High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is equal to or higher than 140/90mmhg. In medical terms, this is known as Essential Arterial Hypertension.
Normal is when your blood pressure is below this value. Optimal is less than 120/80mmhg.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and can be measured with a device called Sphygmomanometer or simply a blood pressure monitor.
You have to measure your blood pressure more than once or twice or on several occasions to confirm you have high blood pressure. You can do this yourself if you have the device and know how to use it or simply go to a doctor to help you measure your blood pressure.
FACTORS THAT CAN PREDISPOSE YOU TO HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
- Genetics. You should worry if a family member suffers from hypertension. Simply get checked.
- Stress. If you are stressed this may lead to high blood pressure
- Age. Men above 55 years old, women above 65 years old.
- Smoking. People who smoke have a higher tendency to have high blood pressure.
- Gender. Men are more like to have hypertension than women.
- Obesity. The more you weigh, the more blood that needs to supply oxygen and nutrients to your body. This causes an increase in pressure.
- Diabetes: Studies have found that at least 1 in 3 patients with type 1 diabetes also have hypertension.
When your blood pressure is high, this predisposes you to a condition known as Atherosclerosis which is when your blood vessels are narrowed as a result of deposition of fatty materials in their inner wall.
ORGAN DAMAGE AS A RESULT OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
- Heart diseases such as heart attack and heart failure
- Brain damage such as stroke.
- Kidney diseases such as chronic kidney disease, kidney failure.
- Eye damage. Hypertension can damage the retina and if care is not taken can lead to vision loss.
- Peripheral arterial diseases. A common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs usually the legs. This leads to the legs not receiving enough blood flow to keep up with demand.
Well, the good news is high blood pressure can be controlled and managed.
WAYS TO CONTROL YOUR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
First is non-pharmacological. This means you don’t need to take drugs.
- Avoid being stressed or things that stress you. Read how to manage stress here.
- If you smoke, stop smoking. You can read our article on How to Break Free from an Addiction.
- Do simple exercise. We have discussed some of this in Fitness Basics, Start with These 10 things first.
Eat healthily. Reduce your salt intake.
Eat more Mediterranean diet. This includes:
- primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
- replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods
- limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
The other way to control your BP is pharmacological that is by taking drugs.
Common Medications in the World Health Lists of Essential Medicines for High Blood Pressure
- Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACEI): Captopril, Lisinopril, Elanapril
- Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARB): Losartan, Valsartan
- Diuretics: Hydrochlorothiazide, Furosemide
- Beta blockers: Metoprolol, Bisoprolol
- Calcium Channel Blockers: Nifedipine, Verapamil, Diltiazem
- Nitrovasodilators: Sodium nitroprusside
We strongly recommend you to visit your doctor before you start taking any antihypertensive medication. We are not liable for your actions.
Your doctor will determine which of the medication will work best for you, what combinations to use, what side effects are possible and what dose is appropriate for you.
So as you can see high blood pressure isn’t good for your health but can be controlled.