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Home > Symptom > High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Overview of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure can be dangerous if it is not treated. It puts you at risk for a stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and other medical problems. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk by changing what you eat, exercising more and taking your medication.

What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?

Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure or force of blood as it pushes against your blood vessel walls. When you have high blood pressure (hypertension), this means the pressure against these walls in your body is consistently too high. High blood pressure is often called the "silent killer" because you may not know anything is wrong, but the damage is still occurring within your body.

Your blood pressure reading will have two numbers. The first number is the systolic blood pressure, which measures how much force your blood vessels are being put under when your heart beats or contracts. The second number is diastolic blood pressure, which measures how much force your blood vessels are under when they relax between beats.

What are the Types of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?

Your doctor will determine which of two types of high blood pressure you have:

  • Primary (also called essential) high blood pressure: This most prevalent form of high blood pressure has age and poor habits like insufficient exercise as its causes.
  • Secondary high blood pressure: This sort of high blood pressure can be brought on by a variety of health issues, such as kidney or hormone issues, or occasionally by a drug you're taking.

What Can Happen if High Blood Pressure is not Treated?

Serious health issues caused by untreated hypertension include:

  • Stroke.
  • Heart attack.
  • Peripheral vascular disease.
  • Kidney disease/failure.
  • Complications during pregnancy.
  • Eye damage.
  • Vascular dementia.

Types of High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?

10% of all pregnancies are complicated by high blood pressure. Pregnancy-related hypertension can take many various forms and ranges in severity from moderate to severe.

The kinds of elevated blood pressure during pregnancy include:

  • Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is existent before pregnancy.
  • Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure in the latter part of pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia: This is a serious disorder that often appears in the second half of pregnancy and causes the pregnant person to have hypertension, protein in the urine, and widespread edoema. It can trigger seizures and have an impact on other bodily organs (eclampsia).
  • Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: People who are pregnant and have chronic hypertension are more likely to develop preeclampsia.

During prenatal visits, your provider will regularly monitor your blood pressure; nevertheless, if you have any worries about your blood pressure, be sure to discuss them with your provider.

How to Understand High Blood Pressure Readings

Two numbers are used to obtain a blood pressure reading. The pressure in your arteries while your heart beats and pumps blood through them is depicted by the top figure, the systolic pressure. Diastolic pressure refers to the measurement of the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats (bottom number).

Adult blood pressure readings fall into one of five categories:

  • Healthy: Less than 120/80 millimetres of mercury is considered to be a good blood pressure reading (mm Hg).
  • Elevated: The diastolic number is less than 80 mm Hg, and the systolic number ranges from 120 to 129 mm Hg. In most cases, medication is not used by doctors to treat high blood pressure. Instead, to assist lower your numbers, your doctor might suggest lifestyle adjustments.
  • Stage 1 hypertension: Having a diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg or a systolic number is between 130 and 139 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 hypertension: Having a diastolic number 140 mm Hg or higher or a systolic number is 140 mm Hg or higher.
  • Hypertensive crisis: The systolic number is over 180 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is over 120 mm Hg. This blood pressure range necessitates immediate medical intervention. It is necessary to seek emergency department treatment if any symptoms, such as headache, shortness of breath, chest pain, or visual abnormalities, appear when blood pressure is this high.

A pressure cuff is used to take a blood pressure reading. You must have a properly fitting cuff in order to get an accurate reading. Unreliable readings could result from a poorly fitting cuff.

Children and teenagers have varying blood pressure readings. If you are instructed to check your child's blood pressure, ask the doctor what levels are considered healthy for them.

What Problems Does High Blood Pressure Cause?

High blood pressure can impact your health in a variety of different ways. Your kidneys, eyes, heart, brain, and other vital organs could sustain serious harm.

The good news is that you can usually manage your blood pressure to lower your risk of becoming really ill.

  • Heart Attack and Heart Disease

By making your arteries less elastic, high blood pressure can harm them, which reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and increases the risk of heart disease. Additional effects of insufficient myocardial blood flow include:

  1. Angina, a term for chest pain.
  2. Heart attack, which occurs when your heart's blood supply is cut off and the heart muscle starts to die from a lack of oxygen. The heart suffers more damage the longer the blood flow is blocked.
  3. Heart failure is a disorder where the heart is unable to adequately pump blood and oxygen to the body's other organs
  • Stroke and Brain Problems

High blood pressure can rupture or become blocked in the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the brain, which can result in a stroke. During a stroke, brain cells perish because they do not receive enough oxygen. Serious impairments in speech, movement, and other everyday activities can result after stroke. Additionally fatal is a stroke.

High blood pressure is associated with dementia and decreased cognitive function later in life, particularly in midlife.

  • Kidney Disease

Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both are more likely than healthy adults to develop chronic kidney disease.

Causes of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

  • Primary hypertension

Primary hypertension is another name for essential hypertension. Over time, this sort of hypertension develops. This type of high blood pressure is typical.

Several of the following causes can combine to cause essential hypertension:

  1. Genes: Some people are prone to hypertension genetically. This could result from genetic abnormalities or gene mutations passed down from your parents.
  2. Age: People over 65 are more likely to develop hypertension.
  3. Race: Individuals who are black and non-Hispanic have a higher incidence of hypertension.
  4. obesity: Living with obesity can cause a number of heart problems, including hypertension.
  5. High alcohol consumption: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may raise the chance of developing hypertension in men and women who regularly consume two or more drinks per day.
  6. Living a very seditious lifestyle: Hypertension has been linked to decreased levels of fitness.
  7. diabetes: Having diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome increases the likelihood of getting hypertension in those with any of these conditions.
  8. high sodium intake: There is a tenuous link between hypertension and daily high sodium intake (greater than 1.5g).
  • Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension typically appears quickly and may worsen, in contrast to primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension can result from a number of causes, including:

  • kidney disease
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • congenital heart defects
  • problems with your thyroid
  • side effects of medications
  • use of illegal drugs
  • chronic consumption of alcohol
  • adrenal gland problems
  • certain endocrine tumors

Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Taking a blood pressure reading is all that is necessary to diagnose hypertension. As part of a routine visit, blood pressure is typically checked in medical offices. Request a blood pressure reading if you don't already have one at your upcoming appointment.

Your doctor might want you to get further measurements over the course of a few days or weeks if your blood pressure is elevated. Rarely is hypertension diagnosed after just one reading.

Your doctor needs to see proof of a persistent issue. That's because your surroundings, such as the tension you could experience when visiting the doctor, can contribute to elevated blood pressure. Throughout the day, blood pressure readings fluctuate as well.

  • screening for cholesterol test and other blood testing
  • An electrocardiogram is a test to determine the electrical activity of your heart (EKG, sometimes referred to as an ECG)
  • Ultrasoundnd of the kidneys or heart
  • Using a home blood pressure monitor, you may track your blood pressure every 24 hours.

Your doctor can find any further problems causing your high blood pressure with the aid of these tests. They can also examine any potential organ damage caused by high blood pressure.

Your doctor might start managing your hypertension at this time. Your chance of permanent injury may be lowered with early treatment.

Treatment for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Your doctor uses a variety of variables to choose the best course of treatment for you. These variables include the type of hypertension you have and the known causes.

  • Primary hypertension treatment options

If you have primary hypertension, changing your way of life may help lower your blood pressure. Your doctor might suggest medication if changing your lifestyle alone is insufficient or if it becomes ineffective.

  • Secondary hypertension treatment options

Treatment will centre on that other problem if your doctor determines that there is another condition causing your hypertension. Your doctor may try different drugs if the one you're currently taking is raising your blood pressure, for instance, if they don't have the same adverse effect.

Occasionally, despite receiving treatment for the underlying cause, hypertension persists. In this situation, your doctor could advise medication to help lower your blood pressure along with lifestyle modifications you can make.

Plans for treating hypertension frequently change. What initially worked may lose its value with time. Your doctor and you will keep collaborating to improve your care.

  • Medications

Many people experiment with different blood pressure drugs before finding one that works. In order to identify one or a combination of medications that is effective for you, your doctor might need to test a few different ones.

Among the drugs used to treat high blood pressure are:

  1. Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers reduce the speed and force of your heartbeat. This decreases blood pressure by reducing the amount of blood that is pumped through your arteries with each heartbeat. Additionally, it stops some hormones in your body from raising blood pressure.
  2. Diuretics: Your body's surplus fluid and high sodium levels might raise your blood pressure. Diuretics, often known as water tablets, aid your kidneys in eliminating too much sodium from your system. Your blood pressure is lowered as additional fluid from your bloodstream enters your urine as the sodium leaves.
  3. ACE inhibitors: A substance called angiotensin makes the walls of arteries and blood vessels constrict and tighten. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors stop the body's production of this substance to a greater extent. This lowers blood pressure and aids in blood vessel relaxation.
  4. Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): While ACE inhibitors work to prevent angiotensin production, ARBs prevent angiotensin from attaching to receptors. The chemical is necessary for blood vessels to constrict. That aids in blood pressure reduction and vessel relaxation.
  5. Calcium channel blockers: These drugs prevent some calcium from entering your heart's cardiac muscles. As a result, the heartbeats become gentler and the blood pressure drops. These drugs also relax blood arteries, which lowers blood pressure via relaxing blood vessels.
  6. Alpha-2 agonists: The nerve impulses that drive blood vessels to constrict are altered by this kind of drug. By assisting blood arteries in relaxing, this lowers blood pressure.

How to Lower Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

The course of treatment will depend on a number of variables, including the blood pressure level and the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease or a stroke.

As blood pressure rises, the doctor will advise several therapies. They might advise altering one's lifestyle and keeping an eye on blood pressure if one has mildly elevated blood pressure.

They will advise taking medication if your blood pressure is high. Depending on how severe the hypertension is and whether problems like kidney disease develop over time, the options may alter. Some patients might also require a mix of numerous different medicines.

Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

You can manage the causes of hypertension by making healthy lifestyle changes. Some of the most common are listed below.

  • Developing a heart-healthy diet

A diet rich in heart-healthy foods is essential for lowering high blood pressure. Additionally, it's crucial for controlling already-controlled hypertension and lowering the likelihood of problems. Heart problems, strokes, and heart attacks are some of these issues.

A heart-healthy diet emphasizes:

  1. fruits
  2. vegetables
  3. whole grains
  4. lean proteins like fish
  • Increasing physical activity

Exercise can strengthen your cardiovascular system and help you lose weight (if your doctor has advised it). It can also naturally lower your blood pressure.

Try to get 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. Five times a week for roughly 30 minutes.

  • Reaching an optimal weight

If you have obesity, a heart-healthy diet and more exercise can help you maintain a reasonable weight and lower your blood pressure.

  • Managing stress

Exercise is a great way to manage stress. Other activities can also be helpful. These include:

  1. meditation
  2. deep breathing
  3. massage
  4. muscle relaxation
  5. yoga or tai chi

A good night's sleep may also assist lower stress levels.

  • Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol

Your physician would likely urge you to stop smoking if you have high blood pressure and smoke. The body's tissues can be harmed by the toxins in cigarette smoke, which can also stiffen blood vessel walls.

Ask for assistance to cut back on your drinking or quit completely if you frequently consume too much alcohol or if you have an alcohol addiction. Overindulging in alcohol can cause blood pressure to rise.

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Complications are more likely to occur in pregnant people with high blood pressure. For instance, impaired kidney function may occur in pregnant women with hypertension. Babies born to hypertensive mothers or fathers may be underweight at birth or arrive early.
During pregnancy, some people may develop hypertension. There are various high blood pressure issues that might arise. Once the baby is born, the condition frequently goes back to normal. Your chance of getting hypertension later in life may increase if you experience hypertension during pregnant.

  • Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia during pregnancy can occasionally develop in hypertensive pregnant women. Increased blood pressure can have negative effects on the kidneys and other organs. This may result in high urine protein levels, problems with liver function, fluid in the lungs, or vision impairments.

The hazards to the mother and infant increase as this illness gets worse. Eclampsia, which causes seizures, can result from preeclampsia. Pregnancy-related high blood pressure issues continue to be a major factor in maternal deaths in India. Low birth weight, early delivery, and stillbirth are all complications for the newborn.

Preeclampsia can only be treated by giving birth because there is no known way to prevent it. Your doctor will constantly watch you for complications if you get this condition while pregnant.
 

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