High Blood Pressure Causes, Symptoms and Treatment: High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is a serious condition in which the pressure of the blood running through your arteries is more than the optimal levels. A person is said to have high blood pressure if their blood pressure is more than 130/90 mm of Hg. The blood pressure is said to be in normal range if it is 120/80 mm of Hg. The upper reading of the blood pressure is known as Systolic Blood Pressure and the lower reading is known as Diastolic Blood Pressure.
A rise in both of these pressures is termed as Hypertension or high blood pressure. It can occur because of a number of reasons, the most common of these being too much sodium intake, blood vessel problems, etc. A person diagnosed with Hypertension needs to take the medication regularly and should maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to control their blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure can occur in any person in any age group but it is most commonly seen in people in older age groups. It is a highly common condition and is affecting almost everyone in today’s world. High Blood Pressure does not develop overnight and it develops over the course of many years. It is also known as the Silent Killer as it can lead to deadly complications if it is not treated at an appropriate time.
Narrow arteries are the most common cause of Hypertension. The heart has to pump more forcefully in order to meet the daily requirements of the body. This puts more pressure on the heart and also increases the pressure in the arteries. High Blood Pressure has been linked with many serious conditions such as Stroke, Cardiac Arrest, Artery diseases, etc which can be life threatening.
The article given below contains all the information regarding High Blood Pressure such as its types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and home remedies for High Blood Pressure.
Types of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension can be diagnosed based on the readings of the blood pressure on the sphygmomanometer. The readings can be of the following times-
- Healthy Blood Pressure- Healthy Blood Pressure reading is when the systolic blood pressure is up to 120 mm of Hg and the Diastolic Blood Pressure reading is up to 80 of Hg.
- Elevated Blood Pressure- It is when the systolic blood pressure is between 120 to 129 mm of Hg and the diastolic blood pressure is less than 80 mm of Hg. This condition is not treated by medication instead your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to manage this condition.
- Stage 1 Hypertension- It is when the systolic blood pressure is between 130 to 139 of Hg and the diastolic blood pressure is between 80 to 89 mm of Hg. It can be treated by lifestyle changes and mild medication.
- Stage 2 Hypertension- It is when the systolic blood pressure is over 140 mm of Hg and the diastolic blood pressure is over 90 mm of Hg. This is a serious condition and requires immediate medication.
Hypertension Crisis- It is when the systolic blood pressure is above 180 mm of Hg and the diastolic blood pressure is over 120 mm of Hg. It is a medical emergency and the person may require immediate hospitalisation. The patient may present with the symptoms of Chest pain, shortness of breath and blurry vision which makes it evident that the blood pressure of the person is above the normal levels.
High Blood Pressure has been further categorised in two main categories depending upon its cause of origin. It is of the following types-
- Primary Hypertension (Essential Hypertension)- There is no known cause of Hypertension in these cases. It develops gradually over the years and is usually present in elderly people. Plaque formation in the arteries increases the risk of High Blood Pressure in older people.
- Secondary Hypertension- This Hypertension is caused by an underlying condition. It can usually be treated by treating the underlying condition. These conditions can be Adrenal Gland Tumours, Congenital Heart Diseases, Kidney diseases, Drugs such as Cocaine and Thyroid Problems.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure can be easily diagnosed based on the readings of the blood pressure. However it can also present some symptoms which can give some idea regarding High Blood Pressure in the people.
- Blood rushing to your cheeks
- Blood spots in your eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Nose bleeds
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive Sweating
These symptoms are hard to attribute to High Blood Pressure as they are also present in other conditions. Hence it is essential that you get regular check ups and blood pressure readings so that you do not miss any changes in your blood pressure.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
The causes of High Blood Pressure depends on the type of Hypertension which is present in the person.
Causes of Primary Hypertension-
This type of Hypertension usually develops over time and is caused by the following factors-
- Family History- A person whose blood relative is suffering from Hypertension is more likely to develop Hypertension than other people.
- Age- People older in age tend to have narrow arteries which results in high blood pressure. This is the most common factor causing high blood pressure in the population.
- Race- Black population is more susceptible to high blood pressure than other races.
- Obesity- Obese people tend to have cardiac problems and artery disorders which can lead to the development of High Blood Pressure.
- Alcoholism- High intake of Alcohol intake can lead to severe damage to the organs of the body such as liver, arteries and heart which can ultimately develop into High Blood Pressure.
- Sedentary Lifestyle- A sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise can lead to various muscular and internal problems. This can lead to High blood pressure.
- High Sodium Intake- High amounts of sodium in the blood has been linked with High Blood Pressure as Sodium leads to increased heart activity.
Causes of Secondary Hypertension-
This type of Hypertension is usually the result of some other underlying condition. It can be treated by treating the cause of Hypertension.
- Adrenal Gland Tumours
- Kidney Disorders
- Congenital Heart Disorders
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Drugs such as cocaine, heroine, etc
- Endocrine Tumours
- Thyroid Disorders
Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure can be diagnosed easily by just getting a blood pressure reading. However there is always a possibility of altered blood pressure readings based on the stress that you feel at the hospital, how did you get to the hospital and other reasons. Hence your doctor may also recommend the following diagnostic tests in order to rule out other conditions.
- Ambulatory Monitoring- In this your blood pressure is monitored for longer durations of time to get an idea about when your blood pressure rises. It also monitors your blood pressure at regular intervals of time.
- Blood and Urine tests- Blood and Urine tests are also conducted to check for drugs and other markers for high blood pressure. These tests are also used to check for other conditions such as Kidney or thyroid problems.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)- ECG is conducted to check for proper functioning of your heart. It will give readings of the rhythm of your heart beat.
- Echocardiogram- It is a non-invasive test used to determine the detailed imaging of the heart to check for its proper functioning. It uses sound waves to form detailed images of the heart.
- Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT)- It is a form of ECG performed when the patient is performing some kind of activity. This will show the stress your heart feels when your heart is subjected to exercise or other physical activities.
Treatment of High Blood Pressure
The most common and effective treatment of persistent high blood pressure is medication.
Your doctor may prescribe you the following medications to treat your Hypertension.
- Beta Blockers- It acts by blocking the beta channels in your heart. This reduces the pressure of the beating of the heart thus lowering your blood pressure. It also inhibits some of the hormones from raising your blood pressure.
- ACE inhibitors- Angiotensin is a chemical which causes increase in blood pressure by narrowing your arteries. ACE inhibitors prevent the formation of this chemical thus preventing rise in blood pressure. These medications also relax the blood vessels.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)- Unlike ACE inhibitors, these medications prevent the binding of the Angiotensin chemical to the receptors thus preventing its action and lowering blood pressure.
- Calcium blockers- These medications block calcium from entering your heart and thus preventing faster and more forceful heartbeats. This lowers the blood pressure and the pressure on your heart.
- Diuretics- Diuretics acts to increase urination. This eliminates high sodium and excess fluid from your body which can lower your blood pressure.
Home Remedies of High Blood Pressure
There are many home remedies to treat high blood pressure so that you do not need to take medications. Some of these important home remedies are given below-
- Healthy Diet- Take a healthy diet which includes fruits and vegetables. This will help you to control your blood pressure and prevent the complications of Hypertension.
- Regular Exercise- You should exercise regularly to maintain the health of your body and your heart. This will allow your heart to fulfil your body’s requirements with less heart beats and force thus preventing high blood pressure.
- Controlling your Weight- Maintain your weight at optimum levels so that your heart does not have to function more forcefully to pump blood in your arteries. This means you will also have to take a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- Reduce Stress in your life- Stress is one of the most common causes of high blood pressure in today’s world. Controlling the stress in your life can also help to control your blood pressure.
- Quit smoking and alcohol- Smoking and Alcoholism have been linked with high blood pressure. You should limit the amount of alcohol you take and your smoking habits in order to control your blood pressure.
- Decrease Sodium intake- High Sodium intake is known to cause High Blood Pressure. Minimising the amount of salt in your diet can help you to control your sodium intake and thus lowering your blood pressure.
Complications of High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure is known to cause many complications if it is not treated on time. The most common complications associated with High Blood Pressure are given below.
- Heart Attack- Prolonged High Blood Pressure can lead to extreme pressure on your heart. This can lead to heart attack which is getting quite common in today’s world.
- Stroke- Stroke is another complication of High Blood Pressure. In this condition, the vessels in the brain ruptures disrupting the blood supply to your brain thus leading Stroke. This can be life threatening or it can lead to permanent disabilities in the patient.
- Aneurysm- Aneurysms occur when parts of your arteries bulge outwards. These are life threatening if they occur in any of the major arteries. High Blood Pressure can rupture these aneurysms leading to internal haemorrhages.
- Heart failure- Heart failure is when your heart stops beating and pumping blood in your body. This is a fatal complication and can lead to the death of the patient if not treated immediately.
- Kidney problems- High Blood Pressure can also damage the vessels of your kidneys. This can lead to kidney failure so that you require a kidney transplant.
- Dementia- Dementia is a common complication of high blood pressure along with lack of concentration. Dementia means that the person suffers from forgetfulness and is unable to remember small details of their day to day life.
FAQs Related to High Blood Pressure
People belonging to older age groups are more susceptible to high blood pressure as their blood vessels become narrower with age.
You can know that your blood pressure is high by noticing the symptoms in your body. You will feel heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness and excessive sweating.
If your blood pressure is high then you should take your medication immediately and lie down to take rest. Do not take any kind of stress while your blood pressure is high.