Danger Of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Measuring my blood pressure
Took only half tablet twice a day ("Novartis" Exforge HCT)
When one is sick, go see a doctor
When one is over 60, health consideration takes priority. Of course there are those who won’t take note that age is catching up. For me, I take my health, or lack of it, very seriously. I know how fragile my body is at this age. I am 63 this year, 2013. So when the doctor told me that I had high blood pressure, I was very worried. It was then I started searching for more details on hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure. I Googled “danger of hypertension” . Even before being diagnosed as having hypertension, I had a fair knowledge of what it was, but the knowing was just knowledge. When one is admitted into the club, one takes careful note of the rules and regulations. I can now associate with and relate to the facts presented.
It all started with the feeling of dizziness. It went on for a few days. When it did not disappear, I went to see the doctor. The first thing the doctor did was took my blood pressure, 175/120! This was very very high reading. The ideal reading should be 120/80. I could see the doctor was a bit concern over that reading. So instead of diagnosing my dizziness, he immediately prescribed hypertension medication for me. Dizziness seemed secondary at that moment. I presumed that dizziness was caused by my hypertension.
He prescribed "Novartis" Exforge HCT amlodipine/valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide, (10mg/160mg/25mg) which he said to be the best medication available. And he ordered me to take complete rest and see him every 2 days to monitor the bp. I followed his instruction like an obedient child, fearing for my life! Before I deviate further, bearing in mind that this article is about danger of hypertension, and not about my personal health predicament, I shall first share what I have read from my internet search about hypertension. After that, I shall continue with my story.
Blood Pressure Guide Chart
What is hypertension
The common term for hypertension is high blood pressure. The heart pumps blood to the whole body through the arteries. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing up against the artery linings. The higher the blood pressure the harder the heart has to exert itself to pump the blood. This will take the toll on the heart.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetre mercury (mmHg). The normal blood pressure reading is 120/80. Any reading above 140/90 is regarded as having hypertension. The first figure is called systolic reading which is the peak pressure in the arteries, and the second figure is diastolic reading , the minimum pressure in the arteries. The range between these two sets is regarded as pre-hypertension, especially nearing the 140/90.
I saw a hypertension poster in the hospital which gave a b/p reading of 100/70 as the best reading.
Causes of hypertension
The exact causes of hypertension have not been established, but the following conditions are main contributing factors:
· Genetics and family history of hypertension
· Sedentary lifestyle
· Lack of physical exercise
· Unhealthy diet, especially with excessive salt intake
· High consumption of alcohol
· Insufficient vitamin D, calcium, potassium and magnesium
· Taking birth control pills
· Chronic kidney disease
· Adrenal and thyroid problems or tumors
Symptoms of hypertension
Hypertension is a silent killer. About a third who suffered hypertension did not realize that they had the problem, until too late. I think it is very prudent of doctors who always routinely check the patient’s blood pressure, irrespective of illness. However, for the “luckier” ones, they may experience one or more of the symptoms below:
· Severe headache
· Irregular heart beat
· Chest pain
· Breathing problem
· Vision problem
· Blood in urine
Danger of hypertension
Hypertension can be a silent killer. Life-threatening attacks may happen without much warning. These are the dangers of hypertension:
· Heart attack
· Kidney failure
· Retinopathy (damage to eye arteries)
· Aneurysm (bulging arteries which may cause rupture and internal bleeding)
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Prevention is better than cure
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I try my best to take good care of my well-being. You can read about my health regime articles, the links are on the right column. Despite my conscious effort to maintain a healthy body, the aging process is merciless. I shall continue my story here before I end this article. Out of the blues, I experienced a sudden bout of dizziness which continued to disturb me until I had to go see my doctor. The news of me having hypertension was a great surprise to me. Now that my blood pressure has somewhat “normalized” I am trying to identify what caused the sudden surge in my blood pressure. The only cause might be the prolonged dizziness. But then isn’t dizziness a symptom of hypertension?
Never mind about the cause or causes. The most important fact is that I had sought treatment and am now feeling okay. The normal precautions against hypertension especially for elderly people like me would be healthy diet, regular exercise and a stress-free lifestyle.
As a precaution I am now monitoring my blood pressure at least twice a day, once in the morning and the second time at night. I bought an electronic b/p measuring device. It is very easy to use. You can take a look at the photos here. I read somewhere that this electronic device is less accurate, giving slightly lower readings than the conventional mercury device (mercury sphygmomanometer). For household use, the electronic device is good enough because it is very easy to operate. You just need to press the "on" button.
Taking my blood pressure
Amlodipine Basilate (5mg)
My health update
This update is written on June 1, 2013, four days after I published this article on May 28, 2013, which incidentally was my 63rd birthday. What a birthday present to me!
I was first given the hypertension medication called "Novartis" Exforge HCT which I completed taking them, and the doctor did not give me any further medication. I continued to monitor my b/p levels and they did not seem to be coming down, always hovering around 138/89. As a life-long precaution my doctor insisted that I should take the hypertension medication for life. He prescribed me a milder medication called Amlodipine Basilate (5mg), to be taken one tablet a day. I took one this morning. The time now is 10.35pm and I just monitored my b/p which showed 126/78.
Initially, I was quite adamant to take the medication. Honestly, I was prescribed the medication a few days ago, but I was hesitant to join the "life member" club of medication. I checked with someone who is still very healthy nearing 80 years old and he confirmed that he has been on this medication for the past 35 years without any side effect. So today I decided to follow his wise decision and joined the club!
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