High blood pressure symptoms, causes and treatment

High blood pressure occurs when your blood pressure rises to unhealthy levels. Blood pressure measurement takes into account the amount of blood that passes through the blood vessels and how much resistance the blood meets during heart pumping.

High blood pressure is very common. In fact, since the guidelines have recently changed, it is expected that nearly half of adults will be diagnosed with this condition.

High blood pressure usually develops over several years. Usually, you don’t notice any symptoms. But even without symptoms, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and blood organs, especially the brain, heart, eyes and kidneys.

Early detection is important. Regular blood pressure readings can help you and your doctor notice any changes. If your blood pressure is high, your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure over a few weeks to see if the number will remain high or drop to normal levels.

Treatment for hypertension includes prescribed medications and healthy lifestyle changes. If the condition is not treated, it may lead to health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure in general is a silent condition. Many people will not have any symptoms. It can take years or even decades for the condition to reach levels severe enough for the symptoms to become clear. Until then, these symptoms may be attributed to other problems.

Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:

  1. Headaches
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Nosebleeds
  4. Dizziness
  5. Chest pain
  6. Visual changes
  7. The presence of blood in the urine

These symptoms require immediate medical attention. It does not occur in everyone with high blood pressure, but waiting for symptoms of this condition can be fatal.

The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get blood pressure readings regularly. Most doctors’ offices take a blood pressure reading at every appointment.

If you only have an annual physical condition, talk to your doctor about the risk of developing high blood pressure and other readings you may need to help you monitor your blood pressure.

For example, if you have a family history of heart disease or have risk factors to develop the condition, your doctor may recommend a blood pressure test twice a year. This helps you and your doctor stay informed about any potential problems before they become problematic.

What leads to high blood pressure?

There are two types of high blood pressure. Each type has a different reason.

Primary hypertension

This type of hypertension develops over time for no specific reason. Most people suffer from this type of high blood pressure.

Researchers remain unsure about the mechanisms that cause slowly rising blood pressure. A combination of factors may play a role. These factors include:

Genes: Some people genetically tend to have high blood pressure. This may be from genetic mutations or genetic abnormalities inherited from your parents.

Physical changes: If something changes in your body, you may start to face problems throughout your body. High blood pressure may be one of these problems. For example, changes in kidney function due to aging are thought to upset the body’s natural balance of salts and fluids. This change may cause high blood pressure in the body.

Environment: Over time, unhealthy lifestyle choices such as lack of physical activity and malnutrition can negatively affect your body. Lifestyle choices can lead to weight problems. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of high blood pressure.

Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension often occurs quickly and can become more severe than primary hypertension. Many conditions that may cause secondary hypertension include:

  1. Kidney disease
  2. Sleep apnea
  3. Congenital heart defects
  4. Thyroid problems
  5. Side effects of medications
  6. Use of banned drugs
  7. alcoholism
  8. Adrenal Problems
  9. Some endocrine tumors

Diagnosis of high blood pressure

Diagnosing high blood pressure is as simple as reading blood pressure. Most doctors’ offices check blood pressure as part of a routine visit. If you don’t receive a blood pressure reading on your next appointment, order one.

If your blood pressure is high, your doctor may ask for more readings over a few days or weeks. High blood pressure is rarely diagnosed after just one reading. Your doctor needs to see evidence of an ongoing problem. This is because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, such as the pressure you may feel when you are in a doctor’s office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.

If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor is likely to conduct further tests to rule out underlying conditions. These tests can include:

  1. Urine Test
  2. Cholesterol tests and other blood tests
  3. Test the electrical activity of your heart using an electrocardiogram (EKG, sometimes referred to as ECG)
  4. Ultrasound of the heart or kidney
  5. These tests can help your doctor identify any secondary problems that cause high blood pressure. They can also consider the effects that may have high blood pressure on your organs.

During this time, your doctor may begin to treat high blood pressure. Early treatment may reduce your risk of permanent damage.

Treatment options for high blood pressure

There are a number of factors that help your doctor make the best treatment option for you. These factors include your type of high blood pressure and the reasons that have been identified.

Primary hypertension treatment options

If your doctor diagnoses you with primary hypertension, lifestyle changes may help reduce high blood pressure. If lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient, or if they stop being effective, your doctor may prescribe medications.

Treatment options for secondary hypertension

If your doctor detects an underlying problem that causes high blood pressure, the treatment will focus on this other condition. For example, if your starting medication increases your blood pressure, your doctor will try other medications that don’t have this side effect.

Sometimes, high blood pressure persists despite the treatment of the underlying cause. In this case, your doctor may work with you to develop lifestyle changes and prescribe medications to help reduce blood pressure.

Plans for high blood pressure treatment often develop. What initially worked may become less useful over time. Your doctor will continue to work with you to improve treatment.

High blood pressure medications

Many people go through the trial and error phase using blood pressure medications. You may need to try different medications to find one or a set of medications that suit you. Some medications used to treat high blood pressure include:

Beta blockers: Beta blockers make your pulse slower and less powerful. This reduces the amount of blood that is pumped through the arteries with each pulse, which lowers blood pressure. It also inhibits certain hormones in the body that can raise blood pressure.

Diuretics: High levels of sodium and excess fluid in the body can increase blood pressure. Diuretics, also called water pills, help the kidneys remove excess sodium from your body. When sodium disappears, excess fluid in the bloodstream travels into the urine, helping to lower blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors: Angiotensin is a chemical that tightens and narrows blood vessels and arteries. ACE inhibitors prevent the body from producing as much of this chemical as possible. This helps blood vessels relax and reduces blood pressure.

Angiotensin 2 receptor blockers (ARBs): While angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors aim to stop the production of angiotensin, ARBs prevent angiotensin from being associated with receptors. Without the chemical, the blood vessels will not be tightened. This helps relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

Calcium channel blockers: These medications prevent some calcium from entering the heart muscle. This leads to lower heart rate and low blood pressure. These medications also work in blood vessels, leading to relaxation and lowering blood pressure.

Alpha 2: This type of medication alters the nerve impulses that cause blood vessels to tighten. This helps blood vessels relax, which reduces blood pressure.

Home remedies for high blood pressure

Healthy lifestyle changes can help you control the factors that cause high blood pressure. Here are some of the most common home remedies.

Developing a healthy diet

A heart-healthy diet is vital to help reduce high blood pressure. It is also important to manage controlled hypertension and reduce the risk of complications. These complications include heart disease, stroke and heart attack. A healthy heart diet emphasizes foods that include:

  1. Fruit
  2. Vegetables
  3. All grains
  4. Fat-free proteins such as fish
  5. Increased physical activity

Reaching a healthy weight should include being more physically active. In addition to helping you get rid of excess weight, exercise can help reduce stress, naturally lower blood pressure and strengthen your heart and blood vessels.

Reaching a healthy weight

If you are overweight or obese, losing weight through a heart-healthy diet and increased physical activity can help lower blood pressure.

Aim to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. That’s about 30 minutes five times a week.

Stress Management

Exercise is a great way to manage pressure. Other activities can also be useful. These include:

  1. Meditation
  2. Deep Breathing
  3. Massage
  4. Muscle relaxation
  5. Yoga

These are all pressure-relieving techniques. Getting enough sleep can help reduce stress levels.

Adopting a cleaner lifestyle

If you’re a smoker, try to quit. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage body tissues and harden the walls of blood vessels.

If you consume too much alcohol regularly or are suffering from alcoholism, seek help to reduce the amount you drink or stop altogether. Alcohol can raise blood pressure.