High Blood Pressure (Other names: High Pressure, High Blood Pressure)
The heart pumps blood through a network of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Moving blood pushes against the walls of the arteries and this force is measured as blood pressure. The blood pressure measurement, given in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), consists of two numbers. The first, or greatest, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure). The second, or less, measures the pressure in the arteries between the heartbeats (diastolic pressure).
Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories:
Normal blood pressure. You have normal blood pressure if the number is below 120/80 mm Hg.
High blood pressure. High blood pressure is a systolic pressure between 120 and 129 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure below 80 mm Hg. High blood pressure tends to worsen over time unless steps are taken to control it.
Stage 1 hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure between 130 and 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg.
Stage 2 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension, a more severe hypertension, is a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or greater, or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater.
Types of High Blood Pressure
There are two types of hypertension:
· Essential hypertension (primary or idiopathic) It is the definition of hypertension that arises without a specific identifiable cause that constitutes 90 to 95% of the diagnosed population.
· Secondary arterial hypertension It is caused by another medical condition or the use of certain medications. They generally improve as the cause is treated and make up 5% of the diagnosed population.
Most people with hypertension have no symptoms. In some cases, heart or chest pounding, dizziness, and other physical symptoms may be felt. When there are no warning symptoms, the disease can go unnoticed for many years.
Prevention and control
The risk of suffering from primary arterial hypertension is greater if the person has the following history:
· You have a family history of hypertension.
· African Americans have a higher incidence of high blood pressure, usually appears at a younger age and is more severe.
· Man is more frequent. In women the risk is higher after 55 years.
· Overweight or obesity.
· Smoking. Cigarette damages blood vessels.
· Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives greatly increase their risk.
· Food high in saturated fat.
· Food high in sodium (salt).
· Daily alcohol intake.
· Sedentary lifestyle or physical inactivity.
Many cases of secondary hypertension are caused by kidney disorders, adrenal gland tumors, thyroid problems, and sleep apnea.
The first action plan involves a lifestyle modification, especially for people at risk of hypertension:
- Eat a diet low in fat and salt.
- Reduce excessive weight.
- Begin a regular physical exercise program.
- Learn to control stress.
- Give up smoking.
- Moderate or suppress alcohol consumption. Remember that a moderate consumption is an average of one or two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
If these changes do not help control blood pressure within 3 to 6 months, the disease can be treated with medicine. Diuretics help flush water and sodium from the body. ACE inhibitors block the enzyme that raises blood pressure. Other types of medications, such as beta-blockers, calcium blockers, and other vasodilators, have different effects, but generally they help relax and dilate blood vessels and reduce the pressure within it.