What is Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?
Here is another lifestyle disorder, where the circulating blood exerts pressure on the inner walls of blood vessels. The pressure is determined by the amount of blood pumped by the heart, rate of heart beat and resistance by arteries. Surprisingly, hypertension does not cause any major noticeable symptoms.
Blood pressure commonly expressed in two measurements as Systolic pressure (when heart contracts) and Diastolic pressure (when the heart relaxes)which are maximum and minimum pressure respectively.
Normal blood pressure reads as <120 systolic and <80 diastolic (represented as 120/80 mmHg). However, blood pressure can be very from person to person. It also changes naturally during the day (during activity) and night (when we rest). It is lower when one is resting and higher during activity. Many other factors like diet, disease, drugs, stress can change the blood pressure either to high (hypertension) or to low (hypotension), of which both are undesirable
Ironically, Primary hypertension accounts for 90-95% of all cases doesn’t have any specific cause. There are lifestyle factors which can trigger this primary hypertension are as follows:
- Obesity (major risk factor)
- Smoking and tobacco derivatives
- Uncontrolled alcohol consumption
- Lack of physical activity
- Too much of salt in our diets
- Too little potassium or vitamin D in your diet
- High levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood
Coming to secondary hypertension, this is caused by underlying conditions like Kidney diseases and can treat by correcting this underlying condition.
Finally Gestational hypertension (or) pregnancy-induced hypertension, as the name suggests this is noticed during pregnancy and it accounts for about 6-8% of pregnant women.
Certain symptoms in case of extremely high blood pressure are as follows.
- Server headache
- Pounding in the chest (chest pain)
- Vision impairment
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty in breathing
Most ideal diagnosis for hypertension would be taking 2-3 blood pressure readings (sphygmomanometer) for over 12-24 hours.
- Lifestyle changes are recommended as much as antihypertensive drugs, below are few preventive measures to lower hypertension.
- Maintain proper body mass index (height to weight ratios)
- Lower salt intake in your diet
- Engage in any physical activity like brisk walking or yoga
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Prefer a diet rich fruits and vegetables.
Treating hypertension can take multi-pronged approach including diet changes along with medication and exercise. Medications include ACE inhibitors, Beta-Blockers, Calcium channel blockers, Diuretics and other.