High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): An Essential Guide That We Should Be Aware About
High blood pressure or hypertension is a physical state in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. It is calculated that nearly one billion people are impacted by high blood pressure. It is also predicted that it will increase to 1.5 billion by 2025. Considering its severity, we’re going to share an essential guide on high blood pressure which will cover its definition, causes, symptoms, treatments, medications, diets & other areas.
So, stay tuned with us!
It will cover below table of contents below:
- What is High Blood Pressure?
- Causes of High Blood Pressure
- Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure
- Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
- Readings of High Blood Pressure
- Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure
- Treatments of High Blood Pressure
- Lifestyle Changes for Hypertension
- Medicines for Hypertension
- Diet for High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Pressure & Covid-19
What is High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure is a situation of physical inconveniences that when your blood pressure increases out of normal state.
In other words, we can say that high blood pressure is a physical condition that the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. The function of arteries is to contain blood from your heart to other parts of your body.
High blood pressure also is known as hypertension. It creates a complex situation for our heart to make it harder to pump blood throughout the body. It also narrows down our arteries which increases resistance.
High blood pressure is also responsible for stroke, kidney failure, heart attack, heart failure, vascular dementia, etc.
The symptoms of high blood pressure usually remain undiscoverable until it creates severe health problems.
This is why you need to check your high blood pressure readings consistently after consulting with your doctors.
In 2018, one survey revealed that high blood pressure was a contributing factor to the death of more than 494,873 people in the United States 2018.
Nearly 108 million adults in the United States have hypertension symptoms.
Usually, men (47%) are more prone to high blood pressure than women (43%).
High blood pressure is more prevalent in non-Hispanic black adults (54%) than non-Hispanic white adults (46%) or Hispanic adults (36%).
One survey in 2011 identified that geographically the higher rates of hypertension exist in Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, Oklahoma & West Virginia.
Usually, there’re two types of high blood pressure but the causes of that hypertension are not properly recognized. Here, we’re explaining two types of hypertension for your clarity:
Primary (essential) hypertension:
The causes of primary hypertension are not still properly known. It develops in the human body gradually over many years. Another name of this hypertension is essential hypertension. Maximum people carry this type of hypertension.
The nature of secondary hypertension is that it occurs quickly. The severity of secondary hypertension is higher than primary hypertension.
Usually, below are the underlying causes of secondary hypertension:
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Thyroid problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Congenital heart defects
- Alcohol addictions
- Side effects of various medications such as cold remedies, birth control pills, decongestants & some over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Illegal drugs abuse such as cocaine
- Some prescribed medications such as some herbal remedies & recreational drugs.
Risk factors of high blood pressure:
High blood pressure tends to have many risk factors:
- Being overweight or obesity
- Family history
- Age is over 65
- Physical inactivity
- Lack of physical exercise
- Disturbing sleeping pattern
- Belong to certain races like the black Caribbean or black African descent.
- Too much alcohol addiction
- Too much caffeine addiction
- Consuming too many salty items
- Not having enough fruits & vegetables
- Too much smoking
- High level of mental stress
- Some chronic physical conditions, such as diabetes, sleep apnea & kidney diseases.
High blood pressure is also available among children. Various risk factors like unhealthy lifestyle, insufficient sleep & poor diet pattern cause high blood pressure for children.
Usually, hypertension is a silent physical condition. Most people with high blood pressure won’t experience any signs & symptoms of high blood pressure.
Its signs only appear only when it reaches its extreme severity. Hence, all should go through a regular physical examination to track high blood pressure or hypertension after discussing with their doctors.
Common signs & symptoms that people with hypertension usually face, such as:
- Stiff headache
- Shortage of breath
- Chest pain
- Blurred vision
- Heart pain
- Facial flushing
- Blood in the urine
While these symptoms occur, need immediate medical intervention. Waiting too long for appearing high blood pressure symptoms may cause life-threatening problems.
If you have a family history of heart disease problems then you need to check up your high blood pressure readings frequently.
Your doctor is most likely to recommend this also. This will help you to measure the signs of high blood pressure before reaching it too extreme.
Readings of High blood pressure:
To control your high blood pressure or hypertension, you need to have a full understanding of your blood pressure chart or numbers.
If you explain those readings or numbers properly, you will be able to keep your high blood pressure at a healthy level. Normally, the unit of measurement for high blood pressure is known as millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
Usually, your total blood pressure is measured by two numbers:
Systolic blood pressure:
The top number is known as systolic blood pressure. It means a physical condition when your heart beats to push blood through your arteries to your entire body.
This force creates a strong pressure on those blood vessels. This state of condition is called systolic blood pressure.
A normal range of systolic pressure is 120. If it exceeds more than 140 that means you’ve high blood pressure symptoms.
It usually refers to the bottom number. This is a physical condition when your heart muscle is between beats. During this time, the heart fills with blood & gets oxygen.
The ideal diastolic blood pressure range exists below 80. If your readings exceed 90 or more then you have high blood pressure problems.
Here, we’re explaining the top 5 categories of high blood pressure:
According to American Heart Association (AHA), the ideal number of Systolic pressure (top number) should be between 90 & less than 120.
On the other hand, the standard number of diastolic pressures should remain between 60 & less than 80.
Usually, a normal reading would be the ideal condition when any blood pressure stays below 120/80 mmHg & above 90/60 mmHg.
When an adult belongs to the normal blood pressure range, they need no medical intervention. But keep this ideal situation continuing, need to maintain a healthy diet & regular exercise for the adults.
Elevated blood pressure:
Elevated blood pressure is a physical condition when blood pressure readings exist between 120-129 systolic & less than 80 mmHg diastolic.
There’s a risk associated with elevated blood pressure if it remains untreated. It might turn out high blood pressure.
Even there is a high potentiality of having heart diseases & strokes.
Hypertension: Stage 1:
Hypertension: Stage 1 is a physical condition when blood pressure number ranges between 130-139 systolic or diastolic pressure reaches between 80-89 mmHg.
Under the hypertension stage 1 situation, the doctor will track your blood pressure carefully. Even they offer medications if the situation wouldn’t improve despite following a healthy lifestyle.
As per the American Heart Association (ASA), only one reading will never determine that you have blood pressure.
The doctor will decide after evaluating the average of blood pressure ranges revealed over the period.
For people with high blood pressure whose age is 65 or more, the doctor usually follows different types of treatment procedures.
If systolic blood pressure of this age range exists more than 130 mm Hg, the doctor might suggest medications & lifestyle changes.
Hypertension: Stage 2:
Hypertension: Stage 2 is a quite severe physical condition. If blood pressure readings belong between 140 for systolic & 90 for diastolic, this situation is known as stage 2 hypertension.
The doctor usually suggests medications & lifestyle changes in this stage.
Some medications might consume in this stage:
- Alpha-blockers for comforting arteries
- Beta-blockers reduce heart rate & make flexible blood vessels.
- Calcium channel blockers relax the blood vessels.
- ACE inhibitor for removing substances that hardened blood vessels.
A hypertensive crisis is a condition if the blood pressure readings suddenly crossed 180/120 mmHg.
Before reaching a decision, do your blood pressure readings again. If the result is the same as the previous then communicate to your doctor immediately.
During this stage, you may encounter a few symptoms like as below:
- Visual changes
- Chest pain
- Blood in your brain
- Difficulty in speaking
- Symptoms of stroke such as paralysis
High blood pressure or hypertension can be seriously dangerous for damaging various organs like the brain, kidney & heart.
Usually, doctors suggest healthy lifestyle changes for people with high blood pressure to control its harmful impact.
Before providing the exact treatment for high blood pressure, your doctor will observe below reading conditions:
- If your blood pressure reading is constantly above 140/90mmHg at your home & you have fewer risk factors for other organs, then your doctor will prescribe healthy lifestyle changes.
- If your blood pressure number is constantly above 140/90mmHg at your home then your doctor will suggest taking a few medicines along with your lifestyle changes.
- If your blood pressure reading is constantly above 160/100mmHg at your home then your doctor will recommend taking medicine to control your high blood pressure. Besides, lifestyle changes also are suggested
Lifestyle Changes for Hypertension:
You can prevent & control your high blood pressure by making necessary changes in your lifestyle.
You can lower your hypertension problem by below few guidelines:
- Having a healthy diet in your daily routine. Dash diet can be the ideal diet which includes a lot of fruits & vegetables, low-fat dairy products, & less saturated & total fat.
- Reducing weight if you’re overweight or obese.
- Being physically active.
- Lower your salt intake to less than 6g(0.2oz) a day, which is almost a teaspoonful.
- Reducing alcohol intake along with other dairy drinks.
- Quitting smoking
- Drinking less caffeine like tea or coffee
- Practicing aerobic exercise (such as daily brisk walk for 30 minutes)
These all steps are super-helpful for lowering your high blood pressure.
Also, they intensify the effects of drugs on high blood pressure.
Medicines for Hypertension:
Usually, a doctor suggests several types of medicines for reducing high blood pressure depending upon the age & severity of the patient’s condition.
Drugs that are suggested to cure high blood pressure are known as antihypertensives.
If you once start taking medicine for high blood pressure, you’ve to take it for life long.
But if your high blood pressure remains under control for several years then your doctor suggests stopping taking medicine.
To manage your high blood pressure, you need to follow doctor guidelines carefully. You shouldn’t miss any dose. It might cause harm due to such negligence.
You might face side effects from your doctor’s suggested medicines.
In such a case, immediately contact your doctor for solving this problem. Don’t follow the solo decision to stop taking medicine.
Diet for High Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure can be reduced by following a proper diet.
Even, following a healthy diet reduces the necessity of medications in the long run.
Unawareness of proper calories & portions of daily food intake causes overweight.
To reduce your hypertension symptoms, it is a fundamental requirement you’ve to know how many calories they have to take daily. Lowering your daily food portions will help you to lose extra weight.
Subsequently, it will reduce your blood pressure symptoms.
Also, try to lower the consumption of having alcohol as it triggers high blood pressure tremendously.
A rich sodium diet is highly responsible for high blood pressure.
You can reduce your sodium intake by below few guidelines:
- Try to maintain a food journal to keep track of the quantity of salt you daily take.
- Try to keep for less than 2300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) in your daily diet.
- Select those food items that have 5% or less of the “daily value” of the salt.
- Abandon those foods which contain 20% or more “daily value” of salt.
- Try to avoid having processed foods, canned foods, fast foods & lunch meats.
Then, you may ask the question:
What food I should eat for reducing high blood pressure?
Well, let’s highlight this fact.
To reduce high blood pressure, you should eat fruits & vegetables which are rich in potassium, magnesium & fiber.
You can select food from the below lists which have good amounts of potassium, magnesium & fiber.
- Beet greens
- Green beans
- Sweet potatoes
- Yogurt (fat-free)
DASH diets are a specialized diet program that is usually designed for preventing high blood pressure.
DASH diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, nuts, whole grains & low-fat dairy. These foods are full of nutritious elements like potassium, magnesium, fiber, calcium & protein.
DASH means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
By following the DASH diet, you can able to reduce your high blood pressure by a few points in just weeks.
Here, you’ll find the suggested servings from each food category for the 2,000-calorie-a-day:
Grains:6 to 8 servings a day:
1 slice of bread,1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta,1-ounce dry cereal.
Vegetables:4-5 daily servings:
1/2 cup cooked vegetable,1 cup raw leafy green.
Fruits:4-5 daily servings:
1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit,1 medium fruit,6 ounces fruit juice,1/4 cup dried fruit.
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products:2-3 daily servings:
1 cup yogurt,8 ounces milk,1.5 ounces cheese.
Lean meat, poultry & fish:2 or fewer servings a day:
3 ounces fish, poultry & cooked meat.
Nuts, seeds & legumes:4-5 servings per week:
1/2 cup cooked dry beans & peas,1/3 cup nuts,2 tablespoons seeds.
Fats & oils:2-3 daily servings:
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise,1 teaspoon vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons light salad dressing.
Sweets: less than 5 servings per week:
1 tablespoon sugar, jam, or jelly.
If you feel hesitant about where to start with the DASH diet, then you can contact your doctor. They will help you to follow DASH guidelines to reduce high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure & Covid-19:
During this Covid-19 outbreak, people with high blood pressure might face severe complications if they are infected with this virus.
What is the real risk?
There is evidence found that elderly people with having heart disease or hypertension are more likely to develop covid-19 symptoms.
Therefore, it’s just critically important to maintain healthy guidelines for diet, medications & lifestyles to lower the symptoms of high blood pressure.
Early data of both China & the US reveals that almost 30% to 50% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients have pre-existing cases of high blood pressure.
Even in Italy, a report discloses that 76% out of 99% of people who have died from the virus had high blood pressure symptoms.
Why do people with high blood pressure are more likely prone to Covid-19?
The reason behind this is the vulnerable immune system. Aging & long- term health conditions weaken the overall immune system of people having high blood pressure.
There’re some misconceptions rose that few medications for high blood pressure are riskier to infect Covid-19. These medicines are ACE inhibitors & angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
This idea is based on the fact that ACE inhibitors & ARBs instigate an enzyme called ACE2 in the body. When the Covid-19 virus infects cells, they need to link with ACE2.
Though some studies revealed that, there’s no proof that after stopping those drugs, Covid-19 will be less severe for those people.
According to the American College of Cardiology & American Heart Association, people with high blood pressure shouldn’t quit their prescribed medicine. If you don’t follow the medical recommendation, the number of cardiac patients will be outweighed the number of Covid patients in the hospital.
In conclusion, we can say that high blood pressure is a quite common phenomenon across the world. So, without procrastinating, those who’re leading unhealthy lifestyles need urgent modification. Only constructive transformation of lifestyle like quitting smoking, eating healthy & balanced food along with practicing regular exercise can avert the risk & complications of the high blood pressure along with associated other heart diseases.