By| Published: May 17th, 2017
Do you eat right and on time? There ain’t any stress that is bothering you? Then why does one have Hypertension?
Individuals who are diagnosed with Hypertension are usually baffled as to what it means. They also question their doctors why them, when they take care of their food habits and health in general.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension, most commonly known as High Blood Pressure is a condition in the human body, where long-term force of blood against the walls of arteries lead to ailments including heart and kidney problems.
Determining one’s blood pressure involves Systolic Pressure and Diastolic Pressure. Systolic Pressure helps us know the amount of blood heart pumps, and Diastolic Pressure helps us know the amount of resistance to blood flow in arteries.
While lifetime risk is same for everybody, males and females have different risk profiles. Men are considered to be more prone to hypertension at a younger age, while women at older stage.
There are two types of Hypertension.
Also, known as Essential Hypertension, Primary Hypertension results from an unidentifiable cause and develops gradually over time. It can be caused due to environmental factors (dietary) as well as genetics, or sometimes the interaction of two. It is common in adolescents, obese people and those with a family history of hypertension.
Based on particular conditions, Primary Hypertension can be distinguished.
- Isolated Systolic Hypertension: In this type, the Systolic Pressure is above 140 and Diastolic is below 90. It mostly affects people over 65 years of age, with main reason being the loss of elasticity in arteries.
- Malignant Hypertension: Common in young adults, this type of hypertension occurs when blood pressure rises very quickly, where the diastolic pressure goes above 130. If untreated on time, it can turn fatal.
- Resistant Hypertension: It is a condition in which blood pressure is high even after the healthcare provider has prescribed three different types of antihypertensive medications. A rare genetic component is considered as a reason, and is most commonly seen in old, obese, females and individuals who are diabetic or have any kidney disease.
In Secondary Hypertension, the systolic pressure increases over 160 and diastolic increases over 100. Kidney problems, adrenal gland tumours, thyroid problems, blood vessel defects, obstructive sleep apnoea, alcohol abuse and illegal drugs are known to cause secondary hypertension.
Other than these there are also two descriptive hypertensive terms used to describe the type of hypertension that comes and goes. They are:
- Labile Hypertension: In this case, the blood pressure changes over time and is considered to be a common occurrence for almost everyone.
- White Coat Hypertension: In this case, the BP of the person keeps fluctuating, and needs to be documented at least three different times in a day for the right diagnose. In some cases, it must be read after every 5 to 10 minutes. (For these two please mention that they are not types, but commonly used terms by healthcare providers)
Know How to Identify:
No signs and symptoms are generally observed under primary and secondary hypertension until the condition reaches a severe or life-threatening stage. However, common symptoms include:
- Dull headaches
- Dizzy spells
- Excessive nosebleeds
There are ‘Hypertensive Cases’ where the systolic BP readings reach over 180 and diastolic reach over 110. In these scenarios, the signs and symptoms include severe headache, fatigue, vision problems, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, blood in urine and pounding in chest, neck or ears.
Know How to Monitor:
In most cases, Hypertension is detected when it reaches at a peak. However, it can be monitored on regular basis for healthy and long life.
In both primary and secondary Hypertension, BP must be checked before and after sleep. Other reasons to check could be excitement, anxiety and physical activity.
Aging is also a factor that has to be checked in case of Hypertension. This is because most arteries become stiffer and narrower due to the plague development, resulting in cardiovascular diseases.
It is mandatory to check BP on regular basis in Hypertensive crisis as it can result in severe complications such as fluids in lungs, brain swelling or bleeding, stroke or tear in the heart.
Know How to Maintain:
Maintaining primary and secondary hypertension is very important to avoid damage to the arteries as well cut the risk for stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Few things that can help are:
- Regular physical activities
- Keeping weight under tab
- Cutting down aerated beverages, alcohol and smoking
- Limiting intake of fatty foods, processed foods and canned foods
- Cutting down on salt, red meat, MSG, Sodium
- Consuming fibre rich food
- Smaller meals through the day
Consulting a healthcare specialist to diagnose and treat the problem is recommended and mandatory. Even though hypertension is unpreventable, it can be monitored, maintained and treated with simple changes in lifestyle. Taking care of health is ‘no one giant step’, it is a ‘lot of little steps’.