What is arterial Hypertension?
A health article about arterial hypertension from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
This is the term for blood pressure that is consistently higher than normal.
You can have high blood pressure for years without a single symptom. But silence isn't golden. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
High blood pressure typically develops without signs or symptoms. And it affects nearly everyone eventually. If you don't have high blood pressure by age 55, you have a 90 percent chance of developing it at some point in your life, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work to control it.
Hypertension is called essential or primary when no cause for the high blood pressure can be found.
When the cause of hypertension is known, such as kidney disease and tumors, it is called secondary hypertension.
About 95% of all people with high blood pressure have essential hypertension.
Normal blood pressure ranges up to 120/80 ("120 over 80") but blood pressure can rise and fall with exercise, rest, or emotions. The pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury.
The upper number (120) is the pressure when the heart pushes blood out to the rest of the body (systolic pressure).
The bottom number (80) is the pressure when the heart rests between beats (diastolic pressure).
• Healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80.
• Pre-high blood pressure (prehypertension) is from 120/80 to 139/90.
• Stage I high blood pressure ranges from 140/90 to 159/99.
• Stage II high blood pressure is over 160/100.
If repeated checks of your blood pressure show that it is higher than 140/90, you have hypertension.
Signs & Symptoms of Hypertension
One of the sneaky things about high blood pressure is that you can have it for a long time without symptoms. That's why it is important for you have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
If you do have symptoms, they may be:
• getting tired easily
• chest pain
• shortness of breath.
Although it happens rarely, the first symptom may be a stroke.
Types of Hypertension
Hypertension, commonly referred to as "high blood pressure" or HTN, is a medical condition in which the Blood Pressure is chronically elevated. While it is formally called arterial hypertension, the word "hypertension" without a qualifier usually refers to arterial hypertension. Hypertension can be classified as either essential (primary) or secondary.
Essential hypertension indicates that no specific medical cause can be found to explain a patient's condition. Secondary hypertension indicates that the high blood pressure is a result of (i.e. secondary to) another condition, such as kidney disease or certain tumors (especially of the adrenal gland).
Prehypertension is not a disease category; rather, it is a designation chosen to identify individuals at high risk of developing hypertension. The Mayo Clinic website specifies blood pressure is "normal if it's below 120/80" but that "some data indicate that 115/75 mm Hg should be the gold standard."
In patients with diabetes mellitus or kidney disease studies have shown that blood pressure over 130/80 mmHg should be considered high and warrants further treatment. Even higher numbers are considered diagnostic using home blood pressure monitoring devices.
What Causes Hypertension?
There are no clear causes of essential hypertension. However, many different factors can increase blood pressure, such as:
• being overweight
• eating a diet high in salt
• drinking a lot of alcohol.
Other important factors include:
• Race. African Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure.
• Gender. Males have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure than women until age 55. However, after the age of 75, women are more likely to develop high blood pressure than men.
• Heredity. If your parents had high blood pressure, you are more at risk.
• Age. The older you get, the more likely you are to develop high blood pressure.
Some medicines increase blood pressure. Stress and drinking caffeine can make blood pressure go up for a while, but the long-term effects aren't yet clear.
Why is high blood pressure a problem?
When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder just to pump a normal amount of blood through your body. The higher pressure in your arteries may cause them to weaken and bleed, resulting in a stroke. Over time, blood vessels may become hardened.
This often occurs as people age. High blood pressure speeds this process. Blood vessel damage is bad because hardened or narrowed arteries may be unable to supply the amount of blood the body's organs need.
The higher artery pressure may lead to atherosclerosis, in which deposits of cholesterol, fatty substances, and blood cells clog up an artery. Arteriosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks. It can also cause strokes.
The added workload on the heart causes thickening of the heart muscle. Over time, the thickening damages the heart muscle so that it can no longer pump normally.
This can lead to a disease called heart failure. Your kidneys or eyes may also be damaged. The longer you have high blood pressure and the higher it is, the more likely it is you will develop problems.
Persistent hypertension is one of the risk factors for strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and arterial aneurysm, and is a leading cause of chronic renal failure. Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure leads to shortened life expectancy. At severely high pressures, defined as mean arterial pressures 50% or more above average, a person can expect to live no more than a few years unless appropriately treated.
Hypertension is considered to be present when a person's systolic blood pressure is consistently 140 mmHg or greater, and/or their diastolic blood pressure is consistently 90 mmHg or greater. Recently, as of 2003, the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure has defined blood pressure 120/80 mmHg to 139/89 mmHg as "prehypertension."
Exercise and Hypertension
It seems as though many Americans are living a life that leads to high blood pressure or hypertension. As people age, the situation gets worse. Nearly half of all older Americans have hypertension. This disease makes people five times more prone to strokes, three times more likely to have a heart attack, and two to three times more likely to experience a heart failure.
The problem with this disease is that nearly one third of the folks who have hypertension do not know it because they never feel any direct pain. But overtime the force of that pressure damages the inside surface of your blood vessels.
However, according to experts, hypertension is not predestined. Reducing salt intake, adopting a desirable dietary pattern losing weight and exercising can all help prevent hypertension.
Obviously, quitting bad habits and eating a low fat diet will help, but the most significant part that you can do is to exercise. And just as exercise strengthens and improves limb muscles, it also enhances the health of the heart muscles.
Heart and Exercise
The exercise stimulates the development of new connections between the impaired and the nearly normal blood vessels, so people who exercise had a better blood supply to all the muscle tissue of the heart.
The human heart basically, supply blood to an area of the heart damaged in a “myocardial infarction.” A heart attack is a condition, in which, the myocardium or the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen and other nutrients and so it begins to die.
For this reason and after a series of careful considerations, some researchers have observed that exercise can stimulate the development of these life saving detours in the heart. One study further showed that moderate exercise several times a week is more effective in building up these auxiliary pathways than extremely vigorous exercise done twice as often.
Such information has led some people to think of exercise as a panacea for heart disorders, a fail-safe protection against hypertension or death. That is not so. Even marathon runners that have suffered hypertension, and exercise cannot overcome combination of other risk factor.
What Causes Hypertension?
Sometimes abnormalities of the kidney are responsible. There is also a study wherein the researchers identified more common contributing factors such as heredity, obesity, and lack of physical activity. And so, what can be done to lower blood pressure and avoid the risk of developing hypertension? Again, exercise seems to be just what the doctor might order.
If you think that is what he will do, then, try to contemplate on this list and find some ways how you can incorporate these things into your lifestyle and start to live a life free from the possibilities of developing hypertension. But before you start following the systematic instructions, it would be better to review them first before getting into action.
1. See your doctor
Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you make any significant changes in your level of physical activity — particularly if those changes could make large and sudden demands on your circulatory system — check with your doctors again.
2. Take it slow
Start at a low, comfortable level of exertion and progress gradually. The program is designed in two stages to allow for a progressive increase in activity.
3. Know your limit
Determine your safety limit for exertion. Use some clues such as sleep problems or fatigue the day after a workout to check on whether you are overdoing it. Once identified, stay within it. Over-exercising is both dangerous and unnecessary.
4. Exercise regularly
You need to work out a minimum of three times a week and a maximum of five times a week to get the most benefit. Once you are in peak condition, a single workout a week can maintain the muscular benefits. However, cardiovascular fitness requires more frequent activity.
5. Exercise at a rate within your capacity
The optimum benefits for older exercisers are produced by exercise at 40% to 60% of capacity.
Indeed, weight loss through exercise is an excellent starting point if you wan tot prevent hypertension. Experts say that being overweight is linked to an increased risk of developing hypertension, and losing weight decreases the risk.
When to seek Medical Advice:
How is it diagnosed?
Because it is such a common problem, blood pressure is checked at most health care visits. High blood pressure is usually discovered during one of these visits.
If your blood pressure is high, you will be asked to return for follow-up checks. If your pressure stays high for 3 visits, you probably have hypertension.
Your health care provider will ask about your life situation, what you eat and drink, and if high blood pressure runs in your family. You may have urine and blood tests. Your provider may order a chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram (ECG).
You may be asked to use a portable blood-pressure measuring device, which will take your pressure at different times during day and night. All of this testing is done to look for a possible cause of your high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is above normal (prehypertension), you may be able to bring it down to a normal level without medicine.
Weight Loss, changes in your diet, and exercise may be the only treatment you need. If you also have Diabetes, you may need additional treatment.
If these lifestyle changes do not lower your blood pressure enough, your health care provider may prescribe medicine. Some of the types of medicines that can help are diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and vasodilators.
These medicines work in different ways. Many people need to take two or more medicines to bring their blood pressure down to a healthy level.
When you start taking medicine, it is important to:
• Take the medicine regularly, exactly as prescribed.
• Tell your health care provider about any side effects right away.
• Have regular follow-up visits with your health care provider.
It may not be possible to know at first which drug or mix of drugs will work best for you. It may take several weeks or months to find the best treatment for you.
How long will the effects last?
You may need treatment for high blood pressure for the rest of your life. However, proper treatment can control your blood pressure and help prevent or delay problems. If you already have some complications, lowering your blood pressure may make their effects less severe.
Self Care strategies for Living with Hypertension
Your treatment will be much more effective if you follow these guidelines:
• Always follow your health care provider's instructions for taking medicines. Don't take less medicine or stop taking medicine without talking to your provider first. It can be dangerous to suddenly stop taking blood pressure medicine. Also, do not increase your dosage of any medicine without first talking with your provider.
• Check your blood pressure (or have it checked) as often as your health care provider advises. Keep a chart of the readings.
• Do not smoke.
• Follow the DASH diet. This diet is low in fat, cholesterol, red meat, and sweets. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. The DASH diet also includes whole-grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts.
• Use less salt. Check the levels of sodium listed on food labels. Avoid canned and prepared foods unless the label says no salt is added.
• Get regular exercise, according to your health care provider's advice. For example, you might walk, bike, or swim at least 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week.
• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Moderate drinking means up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks for men. A drink equals 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 and 1/2 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits such as whiskey or vodka.
• Limit the amount of caffeine you drink.
• Try to reduce the stress in your life or learn how to deal better with situations that make you feel anxious.
• Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for information about the drugs you are taking.
• Lose weight if you need to.
• Tell your health care provider about any side effects you have from your medicines.
Diet change strategies:
Using Ayurveda Therapy:
Vitamin & Nutrient Associations
There is a lot of information about Blood pressure and how to deal with it available. Even on this site we have another page specifically dealing with the issue here : Blood Pressure
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