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Hypertension: What Is It?

Hypertension is a medical term that means that the blood presses excessively on the arteries’ walls from the inside. Systolic (upper) pressure less than 120 and diastolic (lower) pressure less than 80 mmHg – it is considered normal.

Hypertension is diagnosed in the case of a constant increase in blood pressure (BP):

– more than 140 mmHg (Systolic blood pressure);

– more than 90 mmHg (Diastolic blood pressure).

According to Health Harvard Publishing, the difference between two numbers of blood pressures is also essential.

High blood pressure without proper treatment can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney or heart failure, vision impairment, and other complications. Even a slow and moderate increase in blood pressure is associated with a decrease in life expectancy.

Up to 40% of patients with hypertension do not suspect the disease because they are often asymptomatic.

To detect hypertension, you need to know its symptoms, regularly measure your tension with blood pressure monitors or a mobile phone, and monitor your condition. For an in-depth analysis of your state, it is better to use an application that works based on AI’s self-learning principle and has the most extensive database. For example, the Welltory, as the best blood pressure app and the heart rate variability monitor, can collect and analyze information from other measuring devices. It provides excellent support in an environment where regular visits to a specialist are complicated due to quarantine restrictions. The application offers support to specialized specialists who can provide essential advice and understand your condition’s indicators.

Causes of Hypertension

The pressure in the arterial bed, which ensures blood movement from the heart to the organs, is the product of cardiac output values and total peripheral vascular resistance. These indicators change under the influence of a wide range of pathophysiological factors, mainly in different combinations.

If you have high blood pressure, better first understand the cause. There may be situations where the pressure has risen, but the disease can not be considered: against the background of severe emotional stress, alcohol consumption, after strenuous exercise. However, for a healthy person, the body compensates for the influence of all these factors and maintains normal blood pressure.

Hypertension develops due to genetic mechanisms and exogenous factors – excessive salt intake, psycho-emotional stress, obesity.

Determining risk factors for hypertension:

  • gender (women suffer more often according to statistic);
  • age (more than 50 years);
  • total cholesterol level.

The risk increases if the patient leads a sedentary lifestyle is obese, early onset of cardiovascular disease in family members, preclinical manifestations of atherosclerosis, decreased renal function, and more.

People who have close relatives under 55 with high blood pressure quadruple their risk of developing hypertension.

The role of excess sodium (salt) in developing hypertension has been demonstrated in Japan. Thanks to the National Educational Program’s introduction to Limit Salt Consumption (for 20 years), it has been possible to reduce the incidence of hypertensive cerebrovascular accidents (heart attacks, strokes, etc.).

Types of Hypertension

Depending on the etiology, there are two types of hypertension:

  •  Primary or essential (hypertension);
  • Secondary or symptomatic.

Symptomatic hypertension is also divided into:

  1. Renal;
  2. Endocrine;
  3. Caused by coarctation of the aorta;
  4. Associated with neurological causes (brain tumor, encephalitis, sleep apnea syndrome, Hyena-Barre syndrome);
  5. Caused by pregnancy;

In 95% of cases, essential arterial hypertension is diagnosed.

Symptoms of hypertension:

  • High blood pressure (140/90);
  • Headache (most often in the occipital or parietal part);
  • Intermittent tinnitus, darkening of the eyes, and dizziness;
  • Pain in the heart;
  • Rapid heartbeat (more than 90 times per minute) at rest;
  • Feeling of suffocation.

In most cases, the onset of hypertension goes unnoticed. If blood pressure rises gradually, then headaches and dizziness are usually ignored.

Increased blood pressure may be accompanied by general weakness, irritability, drowsiness. These symptoms are characteristic of entirely different diseases. It is why the late referral of patients to a specialist when hypertension is detected accidentally during a visit to the doctor for other reasons.

Even worse, when the cardiogram shows changes in the form of left ventricular hypertrophy or the ophthalmologist records a change in the fundus’s vessels. It means that high blood pressure has already damaged the heart and blood vessels, and treatment should have started a year ago.

Treatment of Hypertension

Treatment of hypertension should take place only under the supervision of a physician.

Changes in diet and lifestyle can improve blood pressure control and reduce the risk of health complications. However, medical treatment is often necessary for people for whom lifestyle changes are ineffective or insufficient.

If you first find yourself at rest at a pressure above 140/90, worried about headaches, tinnitus, and weakness – please, see a doctor.

Only a medical professional can diagnose and prescribe the appropriate medication.

If you have already been diagnosed with “hypertension,” you should immediately take the prescribed medication to reduce blood pressure and lie down for 30-40 minutes with your eyes closed. After the measures are taken, measure the pressure again: if it does not decrease, the condition worsens – you need to call an ambulance.

Prevention

It is necessary to think about preventing hypertension at a young age, especially if one of the close relatives has cardiovascular disease.

  • Healthy eating habits and lifestyle, in general, will help prevent high blood pressure:
  • Maintain normal body weight;
  • Quit smoking;
  • Limit the amount of alcohol consumed, and it is better not to drink alcohol at all;
  • Exercise regularly (at least 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week);
  • Limit salt intake (up to 5 g per day for an adult – a little less than a teaspoon, including “hidden salt” in marinades, smoked meats, sausages, sauces, and even regular bread);
  • Avoid stress (excellent prevention of pressure on the body is light running, swimming, yoga, walking in nature);
  • Eat foods rich in potassium (cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, greens).
  • To prevent the onset of hypertension, you need to take more care of your health and measure your pressure at least twice a day for all people over 50.

How to correctly measure blood pressure

Early diagnosis of hypertension depends on the accuracy of measurements. Doctors advise regularly checking devices’ serviceability for measuring pressure and their readings’ accuracy.

It is equally important to follow the recommendations of international experts when measuring, in particular:

  1. Pressure is measured while sitting, at rest, not earlier than 30 minutes after walking, smoking, drinking tea, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages (otherwise you can record high blood pressure, even in a healthy person);
  2. Feet should be on the floor;
  3. Measure blood pressure twice (break – up to 2 minutes), and in case of discrepancies of readings of more than ten mmHg, one more measurement is required, the indicator will be the average result;
  4. The manometer is placed at the level of the heart;
  5. During the first measurement, blood pressure is measured on both the left and right hand, taking into account the higher value;
  6. If the difference in the readings of different hands exceeds 20 mmHg, it needs re-measurement.

Interesting Related Article: “6 Steps to Better High Blood Pressure Treatment for Older Adults