Every now and then, at least one person is declared a patient of hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is a disease when the blood pressure of a person elevates as compared to average. All cardiovascular diseases are linked directly with high blood pressure.
Hypertension, known as high blood pressure commonly, is a medical condition in which the levels of pressure remains elevated in the arteries. Blood pressure is of two types, systolic, and diastolic. Systolic pressure occurs when the ventricle of the heart contracts, and diastolic pressure occurs when the ventricle relaxes. Normal levels of blood pressure are a range of 100 to 140mmHg for systolic, and 60 to 90mmHg for diastolic. If the blood pressure is more than the defined range, it is termed as hypertension.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be caused by a lot of factors, and actual reasons are quite misunderstood. High salt intake, depression, stress, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and genetic factors, all contribute to high blood pressure on individual basis. Similarly, factors such as lack of breast feeding, maternal smoking and low birth weight, also contribute to high blood pressure. Levels of urea, endocrine hormones, liquorice consumption, pregnancy and sleep apnoea are also linked with hypertension.
Dangers of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure itself is not dangerous, but persistent elevated levels of blood pressure can lead to chronic kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, aortic aneurysm, stroke, coronary artery disease and even death. More than 90% cases of high blood pressure have no underlying cause, while the remaining are a result of a secondary disease (Carretero, et al., 2000).
High Blood Pressure Treatments
Controlling high blood pressure does not only require medication, you need to make some lifestyle changes as well. Here are few effective treatments that can help lower blood pressure but also improve your life in general.
Start Exercising Regularly
Incorporate at least 15 minutes of exercise in your daily routine. Exercise will not only help you reduce your weight, but it will also improve circulation of blood within your body. Daily exercise, even if it is running or walking, can help improve blood pressure levels.
Approach a Healthy Diet
A proper diet, if followed regularly, can improve the blood pressure levels and bring them down by 14 mmHg. Doctors recommend a diet of light dairy products, more vegetables, fruits and grains, and less intake of salty foods.
Reduce Alcohol, Nicotine and Caffeine Intake
Doctors warn hypertensive patients to avoid indulging in binge-drinking, chain-smoking or heavy-caffeine addiction. Consuming alcohol in low amounts is helpful and can help decrease blood pressure, but more than a glass a day can cause adverse effects on the body. Similarly caffeine, if consumed more than 400mls a day, can also be dangerous as it increases the level of adrenaline within the body, leading to increase in the blood pressure (Mesas, et al., 2011). Tobacco should also be avoided at all costs, as the nicotine in tobacco causes an increase in blood pressure by 10mmHg.
Treating Hypertension with Medicines
A lot of medications, commonly termed as anti-hypertensives are used effectively for high blood pressure treatment. These medicines include angiotensin receptor blockers, angiotensin enzyme inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and thiazide-diuretics. Either they are administered alone, or in combination. Both methods help in reducing the blood pressure levels down to their normal values by minimizing counter-regulatory mechanisms.
Hypertension is one of the most important, yet avoidable, risk factor for untimely and premature deaths (WHO, 2009). If treated properly and managed on time, countless lives can be saved.
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Carretero, O. A., Oparil, S. & Oparil, 2000. Essential hypertension. Part I: definition and etiology. Circulation, 101(3), pp. 329-335.
Mesas, A. E., Leon-Muñoz, L. M., Rodriguez-Artalejo, F. & Lopez-Garcia, E., 2011. The effect of coffee on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in hypertensive individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 94(4), pp. 1113-26.
WHO, 2009. Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. [Online] Available at: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf
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DrFelix. 2015. High Blood Pressure Treatment. [ONLINE] Available at: www.drfelix.co.uk. [Accessed 05 January 2016].