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Hypertension stands as the primary contributor to heart diseases and premature deaths on a global scale. Despite the widespread use of blood pressure lowering medications, the prevalence of hypertension has surged, particularly in low and middle-income countries. In 2010, it was estimated that 31.1% of adults globally, totaling 1.39 billion individuals, were affected by high blood pressure. Disparities in risk factors, including elevated sodium intake, insufficient potassium intake, obesity, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet, may contribute to the regional variations in prevalence of such disorders. Despite the rising prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension remain low.
Many individuals experience elevated blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension, often without noticeable symptoms, leading to potential damage to blood vessels over time. Persistent raised blood pressure increases the likelihood of heart attacks, strokes, or kidney issues. The risk of developing these medical conditions rises with higher blood pressure levels.
Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by blood against the walls of arteries as it is transported from the heart to various parts of the body. Arteries serve as conduits for blood circulation. Typically, blood pressure experiences natural fluctuations over the course of a day.
Blood pressure readings consist of two values, [upper value]/[lower value] mmHg. The first number, systolic blood pressure, indicates the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart muscles contract, while the second number, diastolic blood pressure, represents the pressure when the heart muscles relax. The normal blood pressure value is 120/80 mm Hg.
Blood pressure is deemed too high if the systolic value exceeds 140 and/or the diastolic value surpasses 90. However, these thresholds are set for practical reasons and serve as general guidelines. Consequently, recommendations regarding the necessity of medication to address high blood pressure may vary.
Blood pressure is influenced by two factors: the volume of blood pumped by the heart and the resistance encountered as blood moves through the arteries. The greater the blood volume pumped by the heart and the narrower the arteries, the higher the resulting blood pressure. There are two primary categories of this disorder:
For most adults, the causes of high blood pressure are not readily identifiable. This form is known as primary hypertension or essential hypertension and tends to develop gradually over an extended period. The accumulation of plaque in the arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis, heightens the risk of elevated blood pressure.
This type of high blood pressure is attributed to an underlying condition, emerging suddenly and often leading to higher blood pressure levels than primary hypertension. Conditions and medications contributing to secondary hypertension encompass adrenal gland tumors, congenital heart defects (present at birth), certain medications like cough and cold medicines, pain relievers, birth control pills, as well as illegal drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines, kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, and even the phenomenon where blood pressure rises during a health checkup, known as white coat hypertension.
Many individuals having raised blood pressure issues exhibit no or little symptoms, even when blood pressure readings reach potentially hazardous levels. It is possible to have hypertension for an extended period without experiencing any noticeable symptoms. However, Some individuals may experience some high blood pressure symptoms like:
Consistent physical exercising has huge potential to decrease blood pressure by approximately 5 to 8 mm Hg. It's crucial to maintain a regular exercise routine to prevent a resurgence of elevated blood pressure. A reasonable target should be to strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.
Exercise not only aids in preventing elevated blood pressure but can also forestall its progression into hypertension. For individuals already dealing with hypertension, regular physical activity can contribute to bringing blood pressure down to safer levels.
Aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing are beneficial ways to control high blood pressure. High-intensity interval training, involving alternating short bursts of intense activity with lighter activity periods, is another effective option. Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine can also assist in reducing blood pressure. Aim to include strength training sessions at least two days a week.
As weight increases, blood pressure tends to rise, and being overweight can contribute to disrupted breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), further elevating blood pressure. Implementing weight loss is a highly effective lifestyle adjustment for blood pressure management. If you are overweight or dealing with obesity, even a modest weight reduction can play a role in lowering blood pressure. Typically, a decrease of about 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) in blood pressure can be expected with each kilogram (approximately 2.2 pounds) of weight lost. Additionally, the circumference of the waist is a crucial factor. Carrying excess weight around the waist heightens the risk of abnormally raised blood pressure.
Even a modest reduction in sodium intake can enhance heart health and lower high blood pressure by around 5 to 6 mm Hg. The impact of sodium on blood pressure can vary among individuals, but in general, limiting sodium to 2,300 mg per day or less is advisable. Ideally, adults should aim for an even lower sodium intake of 1,500 mg per day or less.
Consuming a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products while minimizing saturated fat and cholesterol intake can lead to a reduction in blood pressure, potentially by up to 11 mm Hg. Including potassium in your diet can counteract the impact of salt (sodium) on blood pressure. Opt for natural sources of potassium, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than relying on supplements.
Restricting alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men can contribute to a blood pressure decrease of about 4 mm Hg. One drink equates to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. However, excessive alcohol consumption can elevate blood pressure and diminish the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
Smoking is generally associated with abnormally raised blood pressure disorders. Ceasing smoking not only aids in lowering blood pressure but also reduces the risk of heart disease, fostering overall health and potentially leading to a longer life.
Prolonged emotional stress may contribute to hypertensive issues. While more research is needed on the effectiveness of stress reduction techniques in reducing blood pressure, identifying stressors and finding ways to alleviate stress can be beneficial.
Inadequate sleep, consistently getting fewer than six hours a night for several weeks, can contribute to hypertension. Various issues like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia can disrupt sleep. Inform your healthcare provider if you frequently struggle with sleep. Identifying and addressing the underlying cause can improve sleep quality. Try keeping the sleeping space cool, quiet, and dark. Engage in relaxing activities before bedtime, such as a warm bath or relaxation exercises. Avoid bright lights from electronic screens. Be mindful of your eating and drinking habits, avoiding going to bed hungry or overly full, limiting large meals close to bedtime, and minimizing nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol intake close to bedtime. Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes earlier in the day if you find them helpful for nighttime sleep.
Home monitoring provides a means to track blood pressure and ensure that medications and lifestyle modifications are effective. Home blood pressure monitors are widely available without a prescription; however, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before initiating home monitoring.
Regular heatlth check can help are crucial for blood pressure control. If blood pressure is well-managed, inquire about the recommended frequency of checks, as it may be possible to monitor less frequently, perhaps once a day or even less often.
How can I lower my blood pressure quickly?
You yourself can lower your blood pressure levels by taking bath, aerobic exercises, maintaining a healthy diet with low sodium intake, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, managing stress, getting quality sleep, and monitoring blood pressure regularly.
How do you feel when you have high blood pressure?
Many individuals do not get symptoms but some may experience headache, breath shortness, nose bleeding, sweating, etc.
How can I control my BP?
You can control your blood pressure by lowering salt intake, taking natural fruit potassium, exercising, lowering excess weight, etc.
What causes high BP?
There are various causes of such disorders. It usually develops over time. Unhealthy lifestyle choices, no regular physical activity, lack of sleep, poor dietary habits, stress, etc. can cause such disorders.
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