Hypertension is one the serious health conditions that is ravaging the world at large because of the serious damage they cause to the body. Blood pressure is the measure of the force against the movement of blood in the blood vessels (arteries). The heart pumps blood to circulate throughout the body with the aid of the blood vessel (arteries), when the force against the movement of the blood in the arteries is elevated to abnormal level then this health condition is called high blood pressure or hypertension. According to WHO an estimated number of 1.13 billion people have hypertension globally. In today’s article we will be talking about the meaning of high blood pressure or hypertension , the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, preventions and treatments.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is a condition whereby the blood pressure is increased to a level that is harmful or unhealthy. It can also be referred to high blood pressure. Hypertension is usually caused by lifestyle factors and genetic constitutions. They do not usually present any symptoms and people with high blood pressure detect it when they go to the clinic for a different medical checkup. However, they can cause damage to the organ and lead to complications such as heart failure, eye defects, stroke ,brain damage, kidney disease and other illnesses.
What are the causes of hypertension ?
Hypertension is caused by lifestyle and genetic constitution. The lifestyle of people that can result into high blood pressure include; high consumption of alcohol, smoking, injection of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroine, high intake of salt, low intake of fruits and vegetables, obesity and low engagement in physical activities.
The gene constitution is when you have family medical history of high blood pressure. Health complications that can also contribute to high blood pressure include ;sleep apnea and adrenal gland disorder. Stress and old age (above 65) are also key factors that elevate the blood pressure to a level that is unhealthy.
Who are the people at risk of developing hypertension?
Lifestyle, diet and genetic constitution are basic factors that contribute to the development of high blood pressure. This health condition affects all races including men and women, the connection between salt and high blood pressure is significant because people who consume a lot of salts are more exposed to the risk of getting their blood pressure to unhealthy level. Individuals that are more likely to develop high blood pressure include:
- People with family medical history with hypertension
- People who drink excessive alcohol
- People who are overweight
- People who consume a lot of salt
- Pregnant women
- Old people especially above the age 65
- People who consume food that is high in fat
- Drug addicts
People with other health complications such as diabetes and sleep apnea.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
High blood pressure do not usually present any symptoms and this is the dangerous impact of hypertension on human health. Most people that have high blood pressure are not aware that they have it until it worsens and causes more serious damage to the their body. This is the reason hypertension is referred to as ” silent killer” , therefore it is of paramount importance to go for medical check-up at least twice in a month to check the blood pressure so as to know the health status . In some cases people might exhibit some symptoms when they have high blood pressure and they include :
- Blur vision
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
If you experience any of the symptoms above, it is advisable to see your doctor for immediate treatment to prevent further worsening of your health condition and irreversible health damage that might be caused due to untreated high blood pressure.
What are the health damages that uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause?
High blood pressure can present adverse health conditions that threatens the existence of life if not given immediate medical attention. According to the United States centre for disease control and prevention ten million adults have hypertension in America and most of them cannot control the condition. Therefore it is important to pay serious medical attention to hypertension to prevent health complications that may be brought up by this health problem. The health damage that result from untreated high blood pressure include:
- Heart attack
- Sexual dysfunction
- Eye defects
- Kidney damage
- Chest pain
- Brain damage
Diagnosis of Hypertension
Blood pressure is measured with a device called sphygmomanometers in millimetre Mercury (mmhg) and they contain two numbers namely:
- Systolic pressure : The is the upper number and it measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beat and also pump out blood
- Diastolic pressure: This is the lower number and it indicates the pressure in the artery between the beat of heart.
The blood pressure is usually measured by the doctor by placing an inflatable arm curf around the arm using a blood pressure measuring device (sphygmomanometers)
The measurement of the blood pressure is placed into four different categories and they are;
- Healthy blood pressure: A healthy person’s blood pressure will read between 120/80 mmhg.
- Elevated blood pressure: An elevated blood pressure is characterized by the systolic number ranging between 120 – 129 mmhg while the diastolic number reads below 80 mmhg
- Stage 1 hypertension : The systolic number reads between 130 and 139 mmhg and the diastolic number measures between 80 and 89 mmhg.
- Stage 2 hypertension: This is a very chronic and potentially life-threatening stage of hypertension whereby the systolic number is 140mmhg or higher or the diastolic number is 90 mmhg or more.
Therefore a blood pressure measuring device should be used to monitor the blood pressure from time to time in the course of treatment so as to maintain a good health.
Treatment of Hypertension
There are ways of managing and treating high blood pressure and they include; medications, healthy diet development and maintenance of healthy lifestyle.
The common categories of medicine that are used to treat high blood pressure include:
- Angiotensin converting enzymes Inhibitor
- Alpha-Beta blockers angiotensin II receptors blockers
- Beta blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Aldosterone antagonist
Healthy Diet Development
- Eat more of food that are low in fat
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Reduce the consumption of salts
- Eat more of plants and reduce the intake of meat
- Stay away from high sugar intake.
Maintenance of a Healthy Lifestyle
- Quit smoking
- Engage in regular exercise
- Reduce the consumption of alcohol and
totally stay away from it if possible
- Maintain a healthy weight