Blood Pressure Causes and Treatment

Summary: Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries. Poor handling of high blood pressure gives rise to serious health complications, such as stroke and heart attack. The present blog talks about high blood pressure, its symptoms, complications, the risk factors and the tips to prevent it.     

Before knowing about high blood pressure, it is essential to know about blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. High blood pressure occurs when this force becomes too high. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower are your arteries, higher becomes your blood pressure. Process of checking of blood pressure is the same in the persons of every age group—be it child, teen, adult or aged.
Some people may show symptoms of high blood pressure, while some may not show any symptoms. But, even without any symptoms, blood vessels and heart keep on getting damaged. Poor handling of high blood pressure over years gives rise to serious health complications, such as stroke and heart attack.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure:
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blurred vision
  • Swollen Abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Oedema
  • Chest Pain and Angina
  • Dizziness, fainting and headaches
High blood pressure exerts excessive pressure on the walls of artery. This pressure damages the blood vessels. If the situation is not controlled even at this level, organs also start getting damaged. In fact, higher is the blood pressure and longer it remains ignored, greater damage it does.
Health Complications Arising out of High Blood Pressure
·         Heart Attack or Stroke: High blood pressure makes arteries hard and thick. This is a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis may lead to serious health complications, such as stroke, heart attack, etc.

·         Heart Failure: It becomes difficult for heart muscles to pump blood against the higher pressure in blood vessels. Resultantly, heart muscles become thick. The thickened heart muscles fail to pump enough blood to cater to body’s needs and requirements. Eventually it leads to heart failure.

·         Aneurysm: High blood pressure make blood vessels weak. It causes bulge in the blood vessels forming an aneurysm. If any rupture occurs in aneurysm, it becomes life-threatening.

·         Trouble with Memory or Understanding: Poor control of high blood pressure negatively affects the body’s ability to think, learn and remember.

·         Metabolic Syndrome: This syndrome is not about a single disorder. Rather, it is a cluster of syndrome that includes increased waist circumference, high triglycerides, reduction in good cholesterols (High Density Lipoprotein) and high insulin level. These conditions may give rise to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The Risk Factors

·         Family History: If one person in a family is diagnosed with high blood pressure, other members also become susceptible to it.

·         Heavy Drinking: Drinking too much alcohol negatively affect blood pressure and damages heart. A woman should not take more than one drink in a day. In case of man, more than twice drinks a day is not moderate.

·         Age: Risk of high blood pressure becomes more with age. Men are at more risk than women. While women develop high blood pressure after 65 years of age, men can develop it in early middle age, or till the time they reach the age of 45.

·         Sedentary Lifestyle: People who lead a sedentary lifestyle, are more likely to develop high blood pressure than the people who lead active lifestyle. Very less or no physical activity also increases the risk of becoming overweight.

·         Tobacco Consumption: Apart from raising blood pressure temporarily, the chemicals in tobacco damage the lining of the artery walls. Resultantly, artery becomes narrow.

·         Obesity: The more you put weight, the more blood you require to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Since volume of blood circulated through the blood vessels increases, pressure on artery walls increases.

Tips to prevent High Blood Pressure: Lifestyle changes can help prevent high blood pressure. Some of these changes are given below:
Ø Take Healthy Foods: Take vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy foods. Stay away from saturated fat.

Ø Decrease Salt Intake: 1500 milligrams a day is sufficient for the people of 50 years or older and the individuals who have hypertension, diabetes or CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease). Otherwise healthy people can take 2300 mg per day or less. You should avoid restaurant foods to minimize the intake of salt.
Ø Maintain a Healthy Weight: If you are obese, cut your calories’ intake and maintain a healthy weight. It will lower your health complications by controlling your high blood pressure. Losing even 2-3 kilograms will lower the risk of blood pressure.
Ø Keep Active Lifestyle: Active lifestyle will help you lower your blood pressure, keep your weight under control, lower your stress and minimize your risk of several health complications.
Ø Limit Alcohol: If you are not disciplined, when it comes to taking alcohol, it is time to introspect. Take alcohol in moderation. Even if you are otherwise healthy, consumption of alcohol in excess will raise your blood pressure.

Ø Quit Smoking: Consumption of tobacco damages blood vessel walls and contribute to the hardening of the arteries. In order to ward off these complications, quit smoking.

Ø Control Blood Pressure During Pregnancy: If you are a pregnant woman with high blood pressure, discuss with your doctors the measures to control it.   
                                                                             Ashish Jha