High blood pressure is one of the most common medical conditions that people face today. It can be a life threatening condition. High blood pressure can also cause symptoms like a headache, dizziness, and fatigue, and can cause damage to parts of the body like the eyes and kidneys.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It can be caused by a variety of diseases.
High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people in the United States. Most often, people develop high blood pressure because of the way they eat and exercise. In fact, more than 90 percent of the population has some degree of pre-hypertension or high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a serious condition if left untreated.. Read more about symptoms of high blood pressure and let us know what you think.
Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure? You are not alone if you feel this way. Blood pressure is a problem for an estimated 1.4 billion individuals across the globe. It affects one out of every three individuals in North America and Europe. Over the past four decades, high blood pressure rates have risen in all parts of the globe, similar to obesity and diabetes.
High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, increases your chance of heart attacks and strokes, as well as other severe health problems such as congestive heart failure, renal disease, eye impairment, and dementia.
High blood pressure is currently the main or contributing cause of about 1,100 fatalities each day in the United States. Hypertension is responsible for an estimated 10 million premature deaths worldwide each year, mainly due to heart attacks and strokes.
The good news is that you can lower your blood pressure by making easy lifestyle adjustments. If lifestyle modifications aren’t adequate, blood pressure medicines may be prescribed.
This comprehensive book will teach you all you need to know about high blood pressure.
It’s one of a series of tutorials on blood pressure problems. This information is for individuals who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Check out the accompanying guides, particularly the basic blood pressure guide, which explains what blood pressure is and how to properly measure it, as well as problems that may contribute to incorrect readings.
1. What does it mean to have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is defined as blood flowing through your arteries at a greater pressure than usual.
When your heart beats or contracts, blood is ejected and circulated throughout your body. Each heartbeat produces a powerful whoosh of blood, similar to a pump being pressed.
The pressure of blood on the arterial wall when the heart contracts is measured by the higher number in your blood pressure (systolic). The pressure on the artery wall between beats or when the heart relaxes is measured by the lower value (the diastolic). (Think of the initial letters as “sky” and “dirt” to remember systolic and diastolic.)
Your blood pressure’s two digits are written as a fraction, such as 140/92, and read aloud as “140 over 92.”
Everyone’s blood pressure varies throughout the day, increasing in the morning and peaking in the late afternoon before dropping overnight.
Exercise, stress, worry, fear, agitation, and other powerful emotions may all cause blood pressure to increase. Even holding your breath for a few seconds may cause your blood pressure to rise by a few points. From one reading to the next, your blood pressure will never be precisely the same. The broad range of measurements and how much they vary are the most significant factors.
High blood pressure, on the other hand, is defined as readings that are consistently higher than the usual range of 120/80.
2. Chart and statistics for high blood pressure
High blood pressure is now divided into various phases, as seen in this blood pressure chart.
- Blood pressure that is slightly higher than usual (light yellow on graph) is referred to as pre-hypertension. The systolic pressure is 120-129, while the diastolic pressure is less than 80.
- Stage 1 hypertension, often known as moderate hypertension, is defined as blood pressure that is regularly between 130 and 139 systolic or 80 to 89 diastolic. Normalizing Stage 1 hypertension is often achieved via lifestyle modifications. If blood pressure continues to increase over time despite lifestyle modifications, healthcare providers may prescribe medication.
- Stage 2: Severe hypertension is defined as blood pressure that is regularly between 140 and 179 systolic and 90 to 119 diastolic, and is linked with greater long-term health problems. If there are additional cardiovascular risk factors, most recommendations suggest taking medication right away if blood pressure is this high. However, we recommend that you speak with your doctor about the effectiveness of lifestyle changes as a first line of defense.
- Hypertensive crisis: If your blood pressure is greater than 180 systolic and/or 120 diastolic, you have a hypertensive crisis. You should visit your doctor or go to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. This kind of pressure is life-threatening and may quickly destroy sensitive organ tissues, particularly in the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, and eyes. Fortunately, hypertensive crises are uncommon, affecting only around 1% to 2% of individuals with high blood pressure. According to studies, up to 25% of individuals diagnosed with hypertensive crisis each year were completely unaware that they had high blood pressure.
3. What are the signs and symptoms of hypertension?
Because most individuals with stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension have no apparent symptoms, it is known as the “silent killer.” Nada. Not a single one!
Regular blood pressure checks are generally the only method to detect high blood pressure. During your yearly appointment, your doctor should check your blood pressure at least once a year. Especially in North America, accurate public blood pressure monitors may be found in locations like pharmacies, gyms, and community centers. A home blood pressure monitor is also a cost-effective, automated, and accurate method to keep track of your blood pressure.
Whether you check your blood pressure on a regular basis, you’ll be able to see if your pressures are rising or if your lifestyle or medicines are reducing them.
Hypertensive crisis symptoms
While stage 1 and 2 hypertension have no visible signs, a hypertensive crisis is more likely to have symptoms (although it can still be asymptomatic). Any of the following may be used:
- vision that is hazy or distorted
- vomiting or nausea
- Breathing problems
- bleeds from the nose
- chest discomfort
- heartbeats that are irregular
A hypertensive crisis with a blood pressure of more than 180/120 is a medical emergency once again. Seek medical help right away.
4. What factors contribute to high blood pressure?
Scientists are baffled as to why some individuals get high blood pressure and others do not. In reality, 95 percent of instances of high blood pressure have no obvious reason. This is referred to as primary hypertension, or essential hypertension. (This is referred to as secondary hypertension when there is a definite reason – see below.)
It is well known that a variety of risk factors lead people to have high blood pressure in the case of primary hypertension. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol use, smoking, stress, family history, and certain ethnicity are all risk factors.
Although not everyone with these frequent risk factors develops high blood pressure, they are linked to a greater chance of being diagnosed with hypertension.
African Americans are more vulnerable.
If you have African genetic ancestry, particularly if you reside in the United States, you have a significantly greater chance of developing high blood pressure as you become older than people of other races. The reason behind this is a contentious issue. Is it mostly a hereditary difference, such as in how the body handles salt? Is it more likely to be the consequence of socioeconomic factors such as stress, poor nutrition, or limited access to medical care? Or is it a combination of genetic, social, and environmental factors?
The difference is real, even if scientific evidence isn’t conclusive. According to a recent research, by the age of 55, 75% of African-American men and women had high blood pressure, compared to just 50% of Caucasian men and 40% of Caucasian women. African Americans are two times more likely than whites to die from a stroke and five times more likely to suffer end-stage renal disease as a result of high blood pressure in the United States. For African Americans, this includes adopting a healthier lifestyle and using the appropriate medicines.
With aging, blood pressure rises.
For everyone, growing older is a risk factor for high blood pressure. Our blood vessels harden and become less elastic as we age. The pressure in the arteries may rise as a result of this.
However, it is debatable whether high blood pressure in the elderly, particularly those over the age of 80, need the same rigorous therapy to return to normal levels. That’s because high blood pressure medicines may have dangerous side effects like dizziness or lightheadedness, which can lead to hip-breaking falls, particularly in the elderly and weak. This increased risk of medication side effects may come at the expense of fewer heart attacks, strokes, and early deaths. If you are older, you should have a thorough conversation with your doctor.
The SPRINT Trial found a modest overall mortality advantage in older people who were actively treated for hypertension, but it came with an increased risk of hypotension, falls, and renal disease.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, it seems logical that lifestyle modifications among the elderly, such as adopting a low-carb diet, may help reduce blood pressure and have fewer adverse effects than medicines. More research is required to establish the advantages of dietary modifications in this population, bearing in mind that older individuals may find it more difficult to make significant dietary changes.
A low-carb diet seems to be beneficial for reducing blood pressure across a broad range of ages, among patients with hypertension and insulin resistance in primary care practice, according to encouraging but early study by Dr. David Unwin and colleagues.
Hypertension may also be caused by other factors.
High blood pressure is caused by a specific, curable or reversible reason in fewer than 10% of instances, such as a disease, a medicine, a rare hormone-secreting tumor, or another substance. Secondary hypertension is the term for this condition.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, particularly if you’re under the age of 30, or if your blood pressure suddenly rises with no prior sign that it was rising, you and your doctor should investigate if the sudden spike is due to a reversible reason.
The most frequent causes of secondary hypertension are as follows:
- High blood pressure may be caused by a variety of curable chronic illnesses. Numerous renal illnesses, sleep apnea, aortic coarctation (congenital constriction of the aorta), and various issues with the adrenal glands, including hormone-secreting tumors, are among them. Blood pressure may be reduced or normalized by treating the underlying disease.
- Medications: a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications have the potential to raise blood pressure as a side effect. These are some of them:
- Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement treatment, particularly when estrogen levels are high.
- Some cold and allergy medicines include oral decongestants.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are medications that are used to treat pain and inflammation.
- Stimulant medications, particularly combined amphetamine salts, are used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Adderall).
- St. John’s Wort, ginseng, ginkgo, and blue kohosh are examples of herbal supplements.
- Licorice: Glycyrrhizin, a chemical found in licorice root and used in licorice-flavored herbal teas, candies, lozenges, and herbal medicines, is a powerful blood pressure-raising agent. A number of case reports have been published as a result of its usage, as well as a warning from the US Food and Drug Administration. Check to see whether you’re eating any licorice or licorice extract.
- Alcohol: particularly when drunk in significant amounts on a regular basis.
- Cocaine, methamphetamines, and other stimulant recreational drugs are examples of recreational drugs.
- Tobacco usage, especially non-smoking (chewing) tobacco.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure unexpectedly, see your doctor to rule out any underlying medical problems, and examine any medicines, vitamins, and other items you’re taking with your pharmacist to see if they may have contributed to the sudden increase.
5. What are the dangers of high blood pressure?
Why do we worry so much about reducing blood pressure if it has no symptoms and no recognized cause? Because it does substantial harm invisibly.
Blood flowing through our arteries under too much pressure can weaken and damage blood vessel walls, or damage the delicate organ structures and tissues that receive the high-pressure flow, just as too much water pressure in a garden hose can weaken the hose walls and cause the spray to be too strong when blasted on delicate plants. The longer blood pressure is up, the more harm it may do.
Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure may lead to any of the following:
- Stroke: High blood pressure affects the arteries leading to and inside the brain, possibly causing constriction or blockages, resulting in reduced blood flow and ultimately brain damage. Blood clots may form as a result of high blood pressure, obstructing blood flow to the brain.
- Heart attack: High blood pressure may harm the vital coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle, making the vessels more prone to plaque development. Blood clots, which are more frequent in people with high blood pressure, may also block arteries, denying blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart becomes tired, weak, enlarges, and becomes less efficient as a pump as a result of pumping blood under greater pressure. Heart failure is the result of this.
- High blood pressure scars and destroys delicate structures in the kidneys, such as blood vessels and blood-filtering tissues, preventing these organs from performing their vital blood-cleaning function and resulting in irreversible damage and chronic kidney disease.
- Damage to the retina’s fragile blood vessels may result in constriction, burst vessels, swelling of the optic nerve, and vision difficulties or loss. An eye exam may sometimes reveal the earliest symptoms of high blood pressure before any further harm is discovered.
- Long-term high blood pressure not only raises the chance of stroke, but it also raises the risk of subtle damage to brain blood vessels, which may lead to cognitive impairment.
6. The next steps
There’s no denying that high blood pressure is a leading cause of disease, sickness, and mortality. It’s critical to do all you can to return it to normal levels.
Cut the carbohydrates and keep the hypertension under control.
Reducing your sugar and carbohydrate intake is proving to be a strong and efficient method to reduce blood pressure. In fact, although excessive salt intake has long been blamed for the hypertension pandemic, some scientists think that our diet’s high sugar content — particularly carbohydrate meals that quickly convert to sugar — may be a bigger problem.
Many people who follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet see a significant drop in blood pressure. Participants’ diastolic blood pressure readings decreased substantially in the Virta trial of cardiovascular disease indicators, and 11.5 percent were able to discontinue using high blood pressure medicines.
However, the long-term blood pressure-reducing effects of a low-carb diet are yet unknown, as is whether the impact is attributable to weight reduction alone or to the additional benefit of decreasing carbs.
Low-carb doctors should be aware that this is a frequent occurrence so that they can expect blood pressure drops and take additional precautions to monitor blood pressure and modify patients’ blood pressure medicines as required. Some individuals are able to entirely avoid using blood pressure medicines.
What makes it so effective? Weight loss, lower levels of circulating insulin, decreased insulin resistance, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced salt retention by the kidney, lowered blood sugar, and others are some of the processes that have been proposed.
There are a variety of tips and resources available to help you get started on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Take a look at these two resources for newcomers.
7. Other changes to your lifestyle
There are many additional lifestyle modifications that may help lower blood pressure. Adding moderate exercise, limiting drinking, controlling stress, and quitting smoking are just a few of them.
Check out our comprehensive guide on naturally lowering blood pressure. It goes through why a low-carb diet is so successful in lowering blood pressure, as well as simple methods to incorporate lifestyle changes into your daily routines to improve blood pressure management.
How to Get Your Blood Pressure Back to Normal
Guide Blood pressure is a prevalent health problem today, but it may be improved with a few easy lifestyle adjustments.
Medications are also effective.
Sometimes making lifestyle adjustments isn’t enough to get your blood pressure back to normal. You’ll need to take blood pressure medicine in such scenario. Sometimes a single medication may suffice, and other times a mix of drugs will be required.
Our comprehensive reference to popular high blood pressure medicines explains how they work, as well as the dangers and benefits associated with them. The book also explains how to work with your doctor to modify blood pressure medicines while following a low-carb diet.
In summary, although a high blood pressure diagnosis is a severe illness that should not be taken lightly, you may take a number of steps right now to lower your blood pressure and protect your health in the future.
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High blood pressure (also known as hypertension, or simply high blood pressure) is one of the most common chronic diseases that affects millions of Americans. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to blood vessel damage, a narrowing of the arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke, or even kidney failure.. Read more about what causes high blood pressure and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you feel when you have high blood pressure?
I feel great!
What are the 5 symptoms of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries is too strong. There are five symptoms that can be associated with high blood pressure, including headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain and shortness of breath.
What are 4 things that can cause high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood against artery walls is too great. It can be caused by many factors, including high cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity, and diabetes.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
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