Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it flows through the arteries in your body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) happens when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal.
Elevated blood pressure, exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg — a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90 is known as high blood pressure.
Systolic pressure: This is the first, or top, number. It indicates the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood.
Diastolic pressure: This is the second, or bottom, number. It’s the reading of the pressure in your arteries between beats of your heart.
There are two types of high blood pressure
1. Primary hypertension
This also is called essential hypertension. It is called this when there is no known cause for your high blood pressure. This is the most common type of hypertension.
It may be a result of your lifestyle, environment, and how your body changes as you age.
2. Secondary hypertension. This is when a health problem or medicine is causing your high blood pressure.
Things are responsible for this type of hypertension.
Thyroid or adrenal gland problems
Symptoms of high blood pressure
Hypertension is generally a silent condition. This is why it’s sometimes called “the silent killer.” It is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:
shortness of breath
blood in the urine
They don’t occur in everyone with hypertension, but waiting for a symptom of this condition to appear could be fatal.
Causes of high blood pressure
In a majority of the patients (almost 90 percent), there is no known cause for the high blood pressure. Food, medicine, lifestyle, age, and genetics can cause high blood pressure.
Common factors include a high diet in salt, fat, and/or cholesterol, kidney and hormone problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol, family history, lack of physical activity, overweight and obesity, stress etc.
Diagnosis of HBP
High blood pressure is diagnosed with a blood pressure monitor. This is a common test for all doctor visits.
A hypertension diagnosis is rarely given after just one reading. Your doctor needs to see evidence of a sustained problem. That’s because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, such as the stress you may feel by being at the doctor’s office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.
These steps can lower your risk—and also help lower your numbers if you already have prehypertension or hypertension.
Lose a little weight:
Excess weight—and especially excess fat stored in your abdomen—can raise blood pressure by increasing your blood volume and by changing the balance of pressure-regulating hormones.
Cut back on alcohol:
A little alcohol relaxes the artery while too much can have opposite effects.
Exercise and other kinds of physical activity help keep arteries flexible and also reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which can tighten blood vessels and boost blood pressure.
The body’s stress response releases hormones that temporarily raise blood pressure. So performing stress relieving activity can help you lower blood pressure.
The minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium (found in low-fat and fat-free dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, as well as in production and dried beans) help your body regulate blood pressure. Too little can raise your blood pressure.
And high sodium food can increase blood pressure.
Treatment for HBP
Some of the medications used to treat hypertension include:
Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers make your heart beat slower and with less force.
It reduces your heart rate and output of blood, which lowers blood pressure.
It also blocks certain hormones in your body that can raise your blood pressure.
Diuretics: High sodium is a cause of high blood pressure. Diuretics, also called water pills, help your kidneys remove excess sodium from your body.
Vasodilators, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and calcium-channel blockers: ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors prevent the body from producing as much of this chemical. This helps blood vessels relax and reduces blood pressure.
Calcium channel blockers block some of the calcium from entering the cardiac muscles of your heart. This leads to less forceful heartbeats and lower blood pressure.
Vasodilators relax blood vessels.