Abnormally high blood pressure is called hypertension and a person with blood pressure higher than 140 over 90 mmHg is considered to be suffering from hypertension.
Around 1.13 million people have been diagnosed with high blood pressure throughout the world. It is one of the most common yet feared conditions, having long-term effects on your body and mind. If a patient faces enduring pressure of blood against the heart artery walls, it can cause several other problems like heart disease.
17th May is World Hypertension Day, a day dedicated to spreading awareness about the killer condition. It was started in the year 2005 and different organizations come up with novel ways to spread awareness. The sole idea behind this is to let people know about the hazards of hypertension.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure is a condition in which, the force of blood flow against your artery walls is so high that it may cause health problems sooner or later. Blood pressure is found out by both, the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to it in your arteries. When more blood is pumped in your heart and your arteries are narrow, you are suffering from high blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises your risk of serious health conditions that include heart failure and mitral valve disorders.
What are High Blood Pressure Triggers?
A bad/unhealthy lifestyle like unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, continuous tension or pressure, family history of High BP and being obese/overweight (a high BMI) are some of the factors that trigger High BP. Unhealthy lifestyle includes:
- Fatty food
- Consuming excess salt
- Smoking and excessive drinking
- Inactive lifestyle
- Constant stress
- Potassium deficiency
How is Blood Pressure Measured?
When BP is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and shows two readings, systolic pressure, and diastolic pressure.
- Systolic pressure: Maximum pressure during a heartbeat
- diastolic pressure: The lowest pressure between a heartbeat.
The reading is written as systolic above the diastolic, for example, 120/80 mm Hg. Anything above 120/80 mm Hg considered as High blood pressure and below that is normal blood pressure. High blood pressure is defined as per a person’s age too. For those who are above 60 years, 150/90 is considered High BP.
What exactly is Hypertension?
Blood pressure involves the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of blood that is circulated to your arteries. A person with high blood pressure has an unusual type of blood circulation, where the heart pumps excessive blood to the arteries, diagnosing the patient with High BP.
Without any symptoms, a person can suffer high blood pressure for several years. Even without the symptoms, there is always a danger to the heart vessels, which can result in serious health problems like a stroke or heart attack.
High blood pressure or hypertension can be easily detected by paying a visit to your medical practitioner. Once you are diagnosed with this, you will be provided treatment for a longer duration.
One of the key factors that leads to hypertension is lifestyle disorder. People have been toying with almost every aspect of life including sleep, diet, exercise, stress and work. Our blood pressure responds to all these things and it can eventually lead to hypertension.
Types of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
High blood pressure is of two types, primary (or essential) hypertension, and secondary hypertension.
For many, mostly adults, there is no identifiable cause of high BP. This type is called primary (or essential) hypertension, which tends to develop slowly over many years.
For some, high blood pressure is caused by an underlying condition. This type is called secondary hypertension. Secondary hypertension tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure compared to primary hypertension. Many conditions and medicines may cause secondary hypertension, such as
- Kidney problems
- Thyroid problems
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Certain blood vessels defects you are born with congenital heart disease
- Illegal drugs like amphetamines and cocaine.
What are the Possible Symptoms of Hypertension?
- Severe headaches
- Trouble breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pounding chest
- Vision problems
- Unusual chest pain
- Sweaty neck and ears
When Should You Consult a Doctor?
Once you reach a certain age, your doctor always does a thorough workup, including a blood pressure test, which evaluates your chances of suffering from hypertension. However, several patients are not diagnosed on time, so if you are facing sudden dizziness, severe headaches, congested chest, or irregular heartbeats, you need to visit the doctor immediately.
So how to identify if you have hypertension?
There are several cases where people with high blood pressure don’t experience any signs or symptoms, even though their BP readings reach very high levels.
In some cases, people with hypertension may have headaches, nosebleeds or shortness of breath. However, these symptoms aren’t specific and they may occur only when the blood pressure reaches life-threatening stage.
With the blood pressure machine (traditional or digital), your doctor, or even you can measure your blood pressure. A normal person should have a blood pressure systolic 120 mm Hg and diastolic 80 mm Hg. Elevated blood pressure confirms that a person is suffering from hypertension.
- Stage 1 hypertension: In this stage, the patient is diagnosed with mild hypertension if systolic pressure ranges from 130-139 mmHg and diastolic ranges from 80-89mmHg.
- Stage 2 hypertension: In this stage, the patient is diagnosed with severe hypertension, where systolic pressure ranges above 140 mmHg and diastolic ranges above 90 mmHg.
- Hypertensive crisis: This stage of high blood pressure requires medical attention. If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and then test your blood pressure again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis
Consult a specialist today with Ask Apollo and say bye to waiting in long queues. The Apollo Institute for Blood Pressure Management is the only comprehensive center in entire South Asia to accurately diagnose hypertension. The Institute also has facility to check central aortic blood pressure, which is the true indicator of BP. The institute has been designated as the South Asia office of the World Hypertension League (WHL)/ WHO, to coordinate BP control efforts in the region.
How to prevent it?
Blood pressure usually rises with age. A healthy lifestyle can help you delay or prevent this increase in blood pressure. Significant actions include, following a healthy lifestyle, regular heart health check-ups and, if have high BP, adhering to the treatment plan. People with high BP can take precautionary steps to control it and diminish their risk of related health conditions.
What is the Treatment Course for Hypertension?
- Getting regular checkup
- Taking proper medications
- Participating in regular physical activity like walking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol intake
- Avoiding tobacco intake
- Eating a healthy and nutrient-rich diet
- Avoiding excessive sodium
- Stress control
It is important to make some changes in our lifestyle to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Smart and healthy is key for overall health. Stay stress free and exercise regularly to stay fit. Cut down on sodium consumption and maintain healthy weight according to your BMI. Suffering from hypertension?
Effective ways to keep your blood pressure under control
High blood pressure can be controlled by making some simple but effective lifestyle changes. While regular exercise and a healthy diet is extremely important to keep blood pressure under control, alcohol consumption should be strictly avoided under all circumstances. Also, avoid foods in high sodium like packaged or processed foods and add less salts in your food if you have high BP.
Some other effective tips
- Workout regularly: Exercise, at least, for three days a week to keep your blood pressure in check. Aerobic workouts, such as jogging, walking, swimming, cycling and even dancing are all good to keep your BP under control.
- Watch your waistline: Having too much weight around the waistline increases the risk of high BP. So it is important to lose weight to keep your blood pressure under control.
- Quit smoking: Smoking raises your BP for many minutes after you finish it. Quit smoking, if you smoke, to help your body to restore normal blood pressure levels.
- Eat a healthy diet: Make sure to add more of vegetables and fresh fruits in your diet. Add more of potassium-rich foods in your diet. It helps in decreasing the effect of sodium on the blood pressure. Foods rich in potassium include peas, bananas, spinach, avocados, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and oranges to name a few.
- Cut back on Tea or Coffee: Tea or coffee can raise the levels of your blood pressure. Limit their intake to keep your blood pressure under control.
- Manage stress: Stress is a significant factor that contributes to your high blood pressure levels. Adopt hobbies to take less stress or simply change your attitude towards it. Yoga and meditation are said to be good ways of reducing stress.
Does Hypertension Lead to Brain Hemorrhage?
A brain hemorrhage can also be considered a brain stroke. It occurs when the blood arteries present in the brain burst, causing a bleed near the tissues. This damages or kills the brain cells, leading to a stroke or the patient being declared brain dead.
Hypertension is one of the causes of brain hemorrhage. A patient diagnosed with hypertension usually has weakened blood vessels and artery walls. Brain hemorrhages can be further divided into two parts.
Ischemic stroke occurs due to blood clot in the brain and the artery responsible for supplying blood gets blocked. This can be because of the diseased artery, known as thrombotic stroke, or when a blood clot is supplied from outside of the brain to the blood vessels, known as an embolic stroke.
Hemorrhagic is usually the most uncommon type of brain stroke, but it causes severe damage to the patient’s brain, which can leave them brain dead. It can happen in two ways – If bleeding occurs between the skull and brain, known as subarachnoid hemorrhage, or if the bleeding occurs from the blood vessel or artery inside the brain, known as intracerebral hemorrhage.
Hypertension is considered one of the major and leading causes of hemorrhage, both symptomatic and silent. People suffering from high blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, have an increased risk of getting several diseases, and brain hemorrhage is one of them. The higher your blood pressure, the higher is your risk of a brain hemorrhage.
The data from one of the Harvard studies states that men suffering from hypertension have a high risk of hemorrhage (by 220%). However, as dangerous as this illness is, the good news that any medical study can provide patients is that with proactive treatment and medications, a person can easily control high blood pressure and live a healthy and happy life.
For patients suffering from severe hypertension are provided with proper medication and are enrolled for a regular checkup. This is done to monitor their blood pressure and rule out the chances of stroke, heart diseases, heart failure, and other organ damages.
A person living a healthy lifestyle, even diagnosed with hypertension, tends to live longer than people avoiding medical advice. Thus, in order to live happily, maintain normal blood pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How fast can a person recover from hemorrhage?
Brain hemorrhage is uncommon and life-threatening, with a mortality rate of 20% of survivors. It is unlikely that a person can survive this, but the one who does recovers in approximately 6 months (as the recovery rate is slow).
How can the brain repair after a hemorrhage?
When the swollen tissues start decreasing, removal of toxins is initiated, and blood starts flowing into the brain, you get to see the possible signs of recovery. It is observed through imaging tests like CT scans and MRIs.
Which is the worst side of the brain for hemorrhage?
Any side of the brain for stroke is equally bad because your brain controls your entire body by sending the signals through neurons. So, if any side of the brain is impacted through a stroke, the actions responsible for that end are hampered. If every corner of your brain suffers from a brain bleed, you are considered brain dead because your brain is unable to communicate with your body organs (you can stay on machines for years with a lack of hope and no possible signs of recovery).