The heart act as a pump in our body, it pushes the blood against the walls of our blood vessels to distribute the blood to the whole body. This blood exerts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels, which is called blood pressure. Sometimes the pressure becomes higher than normal and causes serious health issues.
The ideal blood pressure reading is usually considered to be 120/80mmHg. Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you are at risk of developing high blood pressure. If you don't take treatment to keep your blood lower, it may lead to serious health problems.
Everyone's blood pressure will be slightly different. What is considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else? If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might recommend that you monitor it more often at home.
Your doctor will also recommend making lifestyle changes along with medications to lower your blood pressure. High Blood pressure is common in both genders. However, researchers show that men (53%) have a high percentage of high blood pressure than women (45%).
What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?
The following are the risk factors for high blood pressure.
1. Heart disease
3. Old age
5. Lake of exercise
6. Increased intake of salt in food
8. Family history
9. Overconsumption of alcohol
10 . Kidney disease
11. Metabolic syndrome
- Cholesterol in blood vessels
You should take timely precautions to lower these risk factors.
What are the types of high blood pressure?
- Primary hypertension
If you have high blood pressure, but the reason is unknown, this is called primary hypertension. This type of high blood pressure is common in most people.
- Secondary hypertension
If high blood pressure results from other diseases, it is called secondary hypertension. Treating the disease can bring your blood pressure to a normal range.
What are systolic pressure and diastolic pressure?
- Systolic blood pressure:
Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. The systolic pressure is the higher number during blood pressure measurement. The force at which your heart pumps blood around your body is called systolic blood pressure.
- Diastolic blood pressure
The diastolic pressure is the lower number in recorded blood pressure. The resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels is called diastolic blood pressure.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
Following are the sign and symptoms of high blood pressure:
2. Bleeding through the nose
3. Shortness of breath and chest pain
5. Low heartbeats
8. Nausea and vomiting
9. Blurred vision
10. Blood in the urine
- cardiovascular disease
What happens if you have persistent high blood pressure?
Untreated high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious health problems, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, kidney disease, and heart failure.
High blood pressure may harm your sex life. People with high blood pressure have diminished penile blood flow as compared to people with normal blood pressure. High blood pressure narrows the penile vessels and reduces blood flow.
What is a hypertensive crisis?
A hypertensive crisis is a condition where the blood pressure reaches above 180/120mmHg, which could lead to a heart attack or kidney disease.
You may also have another serious health condition. Blood pressure is considered a silent killer, and most of the time, it doesn't cause headaches or bleeding through the nose. But this can happen with very high blood pressure.
This condition can be managed with a step-wise approach. Your doctor will not lower high blood pressure abruptly, as it can cause serious consequences.
A diet that helps to prevent high blood pressure levels;
Certain types of diets can help you lower your blood pressure.
- Controlling salt intake
It has been noticed that people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure by 6 mm Hg by limiting salt intake to less than 7 grams per day. People who take more salt can develop high blood pressure.
- Low-fat diet
Foods that are rich in fats can increase the level of cholesterol in your body. This extra cholesterol aggregates in the blood vessels of the heart and narrows them, as a result, the blood pressure increases. Therefore it is important to take a fat-free diet to control blood pressure.
- Green vegetables
Green vegetables are a natural source of potassium. Potassium helps to excrete more sodium through urine and lowers the level of sodium in our bodies.
Consequently, a lower level of sodium in your blood can lower your high blood pressure.
Certain fruits like grapes and oranges have strong effects on the body to lower blood pressure. These fruits contain minerals and vitamins that help to keep your vessels healthy and strong.
Blood pressure medications
Your doctor may need to try different medications until they find one or a combination that works for you. Some of the medications used to treat high blood pressure include;
Beta-blockers are a group of drugs that act on our heart muscles and reduce our heart rate. Therefore these drugs reduce the amount of blood pumped from the heart to blood vessels.
As a result, the blood exerts less pressure on the blood vessel walls and lowers the elevated blood pressure. Beta-blockers are used with other blood pressure medications for treating high blood pressure.
- Anti-Diuretic drugs
This group of drugs acts on our kidneys and makes the kidney able to excrete more water and sodium from our bodies. The water and sodium are excreted in the urine.
People taking anti-diuretic drugs have a higher urge to urinate as compared to normal people. Thiazide is widely used among anti-diuretic drugs to treat high blood pressure.
- Calcium channel blockers
These drugs block the calcium channel present in the cardiac muscles, which prevents calcium from entering the muscles.
The muscles become relaxed and contract less forcefully, the heart pumps at a slower rate and the blood pressure reduces.
Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker drug that is used to lower blood pressure. However, these drugs are not suitable for people who have a history of heart failure.
- Disease control
Patients who have secondary hypertension can be managed by treating their underlying cause.
To learn more about high blood pressure, see our information page here.
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