What is hypertension?
Hypertension is high blood pressure. Blood exerts force on the inside walls of the arteries as it flows. This is called blood pressure. High blood pressure puts extra force on the blood vessels causing damage.
In most cases of hypertension, there is no clear cause. Some cases of hypertension are caused by thyroid problems, certain birth defects, some types of medicines, alcoholism and drug abuse.
Hypertension frequently occurs with various other conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. All these together magnify your risk of getting a heart attack or suffering from severe stages of heart disease.
Hypertension can show no symptoms. Some people might show symptoms like headaches, nose-bleeds, or dizziness at times.
Blood pressure is measured with a device which consists of an inflatable arm cuff and a pressure gauge. A blood pressure reading is expressed by two numbers– systolic and diastolic pressure. The first number, systolic pressure is the pressure exerted when the heart beats whereas, diastolic pressure is the pressure present between two heart beats.
Normal blood pressure is generally 120/80 mm Hg.
Over time, blood pressure can cause complications like:
- Atherosclerosis: Thickening of arteries due to continual high pressure.
- Heart attack or stroke: Thickened arteries can lead to these events.
- Heart failure: As the heart is continuously pumping with a higher force, the heart muscle itself starts thickening and loses elasticity leading to a condition called heart failure.
Basics of hypertension management
Some basic rules of managing hypertension are:
- Reduce stress
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet with less salt
- Avoid pickles and processed, canned food
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight