High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as a high pressure (or tension) in the arteries. The arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. My Mother was diagnosed with high blood pressure when I was very young, and for a long time, I didn’t know what it was or how it really affected her; I just knew that there were times that she was in a lot of pain and discomfort and I worried and panicked about her. As I grew older, I became curious and probed a little further and read about it a little more critically. It was surprising to find out that often times, high blood pressure is passed down from one parent to their child, and this can go on and on for generations to come. It is time to have the difficult conversations about high blood pressure though. Gone are the days where we carefully masked away our thoughts on certain health topics just because they were either too boring, didn’t concern us or we weren’t interested in them. High blood pressure should be taken seriously and here is why:
It is a Silent Ailment
On a general scale, high blood pressure (or hypertension) is generally a silent condition, and this makes it much more complex than other diseases. Many people do not experience any symptoms immediately but it is something that can gradually creep in and become severe over a period of time. Usually, it may take a few years or even a few decades for the high blood pressure condition to reach levels so severe that they become obvious. Even then, these symptoms may be attributed to other issues, but they are generally related to high blood pressure. Symptoms of severe hypertension can include: headaches, shortness of breath, nose-bleeding, dizziness, severe chest pain, visual problems and blood in the urine to name a few.
The Symptoms Greatly Vary
These mentioned symptoms would require immediate medical attention. These are symptoms that don’t occur in everyone with hypertension, so the best way to know if you have hypertension as well is to consistently get regular blood pressure readings. Most doctors’ offices take a blood pressure reading at every appointment. If you only have a yearly physical, talk to your physician about your risks for hypertension and other readings you may need to help you watch your blood pressure, and they may be able to guide you further. A solid example, for instance, is that, if you have a family history of heart disease or have risk factors for developing the condition, your doctor may recommend that you have your blood pressure checked a few times in a year This helps you and your doctor completely aware of any possible issues before they get out of hand.
There are two types of hypertension.
There are two main types of hypertension or high blood pressure and each of them has different causes, which means that different causes influence hypertension based on the type of hypertension.
The first type of hypertension, which is primary hypertension can also be referred to as essential hypertension. This kind of hypertension develops over time with no identifiable cause. For most people, primarily high blood pressure is the most common among them. Researchers are still not completely clear on what mechanisms cause blood pressure to slowly increase. A combination of factors may play a role, and these factors include:
Genes play a huge role when it comes to certain types of things and diseases such as high blood pressure are one of them. Some people are genetically predisposed to hypertension, and this may be from gene mutations or general genetic abnormalities that you inherited from your parents. If you are young and either of your parents has the illness, then it is important to take the time to truly study the illness, what it is about so that you can be effectively equipped with what to do if for any reason, you need it in the future.
If something in your body changes, you may begin to start experiencing unexpected issues throughout your body and high blood pressure may be one of those issues. For example, research and proper diagnosis carried out on the human body over the years has discovered that the changes that occur in the kidney and its ability to function due to aging, may upset the body’s natural balance of salts and fluid. These changes may invariably cause your body’s blood pressure to increase.
Over a certain amount of time, unhealthy lifestyle choices such as a lack of consistent physical activity and a complete absence of a balanced diet, among other things can really take their toll on the body, and these choices can directly lead to weight problems. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for hypertension.
The second type of hypertension is called secondary hypertension and in most cases, it occurs more quickly and can become even more dangerous than primary hypertension. The conditions that can lead to secondary hypertension include the following: kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, congenital heart defects, thyroid problems, drug, and alcohol abuse and adrenal gland problems.
Treatment options for high blood pressure
There are a number of factors available to high blood pressure that can help the physician to identify the best treatment option for the individual. These factors include what type of hypertension person is experiencing, and what causes have been identified after you have been tested, of course (testing at a hospital is very important).
Primary Hypertension Treatment Options
If a person has been diagnosed with primary hypertension, lifestyle changes may help to reduce that high blood pressure, and those lifestyle changes include a good diet, abstinence from drugs and alcohol, regular and effective exercise and laying off junk foods. If lifestyle changes alone aren’t sufficient or they stop being effective, a physician may then prescribe appropriate medication.
Secondary hypertension treatment options
Secondary hypertension tends to be more intense, so if a physician identifies an underlying issue causing hypertension, the treatment will focus specifically on that other condition. For example, if a medicine that a person has started taking is causing the blood pressure to increase, a doctor or physician will try other medicines that don’t have this side effect. Sometimes, hypertension is persistent and despite treatment for the underlying cause. In this case, the doctor may work with the patient to develop lifestyle changes and prescribe medications that can help to help reduce blood pressure. Just like everything in technology and also the medical world, treatment plans and medications for hypertension often evolve over time. What worked at first may become less useful over time. If this is the case, a physician can work with the patient to fine-tune the treatments that they are given.
Medication for High Blood Pressure
Many people go through a trial-and-error phase with blood pressure medications. A patient may need to try various different medicines until they find one or a combination of medications that work for them. Two of the popular medications that are often used to treat hypertension include:
Beta-blockers may work well to make the heart beat slower and with less force and this is a major problem that people with high blood pressure face. This reduces the amount of blood that is pumped through the arteries with each beat, and this in turn works well to significantly lower blood pressure. It also blocks certain hormones in the body that can raise your blood pressure.
High sodium levels and excess fluid in the body can increase blood pressure. Diuretics, also called water pills because they really help the kidneys remove excess sodium from the body. As the sodium leaves the body, the extra fluid in the bloodstream moves into the urine, which helps lower your blood pressure.
High blood pressure can be a difficult thing to go through, like any other ailment, but if this is something you are going through, it is important to first of all take good care of yourself and do all of the necessary thing to make sure that you live a healthy, happy life.