Are You Suffering From Hypertension?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and death. Hypertension is when the force on the blood vessel walls is persistently too high.

High blood pressure creates harm by making the blood vessels and heart work harder and less efficiently. If left untreated, it will damage tissues inside the arteries over time and form plaque in the artery walls. The arteries become smaller and begin to harm the heart and the rest of the body. Over 85 million people in America suffer from high blood pressure. Regular doctor visits are the best way to monitor hypertension.

What Causes Hypertension?

Some causes of hypertension include stress, obesity, or underlying medical conditions. Chronic kidney disease is a significant cause of high blood pressure due to the kidney's inability to filter out excess fluid. Hypertension is more common in individual's who are over the age of 55, overweight, consume alcohol and tobacco in excess, and have diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Certain medications, physical inactivity, a low-potassium, and salt-rich diet are also culprits.

Types Of Hypertension

If your high blood pressure isn't caused by another underlying condition, it's considered primary hypertension. If it is as a result of an existing health problem, it's called secondary hypertension that is usually caused from:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Hyperthyroidism

Atherosclerosis associated with hypertension can lead to heart attack, heart failure, stroke, an aneurysm, and kidney failure. Regularly testing your blood pressure will help you avoid severe complications in the future.

Symptoms Of Hypertension

Most people will have high blood pressure at some point in their life even if for a brief time. It's a reasonable response to high-intensity exercise, stress and can elevate blood pressure in the healthiest individual's. To diagnose hypertension, your doctor will need to test your blood pressure over time via a monitor or sphygmomanometer. Most people won't notice any symptoms when experiencing hypertension, so regular testing is crucial. Some signs include excessive sweating, insomnia, blushing, headaches, nosebleeds, and anxiety.

Treatment For Hypertension

Blood pressure is best treated through diet and physical activity, but there is a range of other options. Your doctor will likely request you make adjustments to your lifestyle first. Exercise such as jogging, walking, cycling, or swimming for at least 30 minutes five to seven days per week is recommended. Avoiding stress is a major factor in helping keep your blood pressure under control. There are medications used to treat hypertension in low doses. Typically, two antihypertensive drugs are prescribed at a time. These drugs may include:

  • Central agonists
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium blockers
  • Alpha-blockers and beta-blockers
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers

Preventing Hypertension

Reducing your salt intake to under 5 grams per day will lower your risk of high blood pressure and other related health problems. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption dramatically increases your risk of stroke. Men should drink no more than two alcoholic beverages per day and one for women. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, and limit saturated fats. Doctor's recommend a diet of beans, whole grains, nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, lean poultry, and low-fat dairy products. Maintaining a healthy body weight is vital in keeping blood pressure under control. Some studies have proven that taking probiotic supplements can benefit patients with hypertension.

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