Hypertension or high blood pressure is also known as the silent killer defined as high pressure in the arteries, (which are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body). Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, kidney failure, and stroke.
Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers
· Systolic pressure is the top number which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts and pumps out blood.
· Diastolic pressure: is the bottom number, which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes.
· Normal blood pressure: 120/80 is considered normal.
· Pre-Hypertension: The systolic number is between 130 and 139, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm of Hg
· Stage 1 hypertension: The systolic number is between 140 and 159, or the diastolic number is between 90 and 100 mm of Hg
· Stage 2 hypertension: The systolic number is 160 or higher, or the diastolic number is 100 or higher.
There are 2 main types,
Primary Hypertension which is mainly due to genetic factors and runs in families and is irreversible.
Secondary Hypertension which is due to underlying some other disease such as hormone problems, blood vessel blockage, kidney disease or sleep apnea and can be reversed. If you develop blood pressure at the young age or if it is not easily controlled with medicines, you should be screened for secondary causes.
Following are the symptoms of high blood pressure.
· Shortness of breath
· Chest pain
· Blurred vision
Following factors increase the chances of developing high blood pressure
· Obesity or overweight.
· Family history: High blood pressure tends to run in families
· Age. The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. High blood pressure is more common in men than women.
· Smoking. it raises your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, and makes your blood more likely to clot. It also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
· High salt diet. High sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
· Unhealthy lifestyle: poor diet and lack of physical activity may also increase your blood pressure and weight problems.
· Drinking too much alcohol. Over the time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than one drink a day also affect your blood pressure.
Following measures can help to reduce chances of developing high blood pressure or at least help in controlling it
· If you are obese or overweight, losing weight certainly helps
· Avoid smoking
· Eating healthy diet such as fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
· Reducing sodium/salt intake (avoid salty food)
· Getting regular exercise
If your blood pressure is not controlled with preventive measures, your doctor would likely prescribe a medicine to control that. You should also be screened for any underlying kidney or hormone issues. You may also need to be checked out for any other secondary causes.
There are different classes of blood pressure medicines and your doctor will prescribe the best medicine based on your overall health and other issues.
Call us with any questions and for any recommendations. You can also request an appointment for second opinion services with top American hypertension specialist on our panel.
Dr. Waqas Ahmed
Dr. Tatiana Thomas