High BP (Hypertension)
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Hypertension is another term used to describe high blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers. For example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg).
Blood Pressure Parameter –
- Normal blood pressure is when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg most of the time.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or above most of the time.
- If your blood pressure numbers are 120/80 or higher, but below 140/90, it is called pre-hypertension.
- If you have heart or kidney problems, or you had a stroke, your doctor may want your blood pressure to be even lower than that of people who do not have these conditions.
Many factors can affect blood pressure, including:
- The amount of water and salt you have in your body.
- The condition of your kidneys, nervous system, or blood vessels.
- Your hormone levels.
- You are more likely to be told your blood pressure is too high as you get older. High blood pressure increases your chance of having a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, or early death.
You have a higher risk of high blood pressure if –
- You are often stressed or anxious
- You drink too much alcohol
- You eat too much salt
- You have a family history of high blood pressure
- You have diabetes
- You smoke
Most of the time, there are no symptoms. For most patients, high blood pressure is found when they visit their health care provider or have it checked elsewhere.
Most common symptoms include –
- Severe headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abnormal Behavior
- Vision changes
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure so that you have a lower risk of complications. If you have pre-hypertension, your health care provider will recommend lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range. Medicines are rarely used for pre-hypertension.
You can do many things to help control your blood pressure at home, including –
- Eat a heart healthy diet including potassium and fiber.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Limit the amount of sodium (salt) you eat.
- Reduce stress, Try to avoid things that cause you stress, and try meditation or yoga to de-stress.
- Stay at a healthy body weight.