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What is Hypertension
Hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure sometimes called arterial hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. Blood pressure summarised by two measurements – systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole). This equals the maximum and minimum pressure respectively. There are different definitions of the normal range of blood pressure. The normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100–140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60–90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading). The high blood pressure is said to be present if it is often at or above 140/90 mmHg.
Hypertension is classified as either primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension; about 90–95% of cases are categorized as “primary hypertension” which means high blood pressure with no obvious underlying medical cause. The remaining 5–10% of cases (secondary hypertension) are caused by other conditions that affect the kidneys, heart, arteries or endocrine system.
You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms can damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increases your risk of serious health problems this includes heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure generally develops over many years and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately high blood pressure can be easily detected. Once you know you have high blood pressure you can work with your doctor to control it.
High blood pressure or hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Hypertension risk factors include drinking too much alcohol, smoking and family history. Beta blockers are common treatment for hypertension.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Most of the time, there are no symptoms. For most patients – high blood pressure is found when they visit their doctors or have it checked elsewhere.
Because there are no symptoms people can develop heart disease and kidney problems without knowing they have high blood pressure.
Malignant hypertension is a dangerous form of very high blood pressure.
Symptoms may include:
♦ Severe headache
♦ Nausea or vomiting
♦ Vision changes
Treatment of Blood Pressure
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure so that you have a lower risk of complications. You and your doctor should get a blood pressure goal for you.
If you have pre-hypertension, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range. Medicines are used for pre-hypertension.
You can do many things to help control your blood pressure at home will including:
♦ Eat a heart healthy diet including potassium and fiber.
♦ Drink plenty of water.
♦ Exercise regularly for at least 30 min. of exercise a day.
♦ If you smoke, quit.
♦ Limit your alcohol you drink to 1 drink a day for women, and 2 a day for men.
♦ Limit the amount of sodium (salt) you eat aim for less than 1,500 mg per day.
♦ Reduce stress. Try to avoid things that cause you stress and try meditation or yoga to de-stress.
♦ Stay at a healthy body weight.
Your doctor can help you find programs for losing weight, stopping smoking, and exercising.
You can also get a referral from your doctor to a dietitian, who can help you plan a diet that is healthy for you.
The most commonly used blood pressure targets for treating high blood pressure are:
♦ Below 140/90 mmHg as an overall goal for most people
♦ Below 130 to 140/80 mmHg for people who have heart disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease
But you and your doctor must weigh the side effects of medicines used to lower blood pressure with the benefits of lowering your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other related problems.
There are many different medicines to treat high blood pressure.
♦ Often, a single blood pressure drug may not be enough to control your blood pressure, and you may need to take two or more drugs.
♦ It is very important that you take the medicines prescribed to you.
♦ If you have side effects, your doctor can substitute a different medicine.