One in every three people in the world suffers from high blood pressure. It is a common lifestyle disease plaguing humanity today. For 90% of the cases, the cause is unknown, which makes it more alarming. The fact that most people are not even aware that they suffer from hypertension worsens the scenario further.
As per current statistics, about 20% to 40% of urban residents and 12% to 17% of rural inhabitants suffer from hypertension in India.
What is Hypertension?
When a person’s systolic pressure remains over 140 mmHg and diastolic pressure over 90 mmHg for a considerable period of time than that individual is said to be suffering from hypertension.
Different Types of Hypertension
There are two types of hypertension- Primary and secondary high blood pressure.
- Primary or essential hypertension is the most common type, which affects people over time with age.
- Secondary hypertension is usually caused due to some underlying medical condition that a person suffers from It gets better or cured with the treatment of the main health condition or by stopping the medicines causing high blood pressure.
Causes of Hypertension
The cause is often unknown. One in every 20 patient suffers from hypertension due to certain medications or an underlying health condition. Chronic kidney disease is a common cause since the kidneys are unable to filter out fluid and the fluid excess causes hypertension.
Factors Responsible for High Blood Pressure
The risk factors causing hypertension may include age, ethnicity, sex, stress, family history, tobacco and alcohol use, weight, certain medications, and existing health conditions like chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.
Some of the other contributing factors are eating late on a regular basis, a sedentary lifestyle, physical inactivity, low potassium diet, a salt-rich diet, etc.
Symptoms of Hypertension
It is called a silent killer for a very strong and valid reason. This is because a person suffering from high blood pressure may not have any sign or symptom. An undetected case of hypertension may damage the cardiovascular system or internal organs like the kidneys.
In order to be aware of your condition, it is important to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Talk to your doctor to understand how frequently do you need to monitor it.
While most cases are asymptomatic, some people may suffer from anxiety, excessive sweating, blushing and sleeping disorders. Nosebleeds and headaches occur when the blood pressure gets to the level of a hypertensive crisis.
A person suffering from hypertension for a long time may suffer from certain complications through atherosclerosis. This condition is characterized by the formation of plaque causing narrowing of blood vessels. This worsens hypertension as now the heart must pump the blood harder to deliver it to the body.
Hypertension-related atherosclerosis can cause:
- Heart attacks or heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Hypertensive retinopathies in the eye
Other complications include memory issues and metabolic syndrome.
How is Blood Pressure Measured and How is Hypertension Diagnosed?
Blood pressure is measured by an instrument known as a sphygmomanometer. It has a pressure gauge, an air pump, and a rubber cuff. The instrument measures the blood pressure in units called mmHg or millimeters of mercury.There are three different types of sphygmomanometer: Mercury, Aneroid and Digital or commonly known as automatic blood pressure monitor. First 2 need the usage of a stethoscope while automatic can be used by layman
Your blood pressure would most probably be checked at least twice in different visits at different times of the day. Your doctor may suggest you keep a log of your blood pressure trends for a certain period of time. If the doctor finds your blood pressure to be constantly over and above the normal limit” , a treatment regimen will be suggested to you.
Prevention and Treatment
The prevention and treatment of hypertension are almost the same. The only difference is that you would need to take the medicines prescribed by your doctor if you have high blood pressure.
Things to do to prevent or treat hypertension:
- Eat a low-fat and low-sodium diet
- Quit smoking if you do
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Avoid or limit alcohol intake
- Shed the extra kilos if you are overweight
Lifestyle modification is all you need to ensure normal blood pressure level in cases of borderline hypertension.
If you happen to find out that you have hypertension but unable to go for a doctor’s consultation due to your busy schedule, consider Nightingales. We offer home services. All you need to do is give us a call and make an appointment with a doctor who would be visiting at a time convenient to you. And that’s not all, our trained nurses can help you with close monitoring of your blood pressure levels too.
Reference – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011565/
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