High blood pressure is something that is becoming more and more common not only in North America, but around the world.
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer as there are no visual signs and is also considered the number one killer around the world by many health professionals and researchers.
This is because the risk that people encounter with having high blood pressure is extremely dangerous; as it can cause a heart attack or stroke. In addition, people who experience any kind of heart disease will most likely encounter having high blood pressure afterward.
In addition to high blood pressure being dangerous, it is also really expensive, it costs the nation billions of dollars each year spent on health care relating to high blood pressure complications.
However, if people start educating themselves about high blood pressure and learn how to reduce the risks; hopefully there can be a drop with regards to the amount of people who do suffer from having high blood pressure as a heath concern.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the amount of force of blood that pushes against the walls of the arteries as it circulates from the heart to different areas of the body. The purpose of having blood pressure is important as it makes sure that you body and blood gets enough nutrients and oxygen through the body to stay healthy and functional.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure occurs when there is too much pressure in the blood vessels that has the function of carrying the blood from the heart to the rest of the body. High blood pressure also happens when the blood pressure is too high in the arteries and the heart has to work harder than normal to get the blood supply pumped throughout the body.
In other words, you can compare high blood pressure to putting too much air into a balloon.
There are 2 Kinds of High Blood Pressure
Primary Hypertension: Is a type of high blood pressure that there are no symptoms and that there is no known cause. The only factor that has a connection with someone having primary hypertension is the link with genetics and being connected to family heath history. Primary hypertension risk increases with age and increases the danger of different kinds of heart disease.
Secondary Hypertension: Is another type of high blood pressure that is caused by other health conditions. It is usually caused by health conditions that are linked to the kidney, arteries, heart and/or endocrine system. Similar to any kind of high blood pressure it can raise risks of heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.
Steps to Measure Blood Pressure at Home
- Rest before measuring your blood pressure. Your heart should be at a resting state.
- Do not smoke or drink 30 minutes before you want to measure your blood test.
- Make sure you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor and make sure the arm is at the same level where your heart is located.
- Apply the cuff on a bare arm
- Do not speak or move when reading your blood pressure.
- Measure your blood pressure twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening.
- Also for a more accurate reading measure your blood pressure a few times in a row in the morning and evening to get an average reading.
Blood Pressure Measurements
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers, millimeters and mercury (mm, Hg). The first number measures the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats called the systolic number. The second number measures the pressure in the arteries between beats called the diastolic number. A healthy blood pressure should be no more than 120/80 mm/Hg in order to be healthy and to avoid health risks.
- Low Risk: -120/80 mm/Hg
- Moderate Risk: 121-139/80-89 mm/Hg
- High Risk: +140/90 mm/Hg
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
With high blood pressure, there are usually no symptoms which are why it is so dangerous. Symptoms usually will not occur even when blood pressure is really high. Some possible symptoms that may show up if blood pressure level is in the danger zone which would include: headaches, dizziness, and nose bleeds.
What are the causes for High Blood Pressure?
- Unhealthy Diet
- Overweight and/or Obesity
- Too Much Salt
- Sleep Apnea
- Kidney Disease
- Family History
Complications with High Blood Pressure
When you are faced with high blood pressure and you do not control the levels it can result and be linked to many health risks and/or conditions. Some of them include:
- Heart attack or Stroke: A heart attack occurs when arteries harden which results in having a loss of blood supply. Or in other words, it is when the blood clots or is blocked in the artery. This is when people experience pain in the chest which is known as a heart attack or stroke.
- Aneurysm: Is due to high blood pressure in some cases which causes arteries to weaken. Normally, arteries are thick, muscular and strong which allow large amounts of pressure. When the walls of the arteries weaken it can cause the artery to pouch outwards creating a bulge. This can cause pain in the chest, abdomen, back, and shoulder blades. It can also cause shortness of breath, cough, difficulty swallowing and stroke or heart attack.
- Heart Failure: Heart failure is when your heart is not pumping blood in the body efficiently and does not always mean that your heart is not working or has stopped. This is caused when the heart muscles are too thick and hard to be able to pump blood throughout the body in a timely manner; sometimes caused by high blood pressure.
Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure
Usually, the first step towards finding out if you have high blood pressure is when your doctor or health care provider uses an inflatable arm cuff around the arm. This will measure your blood pressure numbers to see if you have normal, low or high blood pressure.
If your doctor believes that you have high blood pressure than blood tests are done to confirm results. This is because normally blood pressure changes throughout the day, so a blood test will have more accurate readings.
In addition, you doctor will also ask about your medical history and will conduct a physical examination to find any health related issues that may be connected to high blood pressure.
How to Prevent High Blood Pressure & Maintain Healthy Levels?
When it comes to living a long healthy life it is important to take the right steps to prevent high blood pressure and maintain healthy levels of blood pressure too. There are two main ways to address this issue; the first is through medication and the second is lifestyle changes.
Healthy Diet - consists of having the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables, low-fat milk products, whole grains & lean meat. Also by making sure you eat less of saturated fats and total fats.
Decrease Salt Intake - Make sure that you do not add salt to your meals and look out for foods that contain high amounts of sodium and/or salt.
Physical Activity - make sure you get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity throughout the day. Even losing 5 pounds can have a big difference on your blood pressure.
Limit Alcohol - alcohol is known to increase blood pressure so it is important to limit yourself. It is recommended for women to have no more than one glass per a day and men to have no more than two glasses per a day.
Stop Smoking - do not smoke and avoid places where others are smoking.
Manage Stress Levels - use stress managing techniques like yoga and deep breathing exercises to help cope with stress.
Get Sleep - it is important to get around 7 to 8 hours a sleep a night. As this will help your heart rate to drop this will allow your body to rest and not have your heart to overwork.
Dyazide - is a potassium-sparing and thiazide medication that helps with treating high blood pressure and swelling due to excess body water.
Hydrochlorothiazide - is a pill that helps prevent your body from absorbing too much salt, which can cause fluid retention. Patients are prescribed this medication to treat fluid retention in those with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney disorders, or edema caused by taking steroids or estrogen high blood pressure and fluid retention caused by various conditions, including heart disease.
Triamterene - is used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention caused by various conditions, including heart disease. It causes the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine. This medicine is a potassium-sparing and thiazide diuretic combination used to treat high blood pressure and swelling due to excess body water.
Aliskiren - it is a direct rennin inhibitor that is used alone or with other medicines to treat high blood pressure. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Cardizem CD (Diltiazem CD) - is used to treat high blood pressure and to control chest pain (angina). It works by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not have to pump as hard. It also increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.
Coping with High Blood Pressure
When you are diagnosed with high blood pressure you need to make sure that you do not ignore this health concern as it can be linked to other health concerns down the road. The best thing that you can do at the start is to talk to your doctor to learn about what high blood pressure is and things that you should watch out for.
It is also important to make sure that you maintain a healthy blood pressure levels by having a healthy lifestyle and not stopping the medications that your doctor has given you.
In addition, it is important to learn how to monitor and record your own blood pressure at home. This way you know when to be concerned and you will also have something to show your doctor which can help him or her to choose the right prevention method. This is why it is also important to have regular check-ups.