While your heart is pumping, your blood pressure is measured based on how much blood passes through your blood vessels and how much resistance it meets. When your blood vessels are consistently too squeezed, you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Here we discuss hypertension, its symptoms, causes, how it’s treated, and more.
How does high blood pressure affect the body?
Arteries, which are narrow blood vessels, create more resistance to blood flow. If your arteries are narrow, your blood pressure will be higher since there will be more resistance.
Increased pressure in the long run can cause health issues, including heart disease.
The prevalence of hypertension is quite high. In fact, a majority of American adults diagnosed with this condition since the guidelines changed in 2017.
Over the course of several years, hypertension typically develops. Symptoms are rarely apparent. Despite its absence of symptoms, high blood pressure can cause damage to your blood vessels and organs, including your brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys.
The importance of early detection cannot underestimated. You and your doctor can detect changes in blood pressure through regular blood pressure checks. You may need to see your doctor if your blood pressure remains elevated for a few weeks or if it returns to normal levels.
Hypertension is treated with both prescription medication and healthy lifestyle changes.
Health issues, such as heart attacks and strokes, can result from not treating the condition.
Blood pressure readings: how to understand them
A blood pressure reading made up of two numbers. (Top number) Systolic pressure is the pressure at which your arteries contract when you beat your heart and pump blood out. As the name implies, diastolic pressure represents the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats.
A blood pressure reading for an adult is classified into five categories:
Blood pressure should not exceed 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
The systolic and diastolic pressure is higher than 120 and 129 mm Hg, respectively.
Blood pressure is not usually treated medication. Doctors will usually advise lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure.
Hypertension Stage 1: The systolic number is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
In stage 2 hypertension,
the systolic or diastolic number is 140 mm Hg or higher.
A hypertensive crisis is when a systolic number exceeds 180 mm Hg or a diastolic number exceeds 120 mm Hg. This level of blood pressure requires immediate medical attention. When this high blood pressure results in symptoms such as chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or vision changes, you should go to the emergency room.
Pressure cuffs used to take blood pressure readings. You need a cuff that fits correctly to get an accurate reading. An ill-fitting cuff can result in inaccurate readings.
Children and teenagers have different blood pressure readings. When your child’s blood pressure is monitored, ask the doctor what healthy ranges are for them.
Hypertension symptoms : what are they?
Generally, hypertension is a silent condition. Very few people will experience any symptoms.
Symptoms may not become apparent for years or even decades before the condition becomes severe enough to cause obvious symptoms. When symptoms are apparent, it may be due to other factors.
Severe hypertension has the following symptoms:
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage (blood spots in the eyes)
In contrast to popular belief, severe hypertension isn’t typically associated with nosebleeds or headaches, except when it’s treated as a hypertensive crisis.
Regular blood pressure readings will let you know if you have hypertension. Every time you visit the doctor, your blood pressure is checked. Ask your doctor about your blood pressure and other readings you need to watch your blood pressure if you only get your annual physical.
In cases where you are at risk for heart disease or have a family history of the condition, your doctor may recommend that you have your blood pressure measured every two years. Stay on top of any possible problems before they become problematic by communicating with your doctor.
How does high blood pressure occur?
Hypertension comes in two forms. They are caused due to different factors.
Primary hypertension (essential hypertension)
Primary hypertension is also known as essential hypertension. Over time, this type of hypertension develops. Almost everyone has this type of hypertension. Essential hypertension is typically caused coz of a combination of factors:
People with hypertension genetically predisposed to it. Your parents may have
- inherited genetic abnormalities or gene mutations.
- Hypertension is more prevalent in individuals over 65 years old.
- Hypertension is more prevalent among Black non-Hispanic individuals.
- Being obese can lead to several heart problems, including hypertension.
- A habitual drinker may have an increased risk for hypertension, as may a man who drinks more than two drinks per day.
- Low fitness levels are associated with hypertension when you live a very sedentary lifestyle.
- People suffering from diabetes or metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk of developing hypertension.
- The daily consumption of more than 1.5 grams of sodium per day is associated with hypertension in a small study.
In contrast to primary hypertension, secondary hypertension can come on quickly and become more severe. There are several conditions that can lead to secondary hypertension, including:
The disease of the kidneys obstructive sleep apnea congenital heart disease thyroid problems mediction side effects illegal drug use chronic alcohol consumption problems with the adrenal glands and some endocrine tumors
How to diagnose high blood pressure
Taking a blood pressure reading is all it takes to diagnose hypertension. A doctor will usually take your blood pressure during a routine visit. When your next appointment doesn’t include a blood pressure reading, request one.
Blood pressure readings may be requested over a few days or weeks if your blood pressure is elevated. Only a few readings are usually necessary to diagnose hypertension.
If you have an ongoing problem, your doctor may require more readings. Having a stressful environment like being in a doctor’s office can increase blood pressure because your surroundings can influence your blood pressure. In addition, blood pressure changes throughout the day.
Your doctor may conduct more tests to eliminate any underlying conditions if your blood
pressure remains high. Tests may include:
- tests to determine your cholesterol level and other blood tests An electrocardiogram (ECG, sometimes called an EKG) tracks the electrical activity of your heart.
- Heart and kidney ultrasounds.
- Monitor your blood pressure at home over a 24-hour period with a home blood pressure monitor.
Tests such as these can help your doctor identify any secondary causes of your elevated blood pressure. The doctor can also examine the effects high blood pressure may have had on your organs.
He or she may then decide whether or not to treat your hypertension. The sooner your hypertension is treated, the lower your risk of permanent damage.
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