What Exactly Is Hypertension?
Often referred to as the "silent killer", high blood pressure (hypertension) often causes no symptoms. Many people do not know that they have hypertension. Because hypertension can cause serious problems, it is important that people know more about it and that they get their checked regularly.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force the heart causes against the artery walls. High blood pressure makes the heart work too hard to pump the blood to the body. When this high blood pressure continues, it can cause the development of heart failure and hardening of the arteries, both very serious conditions. Blood pressure readings are done in measurements of mercury with the top number being the systolic pressure and the bottom the diastolic pressure. Good blood pressure is under 120/80. Pre-hypertension is anything between 120-139/80-89, and this is an indication that the person may develop hypertension. Hypertension is 140/90 and above.
What Causes Hypertension?
The exact cause of hypertension is unknown, and high blood pressure can affect many different kinds of people. If there is no cause for hypertension, it is called essential hypertension. Secondary hypertension is when high blood pressure is caused by a specific condition, lifestyle or medication. Some examples of secondary hypertension causes would be too much salt in the diet, anxiety, diabetes, cocaine use, alcohol abuse, obesity, adrenal gland tumors, appetite suppressants, Cushing syndrome, certain kidney diseases, migraine medications, some cold medications and several other medical conditions.
Who's at Risk for Hypertension?
Whether it is essential hypertension or secondary hypertension, many types of people have been identified as being at risk for hypertension. Those with family members who have high blood pressure are at high risk as well as those who smoke. Others at risk would include African-Americans, people over thirty-five, pregnant women, women on birth control pills, overweight people, people who are not active, those who eat too much salt, those who eat too many fats, and those who abuse alcohol.
How's Hypertension Treated?
Blood pressure can usually be controlled either with lifestyle changes, medications or a combination of the two. There are several types of blood pressure medications that doctors prescribe, each of them made up of several medicines. Lifestyle changes that can be very effective in controlling blood pressure are losing weight, aerobic exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking and for diabetics, controlling blood sugar.
When Is Hypertension Considered Serious?
Much of the time there are no symptoms with hypertension. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you need to be alert and call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following possible symptoms. These symptoms are chest pain, vision problems, confusion, extreme exhaustion, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, severe headaches and profuse sweating.
What If I Have Some of Those Risk Factors?
It is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly if you have some of those risk factors. The good thing about hypertension is that it can usually be controlled, but you need to work closely with your doctor to be sure that it stays under control. The prescription blood pressure medications can be effective, but they do have side effects. There are more natural remedies available-without the side effects.