The body is such a complex system, and that’s why good health should never be taken for granted. Having your body working at the ideal temperature, blood levels, oxygen levels, and blood pressure is not something small. It’s fascinating. I’m sure there is some scientific evidence to explain all of it, but from a layman’s point of view, health really is wealth.
Speaking of blood pressure, the body operates at an ideal pressure of between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. This is the force that your heart should ideally use to pump blood around your body. High blood pressure can easily damage your blood vessels making them narrow, rupture, or leak. It can also cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke. Health: Strokes – Signs To Look Out For And What To Do When Somebody Is Having A Stroke
When this force that pumps blood goes above 140/90mmHg over a number of weeks, it is considered High Blood Pressure (H.B.P) or hypertension. When this happens, the person has to make a number of lifestyle changes in order to deal with it. Sometimes medical professionals will even prescribe daily medication to stop your brain from sending signals that speed up your heart rate and narrow your blood vessels.
Here is what you need to know about high blood pressure.
What causes it?
A number of factors can cause High Blood Pressure, and while some of them may be beyond our control, a number of them are caused by lifestyle choices.
- A diet that is high in salt or cholesterol
- The use of tobacco
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Some forms of birth control medicines
- Family history
- Chronic conditions such as kidney and hormone problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Old age
- Being overweight or obese.
- Race- According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, black adults are up to two times more likely to develop high blood pressure by age 55 compared to whites.
Signs and symptoms to look out for
Hypertension can be present at any age, and so it is important to monitor your body for symptoms so that you know when to see a doctor. However, it is important to note that nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure don’t know it. It doesn’t have any symptoms unless it’s very severe. The best way to know if your blood pressure is high is through regular checkups.
Nevertheless, here are the symptoms to watch out for.
- Severe headaches
- Poor vision
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Blood spots in the eyes
- Blood in the urine
Lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure
As mentioned in the causes above, high blood pressure is caused by a number of lifestyle choices. In order to lower your blood pressure then, you should reduce your alcohol and salt intake, quit smoking, exercise regularly, and find healthy ways to deal with your stress.
Treating High Blood Pressure
Diuretics are often recommended as the first line of therapy. They reduce the amount of fluid in your blood vessels, and this helps lower your blood pressure.
ACE inhibitors are often a choice for people with diabetes. They widen or dilate, your blood vessels. That increases the amount of blood your heart pumps and lowers blood pressure.
If one drug doesn’t work or is disagreeable, additional medications or alternative medications may be recommended. If your blood pressure is more than 20/10 points higher than it should be, your doctor may consider starting you on two drugs or placing you on a combination drug.
Once you have started your H.B.P therapy, it is important that you see your doctor at least once a month until the blood pressure goal is reached.
Find out more about Living with diabetes