Hypertension: An Overview
What Is Hypertension?
Inside our body, the heart pumps blood which runs through our arteries and reaches every corner of the body. This flow of blood creates pressure on the walls of the arteries. If this pressure goes beyond the normal limit, then you have high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension.
Traditionally, hypertension is measured using a mercury manometer machine, called the sphygmomanometer. A reading of 120/80 mmHg is considered normal for an adult human.
What Causes Hypertension?
It’s not always possible to know why you might be suffering from hypertension. Yet, if we had to pin it down, you have to first understand that there are basically two types of hypertension which are classified based on what causes them.
Types of Hypertension
1. Primary Hypertension: This type of hypertension is acquired by adults as they become older. This condition starts small and gets serious gradually. There is no particular reason for primary or essential hypertension. Although, a genetic factor, combined with unidentified environmental factors, has been seen to increase the risk.
2. Secondary Hypertension: Hypertension can be a manifestation of an underlying condition as well. Such kind of hypertension is called secondary hypertension and it can be controlled by controlling the causal disease.
Certain diseases that can cause hypertension are kidney diseases, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, adrenal gland (a gland near the kidneys) problems, etc.
Some patients have a rise in blood pressure with certain kinds of medicines, use of alcohol, and other poor lifestyle choices like eating high salt content foods etc.
Do I Have Hypertension?
At the initial stages, hypertension will show subtle signs. As the blood pressure increases, the symptoms of hypertension will become more prominent. But when that happens, it poses serious threats to health. So, best recognise the initial symptoms.
Let’s have a look at the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Nose bleeding
- Chest pain
- Feeling hot flush
- Vision problem
- Blood in urine
It is not necessary that one patient will feel all the symptoms. The extent to which a patient perceives the symptoms also differ. In fact, most people do not feel any discomfort until hypertension reaches an advanced level.
What Happens If Hypertension Persists / Progresses?
Hypertension has the reputation of being a ‘silent killer’. Many a time, the symptoms are so tolerable that patients often ignore them and gradually step towards extremely serious health issues.
Some such long-term potential health hazards predisposed to by hypertension are:
- Heart attack
- Stroke (may lead to disability also)
- Rupture of blood vessels
- Kidney damage
- Loss of vision
- Challenged Cognitive Ability
(Difficulty in Understanding)
At the most serious stage, hypertension can cause heart failure or cardiac arrest leading to death. That is why it is always wise to get checked for blood pressure levels regularly; at least once a month.
How Do You Diagnose Hypertension?
The doctors will use a pressure-cuff to measure your blood pressure. A pressure cuff is traditionally a machine that reads the blood pressure based on a mercury scale. An electric alternative can also be used.
Refer to the chart below to understand how serious your condition is:
Based on this reading, the doctor will prescribe you proper treatment to manage your situation.
How Can We Cure Hypertension?
Hypertension is not a disease on its own. Hence, it cannot be cured. But it is a very serious health condition and so, it should be managed with utmost care.
There are three ways in which this issue can be managed.
You may like to bring in some dietary changes to control hypertension. Try the following:
- Intake less salt, sugar
- Avoid fast food, packaged food.
- Quit smoking (if applicable)
- Do not drink alcohol
- Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition, you can exercise regularly to stay healthy. Your doctor may even suggest you some targetted exercises. People with healthy weight find it much easier to control their high blood pressure.
There are many medicines that can help you in various ways. For example:
- Assist the kidneys in removing excess salt and water reducing the volume of blood.
- Helps blood vessels to relax so that they don’t get stressed with the pressure.
- Prevents foreign/natural elements to settle over blood vessels which would otherwise make them thinner.
- If you have palpitation (too high heart rate) as well, medicines may help the heart in getting a normal pace.
Based on which medicine is most beneficial to you, your doctor may prescribe one or a combination of medicines.
Treating The Underlying Condition
If your hypertension has not responded positively to medicine, it may be caused due to an underlying condition. In that scenario, your doctor will attempt to diagnose and treat the other condition which will automatically take down the pressure on the blood vessels. However, the treatment will differ depending on the underlying disease.
Can Hypertension Be Prevented?
Yes. Diet & exercise.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and help you prevent (or at least, postpone the onset of) hypertension. Not that you already know what a ‘healthy lifestyle’ comprises of, but still, here’s a gist of it.
- Eat healthy food.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol & drug abuse.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly (preferably aerobic).
- Eat less salt & sugar.
- Check your blood pressure daily.
- LIVE STRESS-FREE
You might not be accustomed to the word “hypertension”, instead, you would be more familiar with the colloquial term for it – high bp. And you hear that way too often. It is a very common condition and millions of people are affected by it. Some people suffer from it because they ignore it and some people manage it smartly and live a fulfilling life. Which kind of a person are you?
Do not take your hypertension lightly. Approach our doctors at Sunshine Hospital. We can help you find the best management technique in accordance with your unique lifestyle. Book an appointment here – the faster your care starts, the easier it will be to manage.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.