High blood pressure or Hypertension is a very common condition in older adults. The blood pressure is the physical force exerted by the blood as it pushes against the walls of the arteries. An elevated blood pressure means that the heart must work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can also damage the walls of the arteries. With time, hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.
Hypertension may not produce any symptoms, even if you have had it for years. That’s why it is sometimes referred to as a “Silent Killer”. In most of the people with high blood pressure aren’t aware that they have this major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. If proper treatment not given, high blood pressure can damage the heart and circulation, lungs, brain and kidneys without causing noticeable symptoms.
Blood pressure is given as a reading of two numbers, such as 110/70. The higher number (systolic) is the pressure when the heart beats. The diastolic or lower number shows the pressure between the heartbeats, while the heart is refilling with blood. Normal blood pressure readings are lower than 120/80. The cause of most cases of hypertension is unknown. Occasionally, conditions of the kidney or adrenal gland are the cause of high blood pressure.
Prehypertension means that your blood pressure falls just above the normal level, corresponding to a systolic pressure between 120 and 139 or a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89. About one-fourth of world’s population have prehypertension, and these people have two times the risk of heart disease compared with those who have lower blood pressures. Lifestyle changes can help many people with prehypertension to lower their blood pressure.
If your blood pressure measurements are 140/90 or higher, for either of the two numbers then you have Hypertension. At this level of blood pressure you may not have any symptoms. When blood pressure reaches 180/110 or higher, a serious condition known as a hypertensive crisis may occur. This can lead to stroke, kidney damage, heart attacks or loss of consciousness. If you measure your blood pressure and it is this high, rest a few minutes and measure again. If it remains high, call Emergency. Symptoms of hypertensive crisis can include anxiety, nosebleeds, severe headache, and shortness of breath.
High blood pressure is more common in older people. At age 45, more men have hypertension than women. By age 65, this is reversed and more women are affected. People with diabetes have a greater risk of hypertension than those without diabetes, and having a close family member with high blood pressure also increases your risk of developing it. About 60% of all people with diabetes also have hypertension.
Sodium, a chemical found in salt, raises blood pressure by promoting the retention of fluid by the body. This increases the workload on the heart. Checking food labels and menus can help you calculate how much sodium you are consuming. Processed foods are particularly high in sodium. Among these, lunch meats and canned soups have some of the highest levels of dietary sodium.
In most of the cases Stress leads to temporary elevations of blood pressure, Stress may have an indirect effect on blood pressure since it can influence other risk factors for heart disease. People who are under stress tend to engage more in unhealthy habits like poor nutrition, alcohol use and smoking, all of which can play a role in the development of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Being overweight increases the risk of getting hypertension and increases the workload required of your heart. Diets designed to control blood pressure are often designed to reduce calories as well.
Drinking too much alcohol is a risk factor for high blood pressure.
Although it’s most common in older adults, hypertension can also affect children. The normal blood pressure for a child is dependent upon the child’s age, gender and height. Your doctor can tell if your child’s blood pressure is abnormal. Children are at higher risk for hypertension if they are overweight.
Exercise is another lifestyle factor that can lower blood pressure. It’s recommended that adults get about 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise. This can include activities like walking, bicycling, gardening or other aerobic exercise. Muscle-strengthening activities are recommended at least twice a week.Best BP Hospitals Nellore.
Beta-blockers are another drug used to treat hypertension. They work by slowing the heart rate and thereby decreasing the workload of the heart. They can be used to treat other conditions as well, including abnormal heart rate.
There are even more medication types that can lower blood pressure. Some of these are alpha blockers, vasodilators and central alpha agonists. Your doctor may prescribe these medications if other medications have been ineffective or if you have another condition along with hypertension.
It has been shown that meditation and other relaxation techniques can help lower blood pressure. Yoga, tai chi and breathing exercises can also help reduce blood pressure. It’s best when these are combined with changes in diet and exercise.
Hypertension often lasts a lifetime, so following a careful management plan is essential. Keeping your blood pressure under control can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure and can improve your quality of life. For this choose best doctor and follow the medications prescribed by the doctor.
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