HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure (HBP) usually does not cause any symptoms, whereas its complications do. So do not be surprised if your doctor says that you have high blood pressure but you do not feel it.
Blood pressure readings are given in two numbers, such as 120/80, which is considered as the average BP reading for adults. However, a slightly higher or lower reading (for either number) is not necessarily abnormal.
Because this disease is so common, everyone should have a BP test done once in six months
A majority of the cases of hypertension has no specific cause for it and hence cannot be cured but can be controlled by continuous treatment
Hypertension is also frequent in people with tense personality and during periods of tension. Blood pressure is also known to go up in all people during periods of stress or increased physical activity.
For mild hypertension, your doctor might recommend that you lose weight, eat less salt, and do more exercise. It may be possible to lower your blood pressure simply by making some of these changes in your daily habits. These changes are still required even when drugs are needed to control your blood pressure. These changes may help your medication work better.
When blood flows from the heart through the blood vessels, it generates pressure against the blood vessels walls. Your blood pressure reading is a measure of this pressure.
Blood pressure readings above 140/90 are considered as high. The medical name for high blood pressure is hypertension. By a conservative estimate between 40 and 50% of all persons aged above 60 years have hypertension.
Although some cases of hypertension are caused by other illnesses, these cases account for a very few of the total number of patients with high blood pressure. This kind of hypertension is referred to as “secondary hypertension” which is cured by treating the original problem.
There are several risk factors for developing high blood pressure. These include family history, smoking, overweight, alcoholism and high sodium (common salt) intake along with low potassium and calcium intake.
Treatment of high blood pressure is nearly life-long though the dose of drugs can be reduced. Some people tend to believe that once BP is brought down to normal levels treatment is no longer needed.
BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINES
There are different types of medicines your doctor may prescribe for you. Do not be disheartened or discouraged if you are advised long-term drug therapy. Sometimes you can take smaller doses after your blood pressure is under control, but you may always need some treatment.
Like all medicines blood pressure medicines have several side-effects. These include: weakness, tiredness or leg cramps, impotence, cold hands and feet, depression, trouble sleeping, slow or fast heartbeat, skin rash, loss of taste, dry cough, ankle swelling, headache or dizziness and constipation. You should be aware of these symptoms and consult your doctor if they bother you too much.
There are several types of blood pressure medicines. The common ones are those which eliminate excess salt and water from the body (diuretics) and those which relax and open up the narrowed blood vessels (beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers).
POINTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Though you may not feel sick, hypertension is a serious health problem and should be treated by a doctor.
Try to take your medicine at the same time each day – for example, in the morning after brushing your teeth or in the evening
High blood pressure can lead to many serious diseases including stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. You can reduce your risk of developing these problems by getting proper treatment. Have your BP checked and if HBP is diagnosed, follow your doctor’s advice closely.
BP can be lowered with medicines and it will rise again if the medicine is not used regularly.
Weight loss, reduced salt and alcohol intake, and exercise may be helpful, but are substitutes for drugs only with doctor’s recommendation.