What is Hypertension?

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Symptoms and Treatments

Hypertension is High Blood Pressure. This occurs when your arteries become narrow which then increases resistance in blood flow, building up pressure. Just like a teapot..lid building up steam!

Your Blood pressure (B.P.) measurement tells how quickly blood is passing through your veins and amounts of resistance it meets along the way. Narrower arteries have higher BP. This increased pressure overtime causes health problems and heart disease.

Hypertension is very common. Statistically, 75 million Americans live with this condition in the USA. Age and race does factor into these numbers; if over 65 years old, more women are affected. When comparing numbers, African Americans develop higher BP at an earlier age, more often than Caucasians and it is seen more in African American women.

Actually it may take several years to develop and symptoms are not immediately evident.

Symptoms of Hypertension

  1. Headache
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Nosebleeds
  4. Dizziness
  5. Chest pain
  6. Visual changes

These may not occur in everyone. Generally the only way to know for sure is to get regular blood pressure readings either in your clinic, by your doctor or nurse.

Today, your best choice if you need daily accurate readings and less costly is to buy a small blood pressure monitor for personal at home use; price range is $30 to $60 dollars.  If you cannot afford that you can go to your nearest drugstore to get tested free.

High blood pressure is a “silent condition”. It is an adverse cause for strokes, myocardial infarction, kidney and vascular diseases.

There are two types of High BP:

Primary Hypertension or essential hypertension develops over time with no identifiable cause. Possible roles could be genetic or physical malfunction in the body, like imbalance of fluids and salts (electrolyte). Or environmental lifestyle such as, poor diet, stress or obesity can increase your risk.

Secondary Hypertension occurs more quickly and is more severe. This could be results from kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, congenital heart defects, thyroid issues or adrenal gland problems. Even illegal drug usage, alcohol abuse or other medications can cause this hypertension. Check out www.merryherb.com for more info on these health issues.

Understanding your blood pressure reading

Systolic pressure this is the upper number it is the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood.

Diastolic pressure is the lower number it is the reading of pressure in arteries between the beats of your heart.

Healthy readings are systolic of 120/diastolic over 80 /systolic.

Prehypertension is considered 120-139mm over 80-89mm.

Stage 1 hypertension is 140-159mm over 90-99mm.

Stage 2 hypertension is severe and dangerous with systolic of 160 or higher and diastolic over 100.

High blood pressure is a “silent condition”. It is an adverse cause for strokes, myocardial infarction, kidney and vascular diseases.

High blood pressure is a “silent condition”. It is an adverse cause for strokes, myocardial infarction, kidney and vascular diseases.

Causes of Hypertension

Only about 10% of hypertension cases are linked to an underlying medical health issue; like kidney disease or adrenal gland tumor. The vast majority of diagnosed high blood pressure individuals do not have an identified cause.

In general, it has been found that particular circumstances in life can bring on an increase in BP, usually due to lifestyle upheaval…..a stress or emotional situation that has become uncontrollable.

The vast majority of high BP cases are in the primary hypertension category; since many of these are of unknown identifiable causes.

What are effects of High Blood Pressure on the body?

When you have hypertension it also causes damage to blood vessels of the kidney, eyes, brain and other organs. A study published in Archive of Neurology show that hypertension does increase dangers of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The American Heart Association finds that untreated high blood pressure is more serious for women. Midsection obesity or ‘belly fat’ is a major risk factor for high BP and occurs in about 80% of hypertensive females.

Narrow arteries form arteriosclerosis can cause higher blood pressure, since it affects blood flow. This slower blood flow can cause possible blood clots to form, bringing on strokes and heart attacks.

Chest pain, irregular heart rhythm, pain or numbness in limbs, kidney flow issues, and brain circulation are issues from high blood pressure.

Hypertension can cause sexual dysfunction for both the female and male due to loss of blood flow. In the male it can cause erectile dysfunction, impotence or painful ejaculation. In woman, it causes vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and loss of desire. All of which can lead to relationship difficulties.

Hypertension and Pregnancy

Studies have found women with a history of taking oral contraceptives have a 300% higher risk of hypertension. And that would be quite a few of us women….not a nice side effect of “the pill”!

Hypertension is one of the most common medical problems encountered during pregnancy, complicating about 3% of pregnancies.

High blood pressure may cause more maternal and fetal health issues and it remains a leading cause of maternal mortality.

Treatment options and Medications for High Blood Pressure

For primary hypertension you can change or reduce your BP with lifestyle changes. If this does not work your doctor may prescribe drugs.

With secondary hypertension treatment depends on what other medications you are taking that might be causing the hypertension.

Treatment plans for high blood pressure are ongoing. Some work for a while, then need to be changed when they no longer work. Do you think you want to be a “trial and error” study?

Here are a few of the drugs available:

Beta blockers to make your heart beat slower reduce the amount of blood pumped through the arteries.

Diuretics or water pills help kidneys remove excess sodium and fluid from high BP.

ACE inhibitors or Angiotensin is a chemical causing blood vessels and artery walls to tighten and narrow. It helps relax blood vessels.

Calcium channel blockers due to excess calcium in the muscles of the heart which creates harder beats.

Instead of Drugs Try Life Remedies

  1. Developing a Healthy Diet a heart healthy diet is vital to reduce blood pressure.
  2. Increasing Physical Activity helps reduce stress, lose weight and strengthens the cardiovascular system.
  3. Reach a healthy weight If you need to lose weight or are overweight try to eat healthier ….so you can lower BP.
  4. Manage stress by meditating, yoga, exercise or relaxing with a cup of herbal tea.
  5. Quit smoking since tobacco damages and hardens blood vessel walls.

Learning some of these easy steps to help bring down an elevated blood pressure can be much easier than taking a drug that may have many side effects and cause more health problems.

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Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses.

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