HYPERTENSION, defined as having a blood pressure higher than 140 over 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury), with a consensus across medical guidelines. This means the systolic reading (the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body) is over 140 mmHg and/or the diastolic reading (as the heart relaxes and refills with blood) is over 90 mmHg.
Fortunately, hypertension / high blood pressure / BP can be detected easily and also can be controlled in many ways. Most of the people who have high blood pressure don’t show any sign and symptoms even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. The symptoms usually don’t occur until high BP reaches the life-threatening stage.
There are two types of hypertension:
1) Primary hypertension: develops gradually over many years and there is no defined cause of high blood pressure in this case. Most adults with a sedentary lifestyle will have primary hypertension one day in a lifetime.
2) Secondary hypertension: develops secondarily to the underlying clinical conditions. People with kidney problems, fatty liver, thyroid problems, alcohol abuse, obstructive sleep apnea may develop hypertension
JNC CLASSIFICATION OF HYPERTENSION
|Category||Systolic mmHg||Diastolic mmHg|
|Normal||<120 mmHg||or||<80 mmHg|
|Prehypertensive||120 mmHg to 139 mmHg||or||80 mmHg to 89 mmHg|
|Stage 1 hypertension||140 mmHg to 159 mmHg||or||90 mmHg to 99mmHg|
|Stage 1 hypertension||>=160 mmHg||or||>= 100 mmHg|
Symptoms of hypertension: many times it may be asymptomatic and it can quietly cause damage to the cardiovascular system. However, following are some common symptoms of hypertension,
- a severe headache
- fatigue or confusion
- vision problem
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- pounding in chest, neck, or ears
Risk Factors: high blood pressure has many risk factors including followings.
- Age: As you grow older risk of high blood pressure will increase.
- Gender: Men likely develop high blood pressure early around the age of 45 years. Female develops around the age of 65 years.
- Family History: Heredity is of the factor.
- Being overweight or obese: The more you weight the more you require blood to supply your tissues
- Being physically inactive: lack of physical activity increased risk of getting high blood pressure
- Smoking and Chewing Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco habits damage blood vessels to narrow and eventually increasing your pressure
- Low potassium in your diet: causes accumulating sodium in the body and causing swelling and rise in blood pressure
- Low vitamin D in diet: causes the Low production of an enzyme that regulates blood pressure
- Drinking Alcohol
Uncontrolled high blood pressure may lead to:
- Heart attack
- Stroke: the sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood flow or rupture of an artery to the brain.
- Aneurysm: an excessive localized, abnormal swelling of the wall of an artery and appears like a balloon.
- Heart failure is the condition where the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body’s needs.
- Weak blood vessels in the kidney
- Trouble with memory and understanding
High blood pressure can be controlled by:
1. You can modify your lifestyle
- Eating a healthy diet with low salt
- Exercise regularly
- Stop smoking and taking alcohol
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Consume a diet rich in fruit and vegetable
- Practice relaxation or slow, deep breathing
- Manage stress
2. You can consult a physician and have anti-hypertensive medications on a regular basis
NOTE: hypertension is preventable if above-mentioned risk factors are avoided and if already diseased it can be controlled through lifestyle modifications and medications regularly. Consult with our doctors for more depth detail.
Content By: Dr. Suman Neupane, Dr. Suyesh Karki, and Dr. Mohan Bhandari