Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a medical condition in which the blood pressure in an individual’s arteries increase to abnormal levels. It can cause severe health complications, for instance, increasing the risk of a heart attack, stroke, even leading to death. Blood pressure is determined by the resistance to the flow of blood within the arteries and the amount of blood the heart pumps. The narrower the arteries and the more blood the heart pumps, the higher the blood pressure. Blood pressure can develop over many years without any symptoms. Because hypertension is a silent disease, it poses a serious threat to people’s lives because most people who have it are not aware. One can visit Family Life Medical, a family practice in Conroe, TX, to ensure they understand the symptoms of hypertension, and how to prevent the disease.
Anyone suspecting they have hypertension can check their blood pressure using a blood pressure meter, easily purchasable online or in medical stores that sell the equipment. Alternatively, many drugstores have free blood pressure meters that one can use. Additionally, there are many medical offices that offer free blood pressure checks. When self-testing for blood pressure, one should ensure that the cuff is at the same level as the heart and the right size on the arm. If it’s too large on the arm, it will be lost and the results will be falsely low. If it’s too tight on the arm, the results will be falsely high. Be still when taking the measurement. Agitation, when the cuff is inflated, will raise the resistance and in turn elevate the blood pressure measurement giving false results. Measure the systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which is the blood pressure during and in-between heartbeats respectively.
Learning about Hypertension
There are very few known symptoms of hypertension and this makes it difficult to diagnose the disease. Any symptoms that do appear may differ between patients, only surfacing when the disease has reached critical levels. These symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, nosebleeds, and headaches. To diagnose the disease with certainty, one has to get their blood pressure tested. The blood pressure must be above 120/80 for a person to be considered to have hypertension. High blood pressure occurs in several stages depending on the levels of pressure affecting the blood. The 120 – 139/80 – 89 range is considered prehypertension, and if the blood pressure can be maintained at this level, then it should not be a cause for alarm. The 140 – 159/90 – 99 range is considered stage one high blood pressure, which is concerning but can be managed. People at this range should start making lifestyle changes like losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption. The 160 or higher/100 or higher range is stage 2 hypertension, which is a very dangerous level that requires immediate medical attention.
Abusing tobacco, either through smoking or through chewing not only raises blood pressure at that moment but also in the long-term. Chemicals in tobacco destroy the arterial lining, which in turn narrows the artery, thereby increasing blood pressure. In addition to tobacco, drinking too much alcohol leads to high blood pressure, and causes severe damage to a person’s heart, and liver. Alcohol also interferes with the medication used to control hypertension, causing further damage to an individual. One should also limit junk food or foods that are high in sodium to lower blood pressure. Too much sodium causes a person to retain fluids, which eventually increase blood pressure.