Top Questions About Hypertension, Answered by a Specialist
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious condition that can lead to health complications if it is not managed properly. If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure, you may have a lot of questions about the best ways to treat and manage your condition. This blog post will answer some of the most common questions about high blood pressure.
What is High Blood pressure?
High blood pressure or hypertension is a dangerous medical condition in which the arteries to the heart and brain, pumping blood through your body become high pressured. This high pressure can damage your organs and lead to cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or heart attack. The high pressures may also be linked to other conditions such as kidney failure and narrowing of the carotid artery – this causes poor circulation which means not enough oxygen-rich blood gets around the body. Poor circulation also has links with erectile dysfunction in men.
Signs and symptoms of high blood pressure generally do not present themselves until the vessel walls sustain significant damage. This can lead to many complications such as heart attack, stroke or even blindness. Symptoms of high blood pressure mainly include headaches, shortness of breath and nosebleeds. If left untreated high blood pressure can eventually lead to death.
There are a number of risk factors which could contribute towards high blood pressure – age is one – this is because as we grow older our arteries become less elastic and more narrow meaning there is an increased resistance throughout the vessels – high blood pressure develops as a result; high salt intake (more than 5g per day) may also trigger high readings; obesity is another factor as fat surrounds artery walls making them tighter, high stress levels are also high risk factors as high blood pressure is often brought on by stressful situations.
It is still unclear what the exact causes of high blood pressure are but researchers believe that genetic and environmental factors may be responsible – these include high calorie intake, obesity, sodium intake, smoking, low potassium intake and excess alcohol. How high your blood pressure will become depends on how many risk factors you have however genetics do play a significant role in high blood pressure.
What are high blood pressure numbers?
High blood pressure can be diagnosed through taking regular readings dependant of how high it is – if there are two consecutive readings of 140/90mmHg or above then high blood pressure is present; generally an average reading of between 120/80mmHg and 139/89mmHg is classed as high blood pressure.
Why do I get a headache with high blood pressure?
The high blood pressure causes the arteries to stretch abnormally high, this, in turn, causes pains in your head. It is very common for high blood pressure patients to have headaches. This headache usually occurs when you are resting or lying down.
If you are standing or moving around, there are little chances of having a headache because the high volume of blood is flowing through your body and not to your head. This means that when you are busy doing something else, the high blood pressure does not bother the head that much but when you rest or sleep it shows up more prominently.
High blood pressure headaches should not be taken lightly as they could be a sign that something more serious is going on. If you experience frequent or severe headaches, make sure to tell your doctor about them so that they can be evaluated and treated if necessary.
Constant throbbing headaches, especially with vision problems, can be a warning sign that you have dangerously high blood pressure and need to take steps to lower it immediately with the help of intravenous medications given by an emergency medicine doctor.
What are the common causes of high blood pressure?
The causes of high blood pressure are not always known. There are many risk factors associated with high blood pressure, so it is best to know the causes behind high BP before coming up with ways to control it. Some possible high blood pressure causes include:
High blood pressure can be hereditary, and it has been observed that high family members of people with this condition experience higher than average rates for the same trait.
The body’s ability to regulate blood pressure may decline with age, which can lead not only to an increased risk for heart disease and stroke but also other serious complications.
Smoking, drinking alcohol excessively and lack of exercise all contribute to high blood pressures. Other lifestyle choices like poor diet and obesity can also raise your chances of getting hypertension (high BP).
Spending longer hours sitting down or remaining sedentary (sitting down all day, lying down or stuck in traffic for hours) has a deleterious effect on your body, especially increasing the risk of heart disease. Regular physical activity reduces stress levels, improves circulation, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps maintain a healthy weight
Bouts of depression or anxiety due to prolonged stress can take a toll on your high blood pressure control.
High blood pressure may be related to kidney disease, diabetes or high cholesterol.
Pregnancy-related high blood pressure
High blood pressure in pregnant women is not just a concern for the mother and baby; it can be dangerous to both. High levels during pregnancy have serious implications on maternal health, as well as fetal development of major organs like kidneys or brain tissue
Maternal risks include heart disease, stroke, kidney damage and even premature birth.
In most cases of high blood pressure, it is not clear what exactly causes high BP so you should consult your doctor about hypertension if you have been feeling lightheaded often for no apparent reason
What are the benefits of using a home monitoring device to track your blood pressure levels?
There are many benefits of using a home monitoring device to track your blood pressure levels. Medical experts recommend that you should check your blood pressure at regular intervals to make sure it stays within the acceptable range.
Blood pressure is usually monitored in medical facilities, but now there are devices available for use at home that can help you keep an eye on your health without having to visit a doctor or clinic all the time. At home, you have access to more information about your body because the environment around you is familiar and comfortable. If you find any irregularities with your readings, it can be easier to track what has happened if they are collected over time at home rather than trying to remember each reading when visiting a clinic or doctor’s office too frequently.
Blood pressure is just one aspect of overall health that can be monitored with a home monitoring device. Other vital signs, such as heart rate and oxygen saturation levels, can also be tracked with some devices to give you a better understanding of how your body is performing overall. This information can help you and your doctor make better decisions about your treatment plan or provide clues if you need to see a specialist.
Using a home monitoring device to track your blood pressure levels is an easy way to take control of your health and get the most out of your visits to the doctor. If you have any questions about using these devices, consult your healthcare provider for more information.
How to lower high blood pressure without medications?
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you to decrease high blood pressure. Especially a Mediterranean diet has been proven to be a tasty and effective way to improve your overall health.
Regular exercise is a great way to lose weight and decrease high blood pressure. Start with simple things like taking the stairs, walk to your errands as much as you can, try power walking in your park or simple house cleaning can help get you moving around more. Later on you can consider joining a gym and working out with a professional gym instructor.
You can reduce your stress levels by meditating, practicing yoga or going on vacation. Professional therapy can be a useful intervention to identify and manage the underlying causes of your mental or social stress.
Better sleep can improve mood and decrease high blood pressure.
Decrease alcohol intake
Cut down on alcohol consumption – if you drink excessively then stop completely for at least two weeks before seeing your doctor about lowering high blood pressure
Drink less coffee
Coffee is a diuretic and can cause you to dehydrate, which in turn increases blood pressure.
Foods to avoid high blood pressure
Many high blood pressure patients tend to not pay much attention to what they eat. As long as it’s tasty, high in fat and sodium, they will be happy to eat it. However, this is a big mistake as the food you consume can work against your high blood pressure treatment plan by increasing your blood pressure level.
The high salt content of junk foods already increases high blood pressure levels, but other kinds of foods also impact high blood pressure. They contain other stimulants that cause your body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that elevate high blood pressure readings or reduce the effectiveness of hypertension medication because these stress hormones decrease their effect on the cardiovascular system.
Here are five types of foods you should avoid high blood pressure.
Processed meats high in sodium
Sodium is high in processed meats like ham, hot dogs, bacon, and sausages. Not only are these high in salt, but they also contain preservatives that can cause high blood pressure. Peppers may offer some health benefits but you should avoid eating them if you have high blood pressure because they are one of the foods high in sodium.
Caffeinated drinks like coffee, black tea, energy drinks, and sodas not only stimulate the nervous system but also contain high levels of sugar which can send your blood sugar levels soaring. When your blood sugar levels are high, your body secretes more insulin to try to get them back to normal. Insulin is a hormone that causes the cells in the body to take up more sugar from the bloodstream, which can lead to high blood pressure levels over time.
In addition, caffeine is a stimulant that releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that can cause blood pressure levels to spike. If you are a high blood pressure patient, it is best to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks altogether.
Salt is high in sodium and it is one of the main causes of high blood pressure. Most of the salt we eat is hidden in processed foods so it’s important to read food labels carefully to check for high levels of sodium. One teaspoon of salt contains over 2,300 mg of sodium and most high blood pressure patients should aim to consume no more than 1,500 mg per day.
Fried foods are high in unhealthy fats which can lead to high blood pressure levels to spike. Fried foods are high in saturated fats that can increase the risk of high cholesterol and high triglycerides, which are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Eating fried foods high in saturated fat also increases your risk of high blood pressure because high cholesterol plaques restrict or block the arteries leading to your heart, causing your heart rate to rise as it tries to overcome this obstruction by pumping harder.
High blood pressure patients should avoid consuming alcohol because it stimulates the nervous system, releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which elevate high blood pressure readings, and interfere with hypertension medication effectiveness.
Natural remedy to lower high blood pressure
Many natural remedies can help to lower high blood pressure. Some of the most effective include:
Garlic has long been used as a natural remedy for high blood pressure. It helps to improve blood circulation and reduces the risk of clotting.
This herb has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure by improving blood flow and relaxing the arteries.
Fish Oil Supplements
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements have been shown to help reduce high blood pressure.
Magnesium is a mineral that has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Banaba helps lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels by increasing insulin production and decreasing the activity of the hormone angiotensin. This hormone causes blood vessels to constrict, which increases blood pressure.
Beets have long been used as a natural remedy for high blood pressure. They help to lower high blood pressure by improving heart function and reducing strain on the heart due to high blood pressure.
Many people with high blood pressure are low in vitamin C, despite adequate amounts being found in foods like oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, kale, tomatoes, etc., so supplementing your diet with vitamin C can help to lower high blood pressure.
Calcium is a mineral that helps keep blood vessels healthy and functioning properly. A lack of calcium can lead to high blood pressure.
Extracts from celery seed have been shown to help reduce high blood pressure. The active ingredient in celery seed, 3-n-butylphthalide (3nB), helps to relax the arteries and improve blood flow.
Yoga is an effective natural remedy for high blood pressure. It helps to improve circulation, increase flexibility, and reduce stress levels, all of which can help to lower high blood pressure.
What medications lower high blood pressure?
There are many medications to lower high blood pressure, but some of the most common ones include beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers. These drugs work by lowering the heart rate or relaxing the blood vessels in your body.
Beta blockers work by blocking receptors that cause adrenaline release in the body – this lowers heart rate and decreases stress on the cardiovascular system
ACE inhibitors block an enzyme that causes angiotensin II production which helps relax blood vessels and prevent hypertension
Calcium channel blockers
Calcium channel blockers help dilate your arteries so less blood is forced through them at once – this reduces strain on your heart
These four types of medication can be used alone or combined for more effective treatment of high blood pressure. It’s important to remember that these drugs do not cure hypertension – they only treat it temporarily. The best way to control high blood pressure is through holistic lifestyle changes such as with diet changes and regular exercise.
Your doctor will determine which type is best suited for you based on their personal preference as well as your medical history and health status
High blood pressure symptoms in women
Hypertension symptomes can be different from the symptoms experienced by men. Many women do not realize they have high blood pressure until they experience a heart attack or stroke.
Some high blood pressure symptoms in women include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Upper back pain
- Dizziness fainting spells, especially upon standing up suddenly
- Chest pain or discomfort shortness of breath
- Confusion lightheadedness when standing up suddenly from a sitting or lying position Headache that is often described as pounding, throbbing or pulsating
- A heavy feeling in any part of the body
- Nosebleeds unusually high blood pressure readings during visits to the doctor
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Vision problems, such as blurriness, double vision and seeing spots
If you experience any of these high blood pressure symptoms, see your doctor right away.
Why does my pregnant wife have high blood pressure
In pregnant women, high blood pressure is often caused by the extra strain on the heart and blood vessels from carrying around the extra weight of the baby and amniotic fluid. It can also be caused by changes in hormone levels during pregnancy.
High blood pressure can sometimes lead to problems such as preeclampsia, a condition that can cause serious health problems for both mother and baby. Most cases of high blood pressure during pregnancy are mild, but it’s important to have it checked out by your doctor to make sure there are no complications.
Treatment for high blood pressure during pregnancy usually includes medications and lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet modifications. In severe cases, bed rest or even early delivery may be necessary.
For the vast majority of pregnant women, high blood pressure is not a serious problem. The condition should be closely monitored by your doctor to make sure that your baby’s growing needs are still being met and to ensure that high blood pressure does not become high enough to threaten the life of you or your baby.
High blood pressure is a serious condition that can have significant negative health effects if not treated. However, it doesn’t need to be scary or intimidating with so many options available for treatment and management of this chronic disease. Speak with our medical specialists in The VIOS Clinic about your risk factors and symptoms, as well as the best management option for you.
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Dr. Ismail Sayeed
Dr. Sayeed is the Medical Director of ViOS, Inc. He is a deeply committed physician entrepreneur & medical blog writer. While building the global infrastructure of the VIOS Clinic, he is dedicated to educate people on the potential of specialist telemedicine for managing chronic diseases.
Read more about him in his author bio