Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is the most common cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease simply means “heart disease.”
As discussed in another article in the past, no one is exempt from the possibility of developing heart disease, even children.
However, due to some factors, some individuals are more at risk. These individuals include:
- People with diabetes
- People who have hypertension (high blood pressure)
- People who have little or no physical activity
- People who do not observe a healthy diet
- People who smoke
Hypertension is the most common among older people. Every time the heart beats, blood is being pumped out and circulated throughout the body.
The flow of the blood creates a force that pushes against the walls of the arteries and that force is what we call the blood pressure.
Just like a rubber tire having limited space for air pressure or how a hose can only accommodate moderate water flow, there is also a limit to how much our blood vessels can handle.
High blood pressure in the blood vessels can lead to serious conditions such as getting a stroke or a heart disease.
Attending regular check-ups can determine whether or not a person has high blood pressure. If you get regular check-ups, you can check your blood pressure by yourself using a sphygmomanometer.
If you notice any observe any problem or anything unusual about your blood pressure, we highly encourage you to go see a doctor and ask for a diagnosis.
High blood pressure or hypertension is quite threatening and should never be overlooked. This condition can lead to a much more serious condition such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, etc.
There are available treatments for hypertension that aim to normalize high blood pressure and protect the body organs from any kind of damage.
Statistics show that hypertension treatments are linked to significant reductions different conditions like strokes (reduced by 35-40%), heart failures (reduced by more than 50%), and heart attacks (reduced by 20-25%).
People who have a systolic BP (blood pressure) greater than 130 and diastolic greater than 80 are classified to have high blood pressure.
Preventing high blood pressure is not a walk in the park, everyone is going to have to make changes in their lifestyle like committing to a healthier, more balanced diet, getting physically active, quitting unhealthy habits like smoking, etc.
Medication is also an available option to treat high blood pressure for people older than 65 years old.
How to measure blood pressure
A reading for blood pressure has two different numbers. The first one is what we call the systolic pressure, this number should be higher than the other one.
Systolic pressure is the force against our arteries every time the heart beats. The second one is what we call the diastolic pressure, this number is supposed to be smaller than the systolic.
Diastolic pressure is the pressure inside our arteries every time the heart takes a break in between beats. Normal blood pressure reading starts from approximately 64/60 (for an infant) up to 120/80 (for a healthy adult).
Measuring your blood pressure right after doing physical activity is not ideal as there is a tendency for the reading to be slightly higher than your normal blood pressure.
Take a rest for about 10-15 minutes before taking your blood pressure for a more accurate reading. Note that it is normal for the blood pressure to fluctuate upon changes in activity, both physical and emotional.
It is also normal for two different persons of the same age and the same lifestyle to have different blood pressure readings.
Should you have high blood pressure that doesn’t seem to fall, we highly suggest that you consult a doctor and ask what treatment would best fit your condition.
High blood pressure pushes the heart to work way beyond its normal capacity, this can injure the blood vessels and damage different body organs.
It is extremely important to commit to a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent and treat high blood pressure.
The following lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure:
- Limit alcohol intake to two standard drinks in a day (for men) and one standard drink a day (for women)
- Exercise regularly (briskly walk at least 30-40 minutes a day)
- Limit sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg a day (for people with hypertension) and no more than 2,300 mg a day (for healthy adults)
- Committing to a healthy, low-fat diet (more on fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy)
- Letting go of unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol
- Losing weight (for people who are overweight)
These not only lower blood pressure but also boost the effectivity of medicine meant to improve high blood pressure.
Medications used for treating hypertension
Some of the several kinds of drugs that treat high blood pressure are the following:
- Combination medications
- Renin inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
Diuretics are drugs usually recommended as a start drug therapy for people who suffer high blood pressure.
Your doctor might still use a different medicine to start your drug therapy depending on the person’s health and medical problems.
One example is when diabetics are often started with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. If the drug doesn’t function as intended, your doctor might add another set of medications.
If your reading is 20/10 points higher than your regular BP, you may be advised to take two different drugs at the same time or use a combination drug.
Hypertension treatment follow-up
Once you’ve started your drug therapy for blood pressure, it is recommended to visit your doctor monthly (at least once a month) until you reach your desired blood pressure.
Your doctor might also check your blood’s potassium levels and do a health check on some of your organs up to twice a year.
You should still see your doctor monthly after high blood pressure therapy until you reach your desired blood pressure goal.
Once you reach your desired blood pressure, continue to visit your doctor twice to thrice a year (every 3-6 months) for a check-up, especially if you are suffering other diseases.
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