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High blood pressure (hypertension): Causes, symptoms and more
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Team Gabit
3 months ago | 5 mins

High blood pressure (hypertension): Causes, symptoms and more


If your blood pressure readings are rising by the day, you need a prescribed treatment plan. Read further to understand the causes, diagnosis, management and symptoms of high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted against the walls of the arteries when the heart pumps blood for the body. Causes of high blood pressure could be a number of reasons like age, genetics, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and race. Other than the medications, there are a few things you can do to manage and control it. 

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure or hypertension is when the force of blood inside the arteries is at an all time high. The normal blood pressure is about 120/80 mmHg where 120 is the systolic value and 80 is the diastolic value. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats while diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats. 

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Here are the different ranges of blood pressure above the normal value - 

Elevated blood pressure - Systolic - 120-129 mmHg ; Diastolic - less than 80 mmHg 

Hypertension stage 1 - Systolic - 130 - 139 mmHg ; Diastolic - 80-89 mmHg 

Hypertension stage 2 - Systolic - 140 mmHg or higher ; Diastolic - 90 mmHg or higher

Hypertensive crisis - Systolic - Higher than 180 mmHg ; Diastolic - Higher than 120 mmHg 

Elevated blood pressure can be managed in most cases with lifestyle changes while all the other stages beyond might require a medical treatment. 

Causes of high blood pressure

What makes blood pressure high is not just one factor but a combination of them - 

  1. Obesity 
  2. Age over 65
  3. Smoking and high-alcohol intake 
  4. Not being physically active 
  5. High-sodium intake
  6. Chronic stress
  7. Genes 
  8. Race, especially those of black non-hispanic descent
  9. Diagnosed with diabetes, kidney diseases, thyroid problems and sleep apnea. 
  10. Side effects of medicines

Symptoms of high blood pressure

Although knowing hypertension symptoms could be a way to self diagnose yourself, it is important to know here that symptoms of high blood pressure do not actively express themselves till the stage is severe. It is best to have regular check ups with your doctor, especially if your family has a history with it or if you have any other chronic problems. However, here are some high blood pressure symptoms you could check with - 

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  1. Headaches or dizziness
  2. Shortness of breath 
  3. Blood spots in the eyes or subconjunctival haemorrhage
  4. Nosebleeds 
  5. Flushing 
  6. Vision problems
  7. Nausea and vomiting

For the longest time, people don’t even realise that they have high blood pressure until the hypertension symptoms begin to show themselves actively at a severe stage. 

Diagnosis of high blood pressure

As an adult, you should make sure that you voluntarily ask for a blood pressure checkup when you visit your doctor. If your blood does show risen levels, you wouldn’t be diagnosed with just one time results. Multiple tests will be taken to come to a conclusion. Most people buy blood pressure monitors at home for regular checkups which is a good measure to incorporate for healthy living. If you begin to notice consistent elevated readings and symptoms of high blood pressure, visit a doctor at the earliest. 

know about high blood pressure symptoms

There are other tests that your doctor might want to take to identify any other conditions that could have a connection with high blood pressure symptoms. These include tests to check for kidney and heart diseases and for high cholesterol levels as well. ECG, Echocardiogram and lab tests including those of urine and blood can be taken. Your doctor might ask you to check your blood pressure over 24 hours with a monitor at home. There are monitors that are portable and wearable as well to measure consistently. 

Treatment and management

Treatments - 

Hypertension treatments depend on the stage you are at - 

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Elevated blood pressure - Lifestyle changes are suggested by the doctor, medications are rarely prescribed. 

Hypertension stage 1 - If lifestyle changes don’t work or you have other health conditions, medicines are prescribed. 

Hypertension stage 2 - Medications along with lifestyle changes are recommended. If there are any underlying reasons leading to hypertension, those are put under treatment as well. 

Hypertensive crisis - It is an emergency situation where the patient is hospitalised, put under serious medications and continuously monitored. 

Management - 

These are some lifestyle changes and home remedies for high blood pressure - 

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  1. Eating a heart-healthy diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. 
  2. Exercise for about 30-40 minutes for 3-4 times a week.
  3. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake. 
  4. Maintain a healthy body weight. 
  5. Find ways to calm your stress and anxiety. 
  6. Reduce sugar and sodium intake. 
  7. Hydrate yourself enough. 
  8. Monitor and track your blood pressure levels regularly. 

When to see a doctor? 

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If you haven’t been diagnosed with hypertension, it is still imperative that you get yourself regularly checked. The frequency of these checkups depend on your age and overall health. If you begin to see high blood pressure symptoms or elevated readings, get yourself consulted without thinking twice. If you have been diagnosed, visit your doctor as per his/her suggestions and monitor your blood pressure levels. Make sure that you don’t skip on medications and implement the recommended lifestyle changes. 

Conclusion

High blood pressure is something that needs to be continuously monitored and carefully taken care of. It is important that you are aware of the causes and symptoms of high blood pressure so you don’t ignore its first signs. Regular checkups with a balanced diet, weight management and active workouts could help you prevent and control hypertension and keep your heart healthy! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the wall of the arteries when the heart pumps blood. The normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg and any numbers beyond this is considered high blood pressure. 

How does diet affect blood pressure?

Controlled sugar and sodium intake could relax hypertension. Fibre, magnesium, calcium and potassium intake helps to lower blood pressure. Alcohol limitation is a must to prevent blood pressure levels from hiking. Balanced and low-calorie diet helps to reduce weight. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is specifically developed to lower hypertension. 

Is high blood pressure genetic?

Yes, high blood pressure is genetic. Individuals whose families have dealt with hypertension are likely to be diagnosed for the same but there are other lifestyle and environmental factors that come into play. 

How often should I check my blood pressure?

How often you check your blood pressure depends on your age and overall health. Individuals with normal blood pressure should get themselves checked every 1-2 years but those who are older must ensure that this checkup is frequent because they are at a risk of developing a high blood pressure. Regular checkups are important because other diseases could also lead to high blood pressure. 

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