Checking Your Blood Pressure
The best way to find out if you have hypertension is by checking your blood pressure. This can be done at the doctors office, at home with a blood pressure monitor, or even by using a public blood pressure monitor, such as those found in shopping malls and pharmacies.
You should know your usual blood pressure. If you see a significant increase in this number the next time your blood pressure is checked, you should seek further evaluation from your healthcare provider.
Warning Signs Of High Blood Pressure
While hypertension is prevalent among adults, younger people can develop the condition too. This is why it is vital that you constantly check your blood pressure level. Constant monitoring of your blood pressure will help prevent medical emergencies and make you live a more healthy life.
Below are some common warning signs of blood pressure to always watch out for.
Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if its already high.
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What Are The Complications Of Uncontrolled Hypertension
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked and heart muscle cells die from lack of oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, which occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to other vital body organs.
- Irregular heart beat which can lead to a sudden death.
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Symptoms Of Sudden High Blood Pressure
Unlike traditional high blood pressure, where there are no visual symptoms until major damage has occurred, sudden high blood pressure alerts you immediately.
- Weakness or numbness in arms, legs, face
- Mentality changes such as anxiety, fatigue, confusion, restlessness
In extreme cases of sudden high blood pressure, there may be bleeding from damaged blood vessels, blindness from ruptured retina nerves or vessels, and possibly seizures.
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How To Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally
Taking antihypertensive medication is one way to lower your blood pressure, but not everybody likes taking drugs all the time. There are ways to control or reduce blood pressure without taking medication, such as:
- Exercise regularly
- Cut out added sugar and refined foods
- Quit smoking
- Practise deep breathing and yoga
- Get enough sleep
Diagnosis Of High Blood Pressure
The best way to diagnose HBP is to have it measured. A blood pressure reading, given in millimeters of mercury , has two numbers.
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls during heartbeats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories. The American Heart Associations guidelines are as follow:
- Normal blood pressure: A reading of less than 120 and 80
- Elevated blood pressure: A reading ranging from 120 to 129 and below 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: A reading ranging from 130 to 139 or 80 to 89
- Stage 2 hypertension: A reading ranging from 140 or higher or 90
- Hypertensive crisis : A reading higher than 180 and/or 120
*If you have an electronic blood pressure machine and would like to measure your blood pressure at home, please follow The American Heart Associations guidelines:
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High Blood Pressure: Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Reading
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High blood pressure or hypertension impacted an estimated one in three people in the UK, and around 26 percent of the worlds population. Despite this, some of its symptoms can be somewhat unexpected, with sufferers not realising hypertension is the cause of their ailments.
According to health experts, there are some important warning signs people should be aware of.
People who think they are suffering from symptoms associated with hypertension are urged to visit their doctor as soon as possible.
Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Do You Know The 10 Alarming Signs Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is now a very common condition amongst adults. According to a new report, nearly half of the American population have high blood pressure.
If you suffer from high blood pressure or Hypertension, you may eventually develop other health problems like heart disease, and increase your risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke.
Annually in the US, there are 610,000 deaths from heart attacks, and nearly 800,000 people suffer from strokes. And those numbers are growing. Knowing that high blood pressure is the major preventable factor, why do we have such high numbers??
Can you recognize the signs of high blood pressure?
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How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Health care providers measure blood pressure with a cuff that wraps around the upper arm or the leg in babies. When the cuff inflates, it squeezes a large artery, stopping the blood flow for a moment. Blood pressure is measured as air is slowly let out of the cuff, which lets blood flow through the artery again.
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers:
You hear blood pressure reported as the first number over the second number, like 120 over 80 or 120/80.
Negative Effects Of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one out of every three American adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Because high blood pressure is so common, it might be tempting to assume that its no big deal. But the truth is, that when left untreated, high blood pressure can put you at risk for potentially life-threatening complications.
Here are eight ways that uncontrolled high blood pressure can negatively affect your health:
What Is Low Blood Pressure
Apart from the technical interpretation, low blood pressure is a sort of disease that saps energy from all parts of your body and mind.
You could become faint and even pass out. And it is a very scary feeling!
Your spirits are down and your body starts shivering.
You get a feeling of sinking and you need a rescue mission immediately!
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood within the arteries of the body.
Blood pressure is the driving force that causes blood to flow through the body from the arteries , through organs, and into the veins .
Blood pressure is generated by the pumping of blood by the heart into the arteries as well as by the resistance to the flow of blood by the arteries.
The systolic blood pressure represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries.
And the diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes after it contracts.
Systolic blood pressure for most healthy adults falls between 90 and 120 millimeters of mercury .
Normal diastolic blood pressure falls between 60 and 80 mm Hg.
Current guidelines define normal blood pressure as lower than 120/80.
Blood pressure of 140/90, which used to be considered pre-hypertension, is now considered too high.
High Blood Pressure Treatment
The best way to lower blood pressure begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your blood pressure. These are called antihypertensive medicines.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels. Your doctor may prescribe medicine thats easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. This treatment is highly successful. If your blood pressure can only be controlled with medicine, youll need to take the medicine for the rest of your life. It is common to need more than one medicine to help control your blood pressure. Dont stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor. Otherwise, you may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
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What Medications Are Used To Treat High Blood Pressure
Four classes of high blood pressure medications are considered first line when starting treatment. Sometimes other medications are coupled with these first-line drugs to better control your high blood pressure. First-line, pressure-lowering medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors block the production of the angiotensin II hormone, which the body naturally uses to control blood pressure. When angiotensin II is blocked, your blood vessels dont narrow. Examples: lisinopril , enalapril or captopril.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block this same hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels. ARBs work the same way as ACE inhibitors to keep blood vessels from narrowing. Examples: metoprolol , valsartan or losartan.
- Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels, allowing these vessels to relax. Examples: amlodipine , nifedipine , diltiazem .
- Diuretics flush excess sodium from your body, reducing the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill. Examples: indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide or chlorothiazide.
Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon campaign.
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Blood Spots In The Eyes
Image by Alexandre Debieve on Unsplash
This is another warning sign of high blood pressure that must not be ignored. Blood spots occur as red spots in the eye. Such red spots are also called subconjunctival haemorrhages. A subconjunctival haemorrhage occurs when tiny blood vessels under the conjunctiva break, causing blood to be trapped.
In the case of hypertension, subconjunctival haemorrhage occurs when too much pressure on the tiny arterial walls stretches the arteries’ tissues, causing them to damage and break. The arteries and optical nerves of the eyes might get damaged if left untreated.
Warning Signs And Symptoms
Contrary to popular belief, you will not experience a headache and dizziness or even a nosebleed as is often thought to be the typical symptoms of hypertension. These symptoms may sometimes occur but usually it is only present when the hypertension is severe in what is known as a hypertensive crisis. Remember that the most reliable way to diagnose hypertension is by taking a reading with a blood pressure monitor and not by assessing the possible symptoms.
Furthermore these symptoms are not specific for hypertension. Most cases of headaches are due to muscle strain and spasm involving the neck and back. Dizziness can occur for a host of different reasons including low blood glucose levels, anemia, intoxication and lung disease. Similarly there are more common causes of nosebleeds other than hypertension, such as picking the nose, environmental dryness and infections.
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What Are Common Symptoms Of Hypertension
Hypertension is called a silent killer. Most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms. For this reason, it is essential that blood pressure is measured regularly.
When symptoms do occur, they can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.
The only way to detect hypertension is to have a health professional measure blood pressure. Having blood pressure measured is quick and painless. Although individuals can measure their own blood pressure using automated devices, an evaluation by a health professional is important for assessment of risk and associated conditions.
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What Diet Helps Control High Blood Pressure
- Eat foods that are lower in fat, salt and calories, such as skim or 1% milk, fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole-grain rice and pasta.
- Use flavorings, spices and herbs to make foods tasty without using salt. The optimal recommendation for salt in your diet is to have less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day. Don’t forget that most restaurant foods and many processed and frozen foods contain high levels of salt. Use herbs and spices that do not contain salt in recipes to flavor your food. Dont add salt at the table.
- Avoid or cut down on foods high in fat or salt, such as butter and margarine, regular salad dressings, fatty meats, whole milk dairy products, fried foods, processed foods or fast foods and salted snacks.
- Ask your provider if you should increase potassium in your diet. Discuss the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet with your provider. The DASH diet emphasizes adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet while reducing the amount of sodium. Since its rich in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally lower in sodium than many other foods, the DASH diet makes it easier to eat less salt and sodium.
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Treatment Of High Blood Pressure
Treatment for HBP depends on its severity and associated risks of developing other diseases. Treatment options include:
- Make and keep appointments to see your doctor for routine check-ups and follow-up tests.
- ACE inhibitors will help blood vessels relax and open up, leading to a lower blood pressure.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers will help blood vessels open up, leading to a lower blood pressure.
- Beta blockers will help reduce your blood pressure.
- Alpha blockers will help reduce the arteries resistance, relaxing the muscle tone of the vascular walls.
- Alpha-2 receptor agonists will help reduce blood pressure by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic portion of the involuntary nervous system.
- Calcium channel blockers will help relax and open up narrowed blood vessels, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure.
- Combined alpha and beta blockers are used as an IV drip for those patients experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
- Central agonists will help decrease the blood vessels ability to tense up or contract.
- Diuretics water pills will help reduce the amount of fluid retention in your body.
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors will help reduce blood pressure by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Vasodilators will help the muscle in the walls of the blood vessels to relax, allowing the vessel to dilate.
How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.
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Developing A Healthy Diet
A heart-healthy diet is vital for helping to reduce high blood pressure. Its also important for managing hypertension that is under control and reducing the risk of complications. These complications include heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
A heart-healthy diet emphasizes foods that include:
- lean proteins like fish