Medically reviewed by Dr. Rabeya Afroz Shomi
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension also known as high blood pressure is a condition where the force of the blood hitting against your artery wall is excessively high that it causes health problems like heart diseases. Blood pressure is usually determined by the level of blood which your heart pumps.
If your arteries are narrow and your heart pumps excessive amount of blood, your pressure tends to get higher. Hypertension can develop for many years without any apparent symptom, high blood pressure can give rise to complications such as stroke and heart attack which might result to death if not treated on time. High blood pressure eventually affects everyone at one time or the other.
What are the types of hypertension?
Hypertension have been classified into two types depending upon the causes. They are:
1. Primary hypertension: There is no cause for primary hypertension but studies suggest that it tends to develop over the years.
2. Secondary hypertension: Secondary hypertension can occur due to obstructive sleeping patterns, kidney problems, adrenal gland tumors, thyroid problems, congenital defects in the blood vessels, medications like over the counter pain killers, cold remedies, decongestants & birth control pills, illegal drugs like amphetamines & cocaine and excessive alcohol use. Secondary Hypertension can be an underlying cause of a much fatal disorder.
What causes hypertension?
Hypertension is otherwise called High Blood Pressure. It is the force that exerts against the walls of the human blood vessels. This BP depends on the resistance of the blood vessels and how tough the heart has to perform. Most of us have this problem but unknowingly we are running our lives. But, untreated hypertension might lead to stroke, heart ailments and sometimes death.
The main cause of hypertension depends on the underlying medical and mental conditions. Blood plasma volume, hormone activity, stress, and lack of activities, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, pregnancy, and Cushing syndrome are considered as the main causes of hypertension.
What are the 4 stages of hypertension?
The four stages of hypertension namely:
- Normal: When the systolic is below 120 mm Hg and the diastolic is below 80 mm Hg then, the range is considered to be normal. No need for drugs whereas you need to monitor your BP always.
- Pre-hypertension: If the systolic lies between 120 and 139 mm Hg and the diastolic lies between 80 and 89 mm Hg, you are in the border of hypertension. No medicine is needed for this condition whereas lifestyle changes have to be considered.
- Stage-1: When your systolic falls between 140-159 mm Hg and the diastolic is between 90-99 mm Hg, you are at the border risk of hypertension. You should go for anti-hypertension medications such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, etc along with lifestyle modifications.
- Stage-2: If the systolic goes beyond 160 mm Hg and the diastolic crosses 100 mm Hg, it is considered very seriously. The doctor will recommend two-drug therapy and you will be advised for lifestyle modifications along with a strict diet in order to rule off cardiac and stroke issues.
Hypertension is usually diagnosed during a routine body checkup. It is advisable to visit a general physician on the off chance that you develop high blood pressure. People who are between the age group of 18 to 39 and 40 years or older are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. An appropriate sized arm cuff is used to diagnose Hypertension. There are some machines available which can analyze your blood pressure levels for free.
Risk factors that can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure:
- Alcohol- Excessive alcohol consumption can not only affect your blood pressure but also damage your heart and liver.
- Family history- If one or more of your family members have hypertension, chances are that you are at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure.
- Obesity- Hypertension is also very common in people who are obese and overweight.
- Laziness- People who are physically inactive have higher heart rates. This puts a lot of pressure in the arteries resulting in high blood pressure.
- Tobacco- Chewing or smoking tobacco can damage the lining of your arteries leading to severe Hypertension.
- Inadequate vitamins- Very little amount of vitamin D and potassium in your diet can disturb the sodium levels in your blood causing high blood pressure.
What is the treatment for hypertension?
- Patients who are aged 55 and above and patients of any age, will be started with a calcium channel blocker or a thiazide-type diuretic as the first-line treatment. If the patient is below 55 years, the initial therapy will be an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor.
- If the patient is started with calcium channel blocker or thiazide-type diuretic and if he needs a second drug, then an ACE or angiotensin will be added. If the initial therapy is started with an ACE inhibitor, then a calcium channel blocker or thiazide-type diuretic will be added.
- If the patient requires three-drug therapy, then the combination of ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker, calcium channel blocker and thiazide-type diuretic will be advised.
What is medicine for hypertension?
Usually, hypertension is treated with thiazide diuretics, ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers. When you are not able to reach the normal BP with the above medicines, your health care professional may recommend you Alpha, Alpha-beta blockers, beta-blockers, Renin inhibitors, Aldosterone antagonists, Central-acting agents, Vasodilators.
When your blood pressure stays stubbornly high despite taking at least three variants, out of which one must be diuretic, you will be treated as a “Resistant Hypertensive Patient”. If you fall under the category, then your doctor will evaluate the underlying cause. He will consider adding an aldosterone antagonist such as spironolactone (Aldactone). It might help to control resistant hypertension.
What are the natural remedies for hypertension?
Hypertension is a condition to be treated at the right time. However, some of the natural remedies will work out for hypertension such as maintaining healthy BMI, regular exercises, cutting down excess sodium, added sugar and refined carbs, stop smoking, and alcohol intake, eating well-balanced diet, reducing stress, doing breathing exercise and meditation to make your mind calm, intaking calcium and magnesium-rich food, taking natural supplements’ are primarily counted in the natural remedies account.
What are the complications of hypertension?
Hypertension brings out many complications and the problems associated to heart and blood vessels, chest pain, stroke and other brain issues such as dementia, Transient ischemic attack, mild cognitive impairment, renal diseases, eye problems, type 2 diabetes, sexual dysfunction, bone loss, sleeping trouble, etc. Since in the initial stages the hypertension is non-symptomatic, most of the people are unaware of the condition. So, regular blood pressure monitoring is required to stay away from any negative outcome.
How can hypertension be prevented?
You can keep your blood pressure normal by following a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a normal and nutritious diet, indulging in physical activities, managing stress levels, limiting alcohol, avoiding smoking, cutting down caffeine helps in preventing hypertension. When you feel stressed, try to see natural views, listen to music and do meditation to relax.
If you are already a victim of hypertension, then you should be careful to prevent it from worsening or causing complications. You should always consult the doctor regularly and follow the prescribed medications without any breaks. Keep a BP monitoring device at home to check out your blood pressure periodically.
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