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High Blood Pressure – Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

High Blood Pressure

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30-Second-Summary
  • Hypertension is a common condition among adults that often goes undetected and may become fatal.
  • The elevated blood pressure in your arteries exerts the blood vessels and heart,increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Therefore, it is crucial to regularly monitor your blood pressure and report any anomalies to your doctor.
  • The best way to avoid the severe repercussions of hypertension is to adopt preventive measures or blood pressure management techniques at an early stage.
  • An active lifestyle, low salt and alcohol intake quitting smoking, and stress management may lower your blood pressure.
  • These techniques are helpful for people above the age of 40 and those with a family history of hypertension or patients with comorbidities.

Introduction

Hypertension is a common condition among adults in which there is a higher than usual workload on the heart and blood vessels.

Hence, this condition increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, it is crucial for all adults to monitor their blood pressure regularly and treat it if it exceeds the healthy limit.

High blood pressure or hypertension is marked by increased pressure on the blood vessels due to higher blood flow or narrowed vessels. It causes various health risks but is usually not accompanied by many visible symptoms.

So, it is all the more necessary to understand the causes, risk factors, and signs, so that you can get prompt treatment for hypertension.

What Is Blood Pressure, And How Is It Measured?

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on the arteries by the blood flowing through them. It is determined by the amount of blood pumped out by the heart and the resistance applied by the arteries.

Hence, your blood pressure can be high if your heart is pumping an abnormal amount of blood or if there are blockages or constrictions in your arteries. Blood pressure readings are represented in mm Hg units, and two readings are taken.

The first reading is Systolic Blood Pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The second reading is Diastolic Blood Pressure or the pressure in the arteries between two heartbeats.

Therefore, the Systolic Blood Pressure has a higher value than the Diastolic Blood Pressure. Normal blood pressure values range between 90/60 mm Hg and 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is higher than the upper limit, then you may experience symptoms of high blood pressure.

You can get your blood pressure measured during your regular medical check-ups. At-home blood pressure monitors are also available. However, in-clinic monitoring is more accurate due to lesser chances of device failure or human error.

High Blood Pressure Categories

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension refers to abnormally high blood pressure that exerts an excess force on the arteries and increases the heart’s workload. Blood pressure readings higher than 120/80 mm Hg typically indicate this condition. You can further classify the readings into the following sub-categories.

  • Elevated Blood Pressure – Systolic B.P. between 120 and 129 and diastolic B.P. less than 80.
  • Stage 1 Hypertension – Systolic B.P. between 130 and 139 or diastolic B.P. between 80 and 89.
  • Stage 2 Hypertension – Systolic B.P. greater than 140 or diastolic B.P. greater than 90.
  • Hypertensive crisis (requires immediate medical attention) – Systolic B.P. greater than 180 or diastolic B.P. greater than 120.

Early detection is the key to avoiding the fatal consequences of hypertension. So, if you notice
elevated blood pressure or Stage 1 hypertension, you can try home remedies for high blood pressure and consult your doctor for the appropriate treatment. With the right lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure to a healthy range.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure?

Hypertension may often go undetected for long periods because it is not accompanied by visible symptoms. Hence, many healthy individuals may be struggling internally from the repercussions of high blood pressure.

However, some individuals may exhibit the following symptoms of high blood pressure:

  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Nose bleeds
  • Nausea

Remember that these symptoms may not always present themselves, and the best way to detect hypertension is by measuring your blood pressure regularly. You can request your doctor to check your blood pressure during your clinic appointment and check it at home between the visits. According to studies[1], self-monitoring of blood pressure may reduce your chances of needing hypertension medications in the future. So, keep a check on your blood pressure readings to avoid severe health implications.

What Causes Hypertension?

Causes Hypertension
Although the exact causes of high blood pressure are unknown, certain genetic factors, health conditions, and lifestyle choices may help increase your chances of developing hypertension. The lifestyle factors that may contribute to hypertension include the following:

  • High sodium consumption
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Exposure to high amounts of stress
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Regular smoking

By making healthier lifestyle choices, you can minimize the risk of hypertension caused by these factors. So, if you are wondering how to lower high blood pressure, avoid smoking, alcohol, and salty foods and adopt an active lifestyle. These small changes can protect you from hypertension and the corresponding health risks. Also, obesity might increase the risk of hypertension and other heart diseases. So, try to maintain a healthy weight and BMI by regulating your calorie intake and reducing the consumption of fatty foods.

What Are The Risk Factors For Hypertension?

Apart from the lifestyle causes of high blood pressure, other risk factors include the following:

  • Age – Those above the age of 40 are more likely to develop hypertension and require regular blood pressure monitoring.
  • Obesity – People who are obese are at a higher risk of heart disease and hypertension.
  • Family History – If your family members have a history of hypertension, you may be at a higher risk of developing it too.
  • Race – People of African American or Hispanic origins may be more prone to hypertension.
  • Medications – Certain medicines may increase your risk of hypertension. These include cold, headache, and migraine medications.
  • Illnesses – Some health conditions and diseases might increase your risk of hypertension. These include thyroid disorder, sleep apnea, aldosteronism, and end-stage renal disease.
  • Stress – Stress results in elevated cortisol levels that can increase blood pressure, leading to hypertension.

If any or all of these risk factors apply to you, consult your doctor on preventive approaches or try home remedies for high blood pressure to improve your heart health. With early intervention and a healthy lifestyle, you may be able to avoid the symptoms of hypertension altogether.

How To Treat High Blood Pressure?

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension and are wondering how to lower high blood pressure, you can try a mix of lifestyle changes, home remedies, and medications if your doctor prescribes them. Here are some of the tips you can try.

  • Lifestyle Changes – Lifestyle changes can improve your heart health and lower your blood pressure, to some extent. Include at least half an hour of exercise in your daily routine. Also, avoid salty foods, alcohol, and smoking. If you have a stressful life, incorporate stress-busting activities like meditation, mindful breathing, journaling, and gardening to reduce your blood pressure.
  • Medications – Medications for high blood pressure include medicines that relax the blood vessels or open up the arteries. You must consume these only when prescribed by your doctor. Some of the common hypertension medicines include ACE Inhibitors, Alpha and Beta Blockers, and Calcium Channel Blockers. You can consult your doctor regarding the same if you have hypertension.

  • Herbal Treatments – According to studies[2], certain herbs and natural ingredients may reduce blood pressure to some extent. Therefore, they may reduce the risk of hypertension or improve the efficacy of medications as accompaniments. Some of the plant ingredients you might consume may include garlic, oats, breadfruit, and green tea. However, these cannot be considered standalone treatments and need to be paired with medications or lifestyle modifications.
  • Herbal Treatments

  • Home Remedies – Home remedies for high blood pressure can be used as preventive measures or may accompany any medical treatments for hypertension. Essential oil for high blood Pressure is one promising home remedy that can lower your cortisol levels and blood pressure. You can use calming essential oils like Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, and Clary Sage to help minimize your stress. Add these to your bathwater, body lotion, or diffuser to reap the benefits of aromatherapy.

    While these tips can help you lower your blood pressure, regular monitoring and seeking medical advice is the most efficient way to prevent the severe symptoms of hypertension. So, visit a doctor at the earliest if you record high blood pressure readings or notice any suspicious symptoms.

FAQs About Hypertension

The best tips on how to lower high blood pressure include exercising daily, avoiding salty foods, and quitting smoking and drinking. Additionally, try to maintain a healthy weight and practice stress management techniques like aromatherapy. For severe hypertension, consult a doctor to get any required prescription medications.

Individuals above the age of 40, those with a family history of hypertension or certain comorbidities like thyroid or sleep apnea, are at a higher risk. Other causes of high blood pressure include a sedentary lifestyle, frequent smoking, high alcohol intake, and high sodium intake. Some pain and anti-inflammatory medicines may also increase your blood pressure.

Not everyone may exhibit the visible symptoms of high blood pressure. However, hypertension is often accompanied by breathlessness, fatigue, blurry vision, headaches, and nausea. The best way to detect hypertension is to measure your blood pressure regularly and consult a doctor in case of abnormally high readings.

Conclusion

Hypertension is a common condition that may turn fatal if not detected and treated in time. Many adults, especially above the age of 40, suffer from high blood pressure, but most individuals do not exhibit any symptoms of the condition. Therefore, hypertension may go undetected for a long time, leading to an excessive workload on the heart and blood vessels. It can increase your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

The most fool-proof way to diagnose hypertension is to measure your blood pressure regularly and report any anomalies to your doctor. Clinical testing is the most accurate, but you can also use an at-home blood pressure monitor between your medical check-ups. Apart from this, look out for symptoms like breathlessness, fatigue, and nausea.

If you have hypertension, make healthy lifestyle changes along with consulting your doctor regarding prescription medicine. Daily exercise, a low-salt diet, and abstaining from smoking and drinking may reduce your hypertension.

Furthermore, stress management techniques, like meditation and aromatherapy, as well as consuming herbs may help lower blood pressure. So, keep a watch on your blood pressure and adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid hypertension and the accompanying health risks.

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