Understanding High Blood Pressure

blood-pressureAt some point in your life, you must have heard the time ‘high blood pressure’. With the disease being so prevalent, chances are, you know at least one human being living with or who has died from it. However, do you know what it means to have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is literally the force of the blood against the arteries being higher than it should be. In other words, the force of your blood is putting more pressure on your arteries than it should. As your heart beats, the pressure goes up and when your heart rests between beats, it goes down. These two pressures are known as systolic and diastolic pressures respectively and are used to determine how high or low your blood pressure is. When your systolic and diastolic pressures go beyond 120/80, you are considered hypertensive but you’re not diagnosed as having high blood pressure until it reaches 140/90 or higher.

What is the cause?

High blood pressure is identified as a lifestyle disease for the most part, although a single specific cause cannot be pinpointed for many people. In other cases, hypertension can be a result of another medical problem, pregnancy or may result from using certain medications. It is highly prevalent among people who are overweight, those who smoke, excessive drinkers and people who have bad eating habits.

What are the symptoms?

Known as the ‘silent killer’, high blood pressure rarely presents any noticeable symptoms. Instead, it often makes its presence felt when it results in other health problems, such as heart disease, strokes and other chronic ailments. As a result, there are more people living with the disease unknowingly than those who are aware. This is why it is among the leading cause of deaths in the US.

How is it treated?

Lifestyle changes are the main recommendations when it comes on to treating hypertension. These include following a healthy diet, exercising, quitting the smoking habit, reducing alcohol intake and finding ways to reduce stress. It also advisable to take all medications prescribed by the doctor.