What Is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)?
Hypertension (HT, HTN or HPN) is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure is elevated. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. One of the most dangerous aspects of hypertension is that there are generally no symptoms of high blood pressure, so you usually don't feel it. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Hypertension can be classified as either essential (primary) or secondary. Essential or primary hypertension means that no medical cause can be found to explain the raised blood pressure. It is common. About 90-95% of hypertension is essential hypertension. Secondary hypertension indicates that the high blood pressure is a result of (i.e., secondary to) another condition, such as kidney disease or tumours (adrenal adenoma or pheochromocytoma).
What Causes Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)?
The exact causes of hypertension are generally unknown, there are several factors that have been highly associated with the condition. Hypertension risk factors include obesity (more than 85% of cases occur in those with a body mass index greater than 25), alcohol intake (drinking too much alcohol), smoking, Vitamin D deficiency, sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, diabetes, stress, aging, high levels of salt intake (sodium sensitivity), insufficient calcium, potassium, and magnesium consumption. Medicines such as birth control pills, chronic kidney disease, adrenal and thyroid problems or tumors, and Family history also increase the risk of developing hypertension.
Most patients with High Blood Pressure have no specific symptoms referable to their blood pressure elevation. Although popularly considered a symptom of elevated arterial pressure, headache generally occurs only in patients with severe hypertension. Characteristically, a "hypertensive headache" occurs in the morning and is localized to the occipital region. Other nonspecific symptoms that may be related to elevated blood pressure include dizziness, palpitations, easy fatiguability, and impotence. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Obtaining reliable blood pressure measurements relies on following several rules and understanding the many factors that influence blood pressure reading.
Blood pressure reading is measured using two numbers, (i.e.120/80mmHg). The "120" number represents the systolic number (peak pressure in the arteries), which is a measurement of the pressure on the artery walls when the heart beats. The "bottom" number is the diastolic number (minimum pressure in the arteries), which is a measurement of the pressure on the artery walls when the heart is resting between beats. As with adults, blood pressure is a variable parameter in children. It varies between individuals and within individuals from day to day and at various times of the day. And the population prevalence of high blood pressure in the young is increasing. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called prehypertension (to denote increased risk of hypertension), and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered hypertension.
How to Prevent Hypertension?
A. Healthy Foods - Healthy Diet
+ Eat less sodium and salt. Salt and sodium can raise the blood pressure significantly.
+ Eat potassium-rich fruits including bananas, prunes, oranges, and cantaloupes. Potassium is called the "un-salt". According to scientists, two bananas a day can help control high blood pressure, offering a cheap alternative to expensive drugs.
+ Foods rich in fiber help you prevent high blood pressure. Eat vegetables like spinach, celery, carrots, alfalfa, mushrooms, lima beans, potatoes, avocados, and broccoli.
+ Avoid saturated fats, as this will raise your cholesterol. It is usually found in red meats, butter, palm oil or ghee. High blood cholesterol can narrow arteries and make you more prone to hypertension. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats will help to lower your cholesterol level. They can be found in olive oil, rapeseed oil or sunflower seeds oil. Most of the fat in pistachios is also unsaturated fat which is good for health.
B. Lifestyle Changes
+ Avoid smoking. You must stop smoking immediately.
+ 8 hours of sleep per night. Adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Short sleep duration was linked to a new diagnosis of high blood pressure.
+ Reduce your stress. Stress has been shown to increase symptoms of hypertension.
+ Exercise regularly. It lowers blood pressure and prevents hypertension.
1. Check your blood pressure and pulse regularly. If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.
2. Eating too much salt and being overweight greatly increase the odds for getting hypertension.
3. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.
4. If you have Family history with hypertension, you are more likely to suffer from this disease. You will need to be even more diligent in checking your blood pressure.
5. Check your cholesterol once a year. High blood cholesterol can narrow arteries and make you more prone to hypertension.
6. Lack of sleep can increase risk of High Blood Pressure. According to scientists, sleep allows the heart to slow down and blood pressure to drop for a significant part of the day.
7. If you are overweight, Lose weight! Stop eating junk foods. Exercise regularly. A prerequisite for the manifestation of overweight is - relative to the physical activity – a too high caloric intake. However, Generally acceptable recommendations regarding the daily caloric intake appear not to be justified, since there is an inter-individual variability in food utilization and resting metabolism.