertension guide cannot be complete without the basics of this condition.
Hypertension is when your blood pressure levels are more significant than 120/80 mm of Hg. This condition is a chronic lifestyle disease that usually takes a few years to develop.
Having chronically high bp increases the risk of damage to various organs like the eyes, kidneys, heart, and brain. In the early stages of hypertension, it does not cause any recognizable signs and symptoms. Later stages of the disease are dangerous to life, so hypertension is also called the ‘silent killer’.
Measuring Blood Pressure
Regular measurement and monitoring of your blood pressure help keep your numbers under check. Here are some things to remember:
- Always visit healthcare professionals who are trained and certified.
- While home-based devices are extremely easy to use, you must visit your doctor for manual blood pressure monitoring using the radial or the brachial pulse.
- Whether your home monitoring machine or your doctor’s blood pressure measuring device, they must always be properly calibrated and validated per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always standardize the environment while measuring your blood pressure levels.
- If you are prone to postural hypotension (characterized by dizziness or falling when the posture changes), always get your blood pressure measured in the supine or seated position, followed by a second reading after standing for one minute.
Suppose the systolic blood pressure drops by 20 mm Hg or more when a person is standing. In that case, they must get their medications reviewed, take a reading when the person is standing, or visit a specialist for postural hypotension.
Hypertension is usually diagnosed during a routine consultation with a physician. Diagnosing hypertension is as easy as recording blood pressure levels using a sphygmomanometer. While your blood pressure levels may shoot up due to the visit to your doctor’s clinic, chronically high bp may require additional investigations such as :
- Blood tests
- Cholesterol screening
- An ECG or EKG
- Ultrasound of the kidneys
The physician may also recommend regular blood pressure monitoring using a home monitor.
Assessing Cardiovascular or Organ Damage Risks
Untreated hypertension or missing out on the disease in routine checkups can increase an individual’s risk for complications. The most common complication of hypertension includes plaque formation in the blood vessel walls, causing them to narrow down. It increases the resistance in the vessels, making it difficult for your heart to pump blood efficiently. This condition is called atherosclerosis and can result in:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
- Retinopathy leading to blindness
Regular blood pressure monitoring and timely medical intervention can help prevent these complications in hypertensive patients.
Treatment and Monitoring
Your physician will immediately begin you on anti-hypertensive medication if you have hypertension. These medications are the most effective ways to quickly bring down your blood pressure levels. Depending on the cause of your hypertension and other clinical factors, your doctor may prescribe a combination of two or more medications to help manage your hypertension.
Medications that are used as part of hypertension treatment guidelines are:
- Central agonists
- Calcium channel blockers
- Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme or ACE inhibitors
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors
- Angiotensin receptor blockers
Avoid taking anti-hypertensive medication over-the-counter. Always visit your physician and take medications as prescribed by them.
Making lifestyle changes
Apart from medications, lifestyle changes are an essential part of your hypertension guide and can help you manage your blood pressure levels effectively. These include:
Eating a healthy diet
Dietary changes are vital if you look to bring your numbers down and maintain them within the optimum range. Reduce your salt (or sodium) intake in your diet, avoid alcohol consumption and follow a DASH diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Combine a healthy diet with regular exercise. According to the American Heart Association, we must get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day or at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. According to the general hypertension management guidelines, you must also perform strength training at least two days a week. Some suitable activities that are effective in bringing down your blood pressure levels are:
Chronic stress is a fundamental cause of hypertension in 2022. Effectively managing stress can help bring down your blood pressure levels. A few activities that can help you beat stress are:
- Warm baths
- Taking a long relaxing walk
Hypertension is a severe lifestyle disease that can be debilitating and even life-threatening if left untreated. If you are hypertensive or are showing signs of high blood pressure, make sure you go through the hypertension guidelines thoroughly, and visit your physician right away. Find more such informative articles on hypertension and expert advice on BPinControl!