The force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries is known as blood pressure. When this force is consistently higher than usual, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. If your blood pressure is high, your heart has taken more effort to pump blood. And this increased stress or exertion can cause severe damage to your eyes, kidneys, and heart.
High blood pressure is a pretty common health condition in the USA, affecting almost half of adults. People with hypertension don’t have symptoms, so it is not always detected early. You do not know when to seek treatment if you don’t have hypertension, making it a silent killer. Besides, modifications in your lifestyle can also help to manage it.
Though the disease is not always preventable, you can do some things to lower the risk or manage it, so it doesn’t lead to a deadly disease.
Factors Increasing Your Risk of High Blood Pressure
You cannot just point at one primary cause of high blood pressure. Various factors can increase the risk of developing the condition. You cannot control some risk factors, like getting older and having a family history of the disease. You can adjust another risk factor based on your lifestyle, such as nutrition and level of physical activity.
Here are some of the factors that increase your chances of developing hypertension:
- Persistent stress
- Being age 40 or older
- Family history of high blood pressure
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- An unhealthy diet consisting of foods with high sodium content
At times underlying medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea, kidney disease, or adrenal disorders can also cause high blood pressure. It is known as secondary hypertension. This type of high blood pressure may develop all of a sudden. Pregnant women also are at high risk of developing high blood pressure.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Many individuals do not have symptoms until high blood pressure starts wreaking havoc on the organs. You may not know whether you have high blood pressure or not if you don’t get your blood pressure checked regularly by visiting your primary care provider.
Besides, high blood pressure does not always result in signs unless it has a long time to develop and starts damaging internal organs. Many symptoms of high blood pressure can be of something else, which is why it is essential to see a primary care doctor who knows what to seek.
Here are some of the symptoms of high blood pressure, especially in the case if it has been affecting the body for quite a time unknowingly.
- Chest pain
- Worsening changes to your vision
- Blood in urine
- Irregular heartbeat
Get Your Blood Pressure Regularly Checked
Early detection of high blood pressure is vital to prevent long-term damage to the body. You need to keep a regular check on your blood pressure to maintain a healthy heart and stay on top of your health.
The blood pressure reading has two numbers that measure how much pressure is being exerted by blood against the artery walls while your heart is at rest (diastolic blood pressure) and while it is beating (systolic blood pressure). The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, and the top number is your systolic blood pressure.
Here is the range to indicate whether you have healthy or unhealthy blood pressure.
- Normal Blood Pressure- less than 120 /80 mm Hg
- Stage 1 Hypertension- 130-139 / 80-89 mm Hg
- Stage 2 Hypertension- 140 / 90 mm Hg or higher
- Hypertension crisis- higher than 18- / 120 mm Hg
If you have a high blood pressure reading on a separate occasion three times, then your doctor will diagnose you with hypertension. Besides, in case you have very blood pressure, you may be diagnosed with severe hypertension, which requires immediate treatment.
Treating High Blood Pressure
It is recommended first to try the non-invasive approach to lower your high blood pressure. For instance, achieving a healthy BMI (body-mass index) may help resolve hypertension. Women should maintain a BMI between 25 and 27, whereas men should aim for less than 30.
A healthy diet and regular physical activity or workouts can help to lower your blood pressure. A dietary approach to stop hypertension is the standard way to eat that can prevent or lower high blood pressure. It involves eating food enriched with magnesium, potassium and calcium as they help to control blood pressure. In addition, you must limit the intake of foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and sugars. Eating a healthy approach also includes a variety of foods in the right portions in order to consume appropriate nutrients in your entire day. Lifestyle modification, at times, is all you need to normalize your blood pressure.
In other cases, medication is necessary for blood pressure to keep your blood pressure under control. Take necessary steps to lower your BP if you are diagnosed with hypertension so that it doesn’t lead to a deadly event like a heart attack or stroke, which are leading death causes in the USA.
Visit Primary Care Doctor Regularly
Apart from maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising regularly and following a nutrient-based diet, a primary care provider is also a must who can help you lower the risk of developing hypertension. You can expect them to regularly check your blood pressure and know when it is alarming. Besides, if they observe some changes which are not too serious, they will give you recommendations to help you maintain normal blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Though hypertension is a common problem found in the adult population of the USA, it should not be taken lightly. Keeping a regular check on your blood pressure can help you in its early detection. Besides, if you are prescribed medicines by your doctor to keep your blood pressure in check, take the time and never miss a dose as having critically high BP is lethal.