Should You Be Concerned About High Blood Pressure?

July 26, 2019 / Health
Should You Be Concerned About High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a common health problem in which the force of the blood that pushes against the artery walls increases to higher than normal levels, causing heart disease and other health problems. Also called hypertension, it can develop without any noticeable signs and symptoms. In fact, there are many people who have had it for years and not realize it until severe complications began to occur.

Common warning signs of high blood pressure

The majority of high blood pressure cases do not have signs and symptoms. This is true even if the blood pressure levels get to very high levels.

But, if signs and symptoms do pop up, usually if the condition gets close to its highly-dangerous and life-threatening stage, the following are the most common ones:

  • Dizziness
  • Pain in the back of the neck
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Pounding sensation in the ears, chest, or neck
  • Nosebleeds
  • Fatigue
  • Blood in the urine

Causes of high blood pressure

High blood pressure is classified into two types:

Primary or essential hypertension

This is a type of high blood pressure that develops slowly over time. It does not really have an identifiable cause, but the odds of having it increase due to the following risk factors:

    • Family history

checking for blood pressureHaving one or more family members who have or have had high blood pressure increases your risk of having it.

    • Age

Older people are more likely to develop high blood pressure.

    • Being overweight or obese

Packing excess fat and weight in the body makes you prone to high blood pressure, which may eventually lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

    • Lack of exercise

A sedentary lifestyle raises the likelihood of you developing not only high blood pressure but also weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other complications.

    • Smoking

The compounds contained in cigarettes and tobacco can impair your heart and cardiovascular function, leading to an increase in your blood pressure levels and damaging your heart, lung, brain, and other vital parts.

    • High sodium diet

Eating foods that contain high levels of salt or sodium can cause fluid retention, raising your blood pressure levels and causing swelling of your legs and feet and other health problems.

Secondary hypertension

This is a type of high blood pressure that is brought about by an underlying condition. So, if you have primary hypertension and the cause has been identified, your condition becomes secondary hypertension. Below are some conditions linked to secondary hypertension:

    • Thyroid problems

There are different kinds of thyroid problems and they range from minor conditions, such as goiter, to dangerous ones, such as cancer.

    • Obstructive sleep apnea

This is a sleeping disorder in which your upper airway is completely or partially obstructed while you sleep, causing breathing cessations.

    • Congenital defects in the blood vessels

This refers to abnormal growths in the blood vessels that you are born with, something that developed during your embryonic growth.

    • Adrenal gland tumors

These can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), triggering several symptoms including high blood pressure, heart palpitations, headaches, low potassium levels, diabetes, and excessive sweating.

    • Kidney problems

Your kidneys can become impaired and develop chronic kidney disease or some other kidney disease because of poor diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and other factors.

    • Drug abuse

Taking amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine, and other recreational drugs can dramatically increase your blood pressure levels, increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Ways to manage blood pressure levels

According to health experts, the ideal blood pressure is below 120 over 80 and higher than 90 over 60. If your blood pressure level is 140 over 90, for example, this means you have high blood pressure. You have to do something to stop it from increasing any further and bring it down to the ideal range before pains and discomfort start to manifest. Below are safe and healthy ways to lower blood pressure levels:

  1. Eat less sodium

Health professionals say that reducing the amount of sodium that you eat even just a little bit can lower your blood pressure by as much as 5 mm Hg to 6 mm Hg. So, make sure to check the sodium content of your foods, and do your best to not exceed the recommended daily dietary requirement. Minimize eating processed foods, and, instead of adding salt to enhance the flavor of your dishes, use spices or herbs.

  1. senior couple staying activeBe more physically active

For optimal health, you should get around 150 minutes of exercise a week. By doing so, you not only can boost your energy levels, heart health, immunity, and other vital bodily functions, you also can lower your blood pressure levels by 5 mm Hg to 8 mm Hg. Just make sure to stick to a routine and commit to it long-term because your blood pressure levels can rise again the moment you quit your exercise regimen.

  1. Eat more nutritious foods

Include more fruits, vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains in your diet to lower your blood pressure levels by 11 mm Hg. Every day, eat a serving of foods like bananas, apricots, oranges, prunes, cantaloupes, soybeans, lentils, lima beans, and grapefruits, as they are high in potassium, which is an essential mineral that can slow down or negate the negative side effects of sodium.

  1. Avoid stress

Constant stress can be harmful to your blood pressure. If you are always stressed because of work, school, family, relationships, or finances, you have to not let the pressure get to you. You should find ways to calm yourself down and relax your nerves so that your blood pressure will not rise to dangerously high levels. Try yoga, meditation, or a hobby that can help your mind and body find peace and tranquility.

  1. Visit your doctor regularly

Keeping tabs on your health is essential for a long and healthy life. You should pay regular visits to your doctor to not only monitor your blood pressure levels but also check on how the rest of your body is doing.