High Blood Pressure-Explained Simply
What Actually It Is ?
Hypertension,commonly known as high blood pressure ,is a condition in which blood flows with an increased force or pressure against artery walls,which ultimately in long -term causes health problems.
This pressure depends on the amount of blood pumped by our heart and the amount of resistance the flow met in our arteries.Thus more the amount of blood and narrower the arteries,higher will be the blood pressure.
High blood pressure may or may not be present with any symptoms.Even without presenting any symptom it continue to damage organs of the body in long run,so it is a sort of silent killer.
Fortunately your family doctor can easily detect it by a simple blood pressure measuring instrument during routine check ups.
Heart is like a pump.When it contract or beat it sends flow of blood through vessels increasing pressure.This is called systolic pressure.When heart relaxes between the beats blood pressure decreases.This is called diastolic pressure.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury(mm Hg).If your systolic pressure is 120 and diastolic pressure is 80,your blood pressure is recorded as 120 over 80 i.e.120/80 mm of Hg.
New Gidelines for High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure categories in the new guideline are:
- Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
- Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
- Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
- Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
- Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
Symptoms And Signs Of High Blood Pressure
SYMPTOMS OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:-A headache, dizziness, irritability, fatigue and insomnia are minor symptoms and inappropriately attributed to high blood pressure.
SIGNS OF BLOOD PRESSURE:-With the help of a stethoscope, simple palpation and auscultation, EKG and fundus examination of eyes, your doctor can definitely detect the various signs of hypertension.
Who Is More At Risk For High Blood Pressure::
The older age group(40 pluses), overweighted, smokers,alcoholics,high salt-high calory-high fat diet takers, those who avoid fruits and vegetables, sedentary lifestyler, persons who are under constant mental stress, persons on contraceptive pills, diet pills and arthritic medications, diabetics,all these are more at risk for high blood pressure.
Complications Of High Blood Pressure::
Ignored or untreated High blood pressure silently damage your body for years leading to serious complications.
--continuous high blood pressure leads to overstretching of flexible, elastic walls of arteries, which damages inner lining of the artery, which in turn make walls thick and stiff.This is called arteriosclerosis.
--overstretching of vessels due to persistent high blood pressure leads to tiny tears in them.These tears and the scar tissue they leave behind can catch debris in the blood such as cholesterol.This result in a buildup of fatty deposits that narrows and clog the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Thus, arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are the conditions which are responsible for other serious complications of high blood pressure.
--when supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked due to atherosclerosis heart attack results.
--increased blood pressure can cause blood vessels to weaken and bulge forming an aneurysm.If aneurysm burst,it can threaten the life.
--heart failure is another complication of high blood pressure.As your heart has to pump blood against higher pressure in your vessels, heart muscles thickens, which in turn make more difficult for heart to pump the blood to meet your body's requirement.This leads to heart failure.
--Constant high blood pressure also damages your kidneys, Eyes, Brain and nerves in long run.
Management Of High Blood Pressure:::
As discussed earlier high blood pressure is most important risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, renal diseases and peripheral vascular diseases.So it is up to doctors to not only identify and treat the patient with high blood pressure but also promote healthy life style and preventive measures to control the prevalence of high blood pressure.Majority of patients with borderline or prehypertension stage can be easily managed by implementing certain lifestyle changes including dietary adjustments.Following lifestyle changes can help you to prevent and control high blood pressure.
>exercise regularly.This should include 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity dynamic activity, 4-5 days a week.Taking stairs instead of the elevator.Doing household chores like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, scrubbing the floor also helps greatly.Park your car far in the lot.Jogging, cycling, swimming also favours the cause.Take part in activities you enjoy.
>maintain a healthy body weight.For an extra kilo of a body weight, heart has to pump blood in to extra 1.5 to 2 kilometers of blood vessels with increased force, thus possibility of high blood pressure increases considerably.
>eat a well- balanced diet.For an overall eating plan consider DASH, which stands for "Dietary Approach to Stop hypertension."You can reduce your blood pressure by few points in just a couple of weeks by following DASH.For an overall eating plan consider DASH, which stands for "Dietary Approach to Stop hypertension."
Cut back foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol,
take high fibre diet.
Take good amount of vegetables, fruits, fish and low-fat dairy products.
Eat more whole grain food, fish, poultry and nuts.
Use only half the butter or margarine you do now.
Reduce sweets, sugary drinks and red meat.
Instead of chips or sweets eat unsalted pretzels and nuts, raisins, low fat
and fat free yogurt, frozen yogurt, unsalted plain popcorn without butter.
Reduce the salt intake (two to three teaspoons).
Thus eating well does not mean giving up food you love, but it simply means choose wisely from a variety of foods.
>limit alcohol consumption.
>stay relaxed by listening music, reading a book, meditation, praying.
What Are The Medicines And How They Act ?
By changing to above mentioned life style approach and adopting DASH high blood pressure can be lowered to greater extent.But some time you need medicines to lower it further.There is a wide range of medicines available for high blood pressure which can be used single or in combinations.
There are five main classes of medicines that are used to lower blood pressure and there are various types and brands in each class.
(1)Diuretics or waterpills/thiazides:They work by reducing fluid in circulation which in turn reduces blood pressure.
(2)ACE(Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitors:They work by reducing the amount of a chemical angiotensin, so the blood vessels remain relaxed and widen and so pressure also lowers.Captopril, Lisinopril, Ramipril, etc. are some of the ACE inhibitors.
(3)AIIRB(Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers):They have a similar effect to ACE inhibitors.Losartan, Valsartan, etc. are some of the AIIRB.
(4) Beta blockers:They work by slowing heart rate and reducing force of heart.Atenolol, Metoprolol are beta blockers.
(5) Calcium channel blockers:They prevent calcium from going in to heart and blood vessels' muscle cells thus causing cells to relax, which lowers blood pressure.Amlodipine, Diltiazem, Nifedipine, etc. are some of the calcium channel blockers.