High Blood Pressure: What You Should Know

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Raised high blood pressure levels impacts 1.13 billion people around the globe, however, due to the low level of awareness, many people are unaware of how to manage this medical condition. This article aims to shed light on all aspects of Blood Pressure, its symptoms and how you can maintain a healthy level.

High Blood Pressure

What is Blood Pressure?

Human Blood flows in ‘closed circulation’. It is pumped by the heart and reaches other organs and tissues through arteries and veins. Blood pressure refers to pressure exerted on the artery walls by the blood flowing in it. The pressure by the blood when the heart is beating is systolic pressure and pressure while heart rests between beats is diastolic pressure.

Blood Pressure Range Table:

Blood Pressure reading has two values, the upper reading is the Systolic Pressure and lower reading is the Diastolic Pressure.

Blood pressure can be categorized as high or low based on the Systolic and diastolic reading and can be classified further as the following:

Blood Pressure Type Systolic (mm/Hg) Diastolic Blood Pressure (mm Hg)
Low Blood Pressure < 100 < 60
Desired Range (normal / Physiological range) 100-120 80
Pre-hypertension 120-139 80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension 160-179 100-109
Hypertensive urgency > 180 > 110

 

So, What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is never constant and fluctuates throughout the day. It drops when a person is in a relaxed state or asleep and elevates with strenuous physical activity or exercise. However, a prolonged state of high or low blood pressure can impact the health of a person.

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition where values of either systolic or diastolic pressure or both the pressures are high for a prolonged period of time.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure:

The following symptoms may be witnessed in a person with high blood pressure:

  • Severe headache
  • Blurred Vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Awareness of one’s heartbeat (Palpitation)
  • Bleeding from nose & ears
  • Chest pain (Angina)

Some individuals may not present with any of the above symptoms.

Complications Associated with High Blood Pressure:

If let uncontrolled then High Blood Pressure could lead to further complications, some of which are stated below

  • Increase the pressure on artery and heart
  • Loss of cognitive skills
  • Aneurysm (enlargement of blood vessel leading to pooling of blood)
  • Dementia
  • Damage to artery that supplies the eye
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Stroke
  • Renal (Kidney) Dysfunction

Who Are More Prone to Hypertension?

People who are under constant stress, lead a sedentary lifestyle, suffer from obesity or weight loss problems, consume excessive salt in their food. Additionally, individuals who have habits like cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are at high risk of high blood pressure levels. An individual’s genetic factors is also a leading cause of high blood pressure.

Medical conditions like Sleep Apnea, Renal (kidney) dysfunction and Thyroid problems may lead to hypertension. High blood pressure may also occur during pregnancy which is known as Gestational Hypertension.

Also Read: 10 ways to keep your Blood Pressure in Control

How to Control Hypertension?

Maintaining your blood pressure requires a long-term management plan. When diagnosed with high Blood Pressure an individual need to consult a physician to ensure that the blood pressure levels stay within physiological (normal) levels.

  • Take medications as prescribed: a physician may prescribe medications that lower blood pressure levels.  The medication levels and dosage may vary according to a person’s gender or age or the complexity of the blood pressure levels.
  • Dietary changes: A person with Hypertension must consume low sodium content in his food. Carbohydrates, oily and starch rich food must be avoided. Whole grains, proteins and fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy must be consumed.
  • Exercise Regularly: Exercising not only reduces blood pressure levels but also reduces stress levels. Depending on your fitness level, age and agility, running, yoga, swimming, walking, cardio workouts or even aerobics is advisable. Yoga is recommended for those over the age of 60 or those who have problems such as arthritis or knee/joint pain.
  • Quit Alcohol and Smoking: Consumption of Alcohol not only induces a rise in blood pressure levels but it can also impact the efficiency of blood pressure medications. Smoking leads to arteriosclerosis (hardening) of artery walls and that in turns leads to higher blood pressure levels. Nicotine gum, patches and e-cigarettes can help in breaking the habit.
  • Avoid caffeine: Caffeine in present in coffee, tea and green tea and can have a big impact on increasing blood pressure levels. Individuals who seek to lower blood pressure levels must avoid these beverages. Instead, drinking beverages infused with natural herbs or decaffeinated drinks is a healthy alternative.
  • Avoid Self-medication: The body takes time to adapt to anti-hypertensive medication. Doctors usually alter the dosage or type of medications depending on the blood pressure levels. This can be a challenging phase for an individual with hypertension, hence self-medication should be avoided. No medication must be taken or discontinued without the doctor’s advice. It is important to consult and inform your doctor at every stage.
  • Gestational Hypertension: in some pregnancies there can be a rise in blood pressure levels. A pregnant woman must consult her gynecologist and must not consume any medication without supervision as it can impact the fetus.
  • Regular checkups: A patient suffering from high blood pressure must visit the doctor regularly to ensure blood pressure levels are under control. It is advisable to check blood pressure levels every fortnight or month. An easy solution to monitor blood pressure levels is to use automatic blood monitors that can be bought in the market.
  • Check cholesterol and creatinine levels:  high blood pressure is associated with cholesterol and high creatinine levels; hence it is advisable to simultaneously keep a check on cholesterol and maintain it if its high.
  • Involve family and friends: hypertension involves long-term management, it is always advised to involve family members or close friends to ensure motivation levels are maintained through the course of journey.

This article is an informative guide and aims to help you understand various aspects of Blood Pressure and how you can maintain the proper levels. Medlife does not recommend self-medication, if you or any of your loved ones have elevated blood pressure levels it is imperative that you visit a health care specialist at the earliest.

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