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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Hypertension

Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure, takes place when the blood pressure gets increased to an unhealthy level. It is evaluated both, by the amount of blood the heart pumps as well as by the resistance amount to your blood flow in the arteries. The more blood a heart pumps as well as the narrower the arteries, the higher it would be an individual’s blood pressure. It is the condition in which the long-term force of your blood against the artery walls is sufficiently high to eventually cause health concerns, like heart disease. 

  • It is quite common among people, and if it goes untreated, Hypertension can result in serious illnesses, which include heart disease, stroke, eye problems, and kidney failure. 
  • It often develops over years however, you do not notice any symptoms. 
  • Some people with high BP might have shortness of breath, nosebleeds, or headaches, however, these high blood pressure symptoms are not particular. 
  • They don’t often occur until the problem has attained a life-threatening or severe stage. 
  • However, even without the symptoms, high BP can lead to damage to the organs and blood vessels, specifically the heart, brain, kidneys, and brain. 
  • Always remember that almost 1/3rd of those people who suffer from high BP does not know about it. 

Please note that early identification is significant. Daily BP readings can assist you as well as the doctor in observing any modifications. In case your BP is high, the doctor might have you check the reading over some weeks for seeing if the number remains the same or decreases to usual levels. Once you know that you have High BP, you can work with the doctor for controlling the same. 

Read Also: How Low Blood Sugar Affects Your Body?

When to see the doctor

It is suggested to have your BP checked as a part of the daily appointment of your doctor and, at the same time, maintain a healthy high blood pressure diet. Ask the doctor for the BP reading at least every 2 years beginning at the age of 18 years. In case your age is 40 or more, or you are between the age group of 180-39 with a high risk of Hypertension, ask him for the annual reading. Also, make sure that your BP is checked in both arms for determining in case there is any difference. Moreover, using a proper-sized arm cuff is a must. 

  • In case you do not daily see the doctor, you might get the free Hypertension screening at the health resource fair or the other location in the community you live in. 
  • Also, you can find the machines in a few stores which will measure your BP without any charges. 
  • Public BP machines, like the ones found in the pharmacies, may offer useful details about the same, however, they might have a few limitations as their accuracy depends upon many factors which include the machines’ proper use and appropriate cuff size. 
  • High BP is the hugely symptomless “silent killer”. 
  • In case you ignore the BP because you think that a specific sign or symptom will alert you to the issue, you are taking a huge risk with your life. 
  • In case you experience nosebleeds or headaches as well as are otherwise unwell, reach out to the medical professional as they could be the symptoms of other wellness conditions. 

Always remember that treatment for high blood pressure includes both healthy lifestyle modifications and prescription medication. This way, you can get the treatment done on time, and avoid health problems, which include heart attack as well as stroke. 

Symptoms for High BP

It might take years, or maybe decades, for a condition to attain levels that are sufficiently severe that the symptoms become apparent. Even then, these symptoms might be attributed to other concerns. In case your BP is high, there might be a few symptoms to look for so that controlling high blood pressure remains a convenient task. 

  • Confusion or fatigue
  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest Pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nosebleeds
  • Pounding in the neck, ears, or chest

In case you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult the doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms need instant medical attention. They do not take place in everybody with High BP, however waiting for the symptom of this condition to occur can prove to be fatal. 

For instance, in case you have a family history of heart disease or have the risk factors to develop this condition, the doctor might suggest that you have the BP checked twice every year. This supports you as well as the doctor in staying on the top of any possible concerns before they turn out to be problematic. 

  • Dizziness – While dizziness can be the side effect of a few Hypertension medicines, it is not caused due to high BP. But, it must not be avoided, particularly in case the onset is unexpected. Loss of coordination or balance, trouble walking, or sudden dizziness is all the warning symptoms of the stroke. High BP is the topmost risk factor for stroke. 
  • Blood spots in eyes – Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (blood spots in your eyes) are more usual in those people who have high BP or diabetes, however, neither condition causes blood spots. Floaters in your eyes are not associated with high BP. But, an ophthalmologist i.e., the eye doctor might be capable of detecting damage to your optic nerve caused by the untreated high BP. 
  • Facial Flushing – This condition takes place when the blood vessels in your face dilate. Facial flushing can occur unexpectedly or in response to specific triggers like cold weather, sun exposure, wind, spicy foods, skincare products, and hot drinks. Also, it can occur with exposure to hot water or heat, emotional stress, exercise, and alcohol consumption, all of this can boost BP temporarily. While this condition might occur when the blood pressure is more than usual, hypertension is not the cause of facial flushing. 

Symptoms in women

Factors which can enhance Hypertension risk in ladies include – 

  • Use of birth-control medications
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy

During the time of pregnancy, Hypertension can be the sign of preeclampsia, the potentially threatening condition which can impact the woman as well as her unborn child. 

Preeclampsia symptoms include – 

  • Vision changes
  • Headaches
  • Swelling due to Edema
  • Abdominal pain

Symptoms in Children

  • Heart issues
  • A Tumor
  • Thyroid concerns
  • Kidney issues
  • The genetic condition, like Cushing’s syndrome

But, with adults, symptoms include – 

  • Fatigue
  • A Headache
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blurred Vision 

Please note that they might also have the signs of another health condition. 

Symptoms in teenagers

Check out these possible medical aspects to determine whether you have normal high blood pressure or the reading has increased – 

  • Kidney disease
  • Elements of metabolic syndromes, like Type 2 Diabetes
  • The vascular disease that impacts blood vessels
  • Endocrine diseases which impacts hormones
  • Any neurological condition

Symptoms in infants

  • Seizures
  • The failure to thrive
  • Irritability
  • Respiratory distress
  • Lethargy

Very young babies and newborns can, at times, have Hypertension due to the underlying health issue, like heart or kidney diseases. 

Other symptoms will depend upon the condition which is causing Hypertension. 

What causes sudden high blood pressure?

BP is offered as the reading of 2 numbers, like 110/70. The (systolic) higher number is the pressure whenever your heartbeats. The lower number, diastolic displays the pressure between your heartbeats, while a relaxed heart is refilling with the blood. Usual BP readings are less than 120/80. The reason behind Hypertension is unknown. At times, conditions of your adrenal gland or kidney are the causes of Hypertension. 

Below-mentioned are the factors which might increase your risk for Hypertension – 

  • Obesity or overweight
  • Smoking
  • Too much salt intake
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Stress
  • Too much alcohol consumption (over 1-2 drinks daily)
  • Genetics
  • Older age
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Family history of high BP
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Thyroid and Adrenal disorders

There are 2 kinds of Hypertension and each one of them has a different cause. 

Primary Hypertension

Also known as Essential Hypertension, this type gets developed over time without any recognizable cause. The majority of people have Primary Hypertension. Researchers still don’t have any idea about what mechanisms cause BP to eventually increase. The blend of various factors might play a huge role. 

Let’s take a look at these factors – 

  • Physical changes – In case something in the body changes, you might start experiencing problems all over it. Hypertension might be among those concerns. For instance, it is believed that alterations in the kidney function because of aging might upset the natural balance of fluid and salts of your body. This modification might cause BP in your body to enhance. 
  • Genes – A few people get genetically predisposed to High BP. This might be from genetic abnormalities or gene mutations inherited from the parents. 
  • Environment – With time, unhealthy lifestyle decisions such as poor diet and lack of physical activity can take a toll on the body and cause dangerously high blood pressure levels. Lifestyle decisions can result in weight issues. Being obese or overweight can boost the risk for High BP. 

Secondary Hypertension

It often takes place instantly as well as can turn out to be more critical as compared to primary hypertension. 

Various conditions which might cause the same include – 

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Kidney Disease
  • Issues with the thyroid
  • Congenital heart deficiencies
  • Usage of illegal drugs
  • Side-effects of medicines
  • Adrenal gland issues
  • Alcohol Abuse/Chronic use
  • Specific endocrine tumors

Elements that boost BP can cause escalated levels. Medicines like cold remedies, birth control pills, OTC pain relievers, decongestants, as well as few prescription drugs might cause a temporary increment in your blood pressure. Atherosclerosis i.e., the build-up of the fatty deposits in your arteries can also result in pre-hypertension. 

A few conditions which might result in pre-hypertension include – 

  • Kidney Disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Thyroid disease
  • Adrenal disease

Hypertension can take place when a few changes occur in your body or if you are born with particular genetic features that cause the health issue. At times, there is no obvious cause and in a case like that, the doctor will diagnose Primary Hypertension. Consuming the high-fat diet, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight, use of a few medications, and smoking tobacco also enhance the risk. 

CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) is a general cause of Hypertension since your kidneys no longer filter out the liquid and this additional fluid results in high BP. Also, a few ethnic groups are more prone to Hypertension and are more likely to get high blood pressure symptoms as compared to others. For example, African-Americans have a higher risk than any other ethnic group. 

Treatment alternatives for Hypertension

Several factors assist the doctor to decide the most suitable treatment choice for you. These elements include your Hypertension type as well as what causes have been recognized. 

Primary Hypertension treatment choices

In case the doctor diagnoses an individual with primary hypertension, changes in your lifestyle might support a decrease in the High BP. If the lifestyle changes are not alone enough, or in case they stop being effectual, the doctor might prescribe medication. 

Secondary Hypertension treatment choices

In case the doctor discovers the underlying problem causing your high BP, the treatment will aim at that other condition. For instance, in case the medicine you have begun taking is causing you elevated blood pressure, the doctor will give other medications that do not have this side effect. At times, high BP is continuous despite the treatment for the underlying cause. In a situation like this, the doctor might work with you for developing lifestyle modifications along with prescribing medicines to assist decrease Hypertension. 

Treatment strategies for high BP often develop. What worked, in the beginning, might become not much useful with time. The doctor will consistently work with you for refining your treatment. 

Exercise

It is another lifestyle element that can decrease Blood Pressure. It is suggested that the adults get approximately 150 minutes every week of average exercise. It can include cardiovascular exercises like bicycling, walking, gardening, or any other aerobic exercise. The muscle-strengthening activities are suggested at least twice in a week as well as stretching makes you flexible along with helping in preventing injuries. Check with the doctor if you are inactive currently as well as wish to begin exercising. You can also make it more fun through performing activities you enjoy or look for the exercise buddy to go along with you. 

The DASH Diet

Consuming a proper high blood pressure diet can offer you long-term health benefits. One of the diets designed for promoting lower BP is called the DASH diet i.e., Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It suggests eating more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dietary items, whole grains, nuts, fish, and poultry. Sweets, red meat, and saturated fats must be avoided. This diet can decrease BP within just 2 weeks. Also, it can help in reducing your sodium intake. 

Below-mentioned is the DASH diet recommended regular intake – 

  • 4-5 servings of the vegetables
  • 7-8 servings of grain
  • 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy items
  • 4-5 servings of fruits
  • 2 or fewer servings of fish, poultry, and meat
  • 2-3 servings of oils and fats

On this diet, seeds, dry beans, and seeds must be limited to 4-5 servings every week. Also, sweets must be limited to less than 5 servings every week. 

Medicines

Traditional drugs to treat Hypertension are – 

Calcium Channel Blockers – CCBs or Calcium Channel Blockers focus on reducing calcium levels in your blood vessels. It will relax your vascular smooth muscle which causes it to contract less forcefully, arteries to broaden, along with BP to go down. CCBs might not be suitable all the time for those individuals who have a history of liver disease, circulation concerns, or heart disease. Your doctor can suggest consuming CCBs as well as which of its type is secure to utilize. 

Beta-blockers – They were once famous to treat high BP, however, doctors only prescribe them now while other treatments haven’t been effective. They decrease the heart rate as well as decrease the force of your heartbeat which causes a reduction in BP. 

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors – ACE inhibitors block a few hormones’ actions that regulate BP, like Angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes your arteries to narrow as well as reduce blood volume, which are more effective in controlling high blood pressure. They can decrease your blood supply to kidneys while making them less effective. Resultantly, it is important for people who take ACE inhibitors to have daily blood tests. 

There are a lot of devices to measure BP. The doctor will usually utilize the manual sphygmomanometer with a stethoscope. It has the pressure cuff which they put around the arm of a person. These digital devices are suitable for home usage, as well as they are also available from the pharmacies and you can buy them online too. 

Normal - Less than 120/80 mm Hg

Escalated – 120-129/80 mm Hg. The doctor will suggest you adopt lifestyle changes at this stage for returning the BP to a normal range. 

Stage 1 High BP – 130-139/80 mm Hg

Stage 2 High BP – More than 140/90 mm Hg

Stage 3 High BP – 180/120 mm Hg or beyond

 

Check out these tips to live with High BP patient – 

High Blood Pressure often lasts for your entire life, and that is why following the cautious management strategy is vital. Keeping Hypertension under control can decrease the risk of stroke, kidney failure, and heart disease as well as can improve the quality of life. 

Below-mentioned are the tips to handle Hypertension – 

  • Boost physical activity (at least half an hour for 5 days per week)
  • Consume BP medications, if prescribed by your doctor
  • Go through nutrition labels as well as consume low sodium and salt foods
  • Maintain the healthy weight
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and grains

As per NCCIH (National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health), below-mentioned things can assist you to avoid even the normal high blood pressure level – 

  • Biofeedback as well as transcendental medicine
  • Yoga, meditation, tai chi, and qi gong
  • Supplements like flaxseed, garlic, probiotics, black or green tea, roselle, and cocoa. 

The plant-based diet is a simple way of increasing fiber as well as reducing the number of unhealthy trans and saturated fat as well as sodium you consume from meat and dairy foods. Enhance the number of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and leafy greens you are consuming. Rather than red meat, choose healthier lean proteins such as tofu, poultry, or fish. 

Avoid the arbitrary goal of “losing weight”, and rather, interact with the doctor regarding the healthy weight for you. The CDC (Centres for Disease Control & Prevention) advises the weight loss goal of 1 or 2 pounds per week. It means to begin by consuming 500 calories less every day as compared to what you usually consume. Then, decide on which physical exercise you can begin for reaching that aim. In case exercising 5 nights per week is way too difficult for including in the schedule, concentrate on 1 more night than what you do currently. When that fits perfectly into the schedule, then you can add another night. 

All in all, the most suitable way of preventing complications as well as avoiding issues is by catching high BP early. You can go to the doctor’s office and get the BP reading, or the doctor might ask you for buying the BP cuff for taking the readings at your house. Keep the log of the BP readings as well as take it to your regular doctor appointments. It can support him in viewing any possible issues before your condition goes to a more advanced level. 

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