Hypertension or high blood pressure is perhaps the most commonly known condition today. Not just amongst the elderly, hypertension is now prevalent even among the youth as well as kids. The worst about this condition is that if left untreated, it may start affecting the other vital organs in the body such as the heart and the kidneys. Yes, this can be fatal too.
Hypertension is a medical condition, in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is so high that it can eventually damage the arteries and cause heart diseases as well. Typically, this is related to old age – nonetheless, in several cases, even young people may get this cardiovascular disease; the causes may however differ in both the cases. Through proper medication and diet one can get back to living a normal life; in most cases however, hypertension remains a life-long condition.
The normal blood pressure reading is 120(systolic blood pressure)/80(diastolic blood pressure) – anything more than this can be a case of worry. This reading may differ at different times in a day – it could be on the higher side in the morning or soon after an exercise session. Nevertheless, if the reading continues to be higher during most parts of the day whether or not you are exercising, it could be the case of hypertension. Seek urgent medical help to bring down the pressure and also to limit the damage.
Hypertension causes can be grouped as primary (essential) and secondary hypertension. In the former, the cause is generally unknown; there are a number of sub-causes that ultimately contribute towards increasing the pressure in the blood. This includes:
Age: Age has a lot to do with your blood pressure. Anybody after age 45 years is generally at a higher risk of getting this disease; it only increases as you grow older.
Gender:Men are more susceptible to getting this disease, as compared to women – especially, at a younger age. However, once a woman is over 65 years of age, she is equally prone to getting it.
Heredity :Hypertension is also influenced by family history. Chances of a person getting hypertension increases if one of his parents or both or close relatives are suffering from high blood pressure conditions.
Salt sensitivity: Certain people may be more sensitive to salt than others. These people are more at risk of contracting this disease, irrespective of the age or gender. To treat such people, a low salt-diet is advised.
Related to diet and lifestyle – Alcohol, caffeine, no exercise, stress, etc. are causes that can lead one to high blood pressure conditions. In addition, smoking and obesity also contribute towards increasing the blood pressure in a person.
To treat a person with essential hypertension, changes are made to the person’s lifestyle, diet, and daily habits. However, some of these traits may be beyond our control such as heredity, age, and gender – for people at higher risk due to these reasons, doctors often recommend them to lead a healthy life (avoid alcohol, smoking, high-salt intake, etc.) and exercise regularly to keep the chances low.
Causes of secondary hypertension are generally another condition(s) or disease(s) that may have escalated the blood pressure. Treating the main cause(s) helps reduce the blood pressure conditions in such people. Some of the common causes in this category are chronic diseases such as kidney problems (renal hypertension), thyroid dysfunction, sleep apnea, pregnancy, use of birth control pills and so on.
Besides the above, there is yet another cause of hypertension and that is high blood pressure itself. This is known as malignant hypertension and it can be quite fatal as it affects a person all of a sudden and attacks pretty swiftly. In this condition, the blood pressure increases to 180/120 and above which can lead to organ damage, and create life threatening conditions. This can also cause swelling in the brain and the affected person may be pushed to a coma-like state.
High blood pressure attacks swiftly, yet silently. In most cases, the affected person doesn’t even realize that his blood pressure is high. Only when he starts noticing the symptoms and seeks doctor’s help does he learn about it. By then, the damage, for many, is already done. So, here’re the warning signs that you could look for:
Problems in the vision, with or without headache
High blood pressure often results in severe complications – if left untreated, these complications will only aggravate. Under the expert guidance of a doctor and via appropriate medicines, diet and activity chart a person can be treated effectively and the complications reduced. So, the early you seek medical help, the better it is for you. Some complications that high blood pressure patients often face include:
To identify whether or not you are suffering from hypertension, your doctor may take multiple readings of your high blood pressure on the special medical device called Sphygmomanometer. Yes, that’s the device you take your blood pressure readings on. He may typically measure the pressure at different times during the day.
Once he is sure about the reading, he may put you on medicines that are ideally a combination of diuretics, beta blocker, ACE inhibitors and so on. He may also suggest you a few lifestyle changes such as avoiding sodium consumption (or limiting it to a more acceptable measure), getting introduced to exercises or an active lifestyle, eating more fruits and vegetables, refraining from smoking, alcohol, tobacco use, and losing weight (in case of obese people).
Although it may appear difficult, coping with hypertension isn’t that tricky… you just have to alter a few activities you do in a day and you’d start noticing the benefits instantly. You’d need to: