Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure is a condition in which the arteries have persistently elevated blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries that carry blood o other parts of the body.
The table below shows normal blood pressure numbers for adults. It also shows which numbers put you at greater risk for health problems.
Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults (measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg)
|Normal||Less than 120||And||Less than 80|
|High blood pressure|
|Stage 2||160 or higher||Or||100 or higher|
The ranges in the table apply to most adults (aged 18 and older) who don’t have short-term serious illnesses.
Hypertension is classified as:
One of the most dangerous aspects of hypertension is that you may not know that you have it. In fact, nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure don’t know it. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is through regular checkups. This is especially important if you have a close relative that has high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including:
- Severe headache
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Untreated hypertension can lead to serious diseases, including stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and eye problems.
Cause of hypertension:
Primary (essential) hypertension is the most common form of hypertension. Blood pressure often rises with aging making the risk of becoming hypertensive in later life high. Genetics and environmental factors play a large role in the development of hypertension.
Lifestyle factors that lower blood pressure include:
- Reduced salt intake
- Weight loss
- Increased fruit and low fat food consumption
- Recent studies have also implicated events early in life such as low birth weight, maternal smoking and lack of breast feeding.
Secondary hypertension is usually caused by an underlying medical condition. It tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
- Certain defects in blood vessels you’re born with (congenital)
- Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
- Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
- Alcohol abuse or chronic alcohol use
- Obstructive sleep apnea
Hypertension, increases your risk of developing many serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. It is estimated that nearly one out of every three Americans has high blood pressure.
While you can’t always control whether you get high blood pressure, there are healthy lifestyle habits you can develop to help prevent hypertension and reduce your risk of high blood pressure-related health problems in the future .
Hypertension Prevention Factors You Can Control!!
Your age, along with a family history of hypertension and ethnicity are among the hypertension risk factors that are out of your control. When it comes to preventing high blood pressure, the idea is to focus on the risk factors that you can change.
To avoid a hypertension diagnosis, make these healthy lifestyle choices:
- Maintain a healthy weight. When it comes to hypertension prevention, your weight is crucial. People who are overweight should try to lose weight, and people of normal weight should avoid adding on any pounds. If you are carrying extra weight, losing as little as 10 pounds can help prevent high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor about the best weight for you.
- Eat a balanced diet. Eating healthful foods can help keep your blood pressure under control. Get plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in potassium, and limit your intake of excess calories, fat, and sugar. Consider following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet, which has been shown to help manage blood pressure.
- Cut back on salt. For many people, eating a low-sodium diet can help keep blood pressure normal. You can cut back on your total salt intake by avoiding high-sodium packaged and processed foods and not adding extra salt to your meals. Many companies have welcomed this by creating salt free flavor enhancers. Check your local grocery store today.
- Exercise regularly. Get moving to prevent hypertension. The more exercise you get, the better, but even a little bit can help control blood pressure. Moderate exercise for about 30 minutes three times a week is a good start.
- Limit the alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure.
- Monitor your blood pressure. Make sure that you have your blood pressure measured regularly, either at your doctor’s office or at home. High blood pressure often occurs with no symptoms, so only blood pressure readings will tell you if your blood pressure is on the rise. If your doctor determines that you have prehypertension — blood pressure in the range of 120-139/80-89 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) that puts you at increased risk of developing hypertension — your doctor may recommend extra steps as a safeguard.
Take a look at your lifestyle habits and decide where you can make changes to help prevent hypertension. Conquer small goals, such as snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of junk food, and continue to practice these good habits until they are a part of your daily routine.
When does high blood pressure become an emergency? When the blood pressure rises to the point where the organs that the heart is pumping to are experiencing negative effects. Some of the lasting and devastating effects of high blood pressure are:
- Brain Stroke
- Kidney Failure
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Loss of consciousness
- Vision loss
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
- Aortic Dissection (a tear in the great artery that pumps out blood from the heart)
- Eclampsia (only in pregnant and postpartum women)
Again, many of these problems can be asymptomatic however if you do have symptoms that may suggest elevated blood pressure including headache, weakness, shortness of breath, severe anxiety, please go to the nearest Emergency Room for evaluation.
At Life Savers Emergency Room, we are committed to your healthy heart and offer drop in blood pressure checks 24/7. Our nursing staff will check your BP and can advise on the next steps based on the numbers. Our physicians are also available for counseling and evaluation. We are fully staffed with on site laboratory, EKG, X-ray and CT scan as well as a pharmacy to treat your blood pressure when needed. For more details give us call on 8327795433.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy