High blood pressure, a potentially dangerous health condition also known as hypertension, is quite common in modern times.
One of the most significant issues regarding hypertension is the absence of obvious symptoms during the earlier stages of this condition. This is why hypertension is referred to as a silent killer. It is also relatively common, especially in adults. In one four-year study, over 70% of all participants (74.3% of men and 70.2% of women, all adults ages 45 to 83) had elevated blood pressure levels, calling attention to the need for more adequate education to increase awareness of the condition.
Chronic low blood pressure is also possible, but it is rarely harmful in the absence of other symptoms.
An Overview Of High Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure refers to an increase in the pressure or internal tension applied to blood vessels. Blood pressure is measured by providing two different readings, including systolic blood pressure and diastolic pressure. Blood pressure levels above 120/80 are considered elevated. At 130/80, a person is considered to be experiencing high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often classified into two stages. State 1 hypertension is diagnosed when blood pressure levels fall between 130-139/80-89. Stage 2 hypertension is diagnosed when a patient’s blood pressure becomes higher than 140/90.
While both are significant, diastolic, which is the bottom number, refers to blood pressure when your heart is at rest, between beats. Systolic, which refers to the top number, measures blood pressure when the heart is pumping blood.
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
In early stages, which could last for years, high blood pressure does not have any noticeable associated symptoms. This is, by far, the most worrisome problem that the healthcare industry and general population is facing when it comes to hypertension today. Chronic high blood pressure can cause damage to arteries and other areas of the body, such as heart, brain, kidneys and eyes. Complications include heart attacks, stroke, kidney scarring and sexual dysfunction, especially in men over 50. Regular screenings for blood pressure levels are considered vital to help identify high blood pressure problems early on. Early intervention is also considered critical to stabilize blood pressure and avoid further damage to the body.
Causes Of High Blood Pressure
In most cases where high blood pressure is diagnosed, the cause remains unclear. One review paper in the International Journal of Hypertension explains that this accounts for around 90% of all hypertension diagnosis and is usually referred to as essential hypertension. Secondary hypertension is diagnosed when a cause can be identified. Potential causes of secondary hypertension may include:
- Renal dysfunctions and conditions, such as Polycystic Kidney Disease and Renal Artery Stenosis.
- Endocrine disorders like Cushing’s syndrome, Conn’s syndrome, Hyperparathyroidism, and Metabolic syndrome.
- The use of certain drugs, such as steroids and cyclosporin.
- Disturbances in the central nervous system, such as Familial Dysautonomia.
- Aortic Coarctation.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Possible Complications Of High Blood Pressure
Chronic hypertension causes the arteries throughout a patient’s body to become damaged and can lead to additional complications that may yield fatal consequences, especially when left untreated. One study noted that there is a significant increase in the risk for coronary artery disease and stroke among people who have elevated or high blood pressure. The study also noted that developing this condition at a younger age seems to hold an opportunity for higher risks.
High blood pressure over an extended period can lead to potentially dangerous complications. This can cause damage to organs, leading to microalbuminuria, cognitive dysfunction, and left-ventricular hypertrophy, as noted by one study. Additionally, the risk of renal failure, dementia and suffering a heart attack also dramatically increases in the population with elevated blood pressure levels.
Lowering Blood Pressure Quickly
Regular blood pressure check ups are advised for both young and old. Recognizing the presence of hypertension early can help a patient treat the problem more effectively, bring their blood pressure levels into a healthier range, and avoid damage to their organs and fatal complications. There are a number of options that can be used to lower blood pressure. While certain medications do possess the ability to yield positive results in hypertension patients, natural remedies are also effective in some cases.
One of the most important lifestyle changes to adapt when hypertension affects a patient is increased physical activity. Exercise is reported to be an exceptionally useful method for controlling blood pressure levels and for reducing blood pressure in patients diagnosed with hypertension. Additionally, patients who regularly participate in physical activities are also at a lower risk of developing complications due to high blood pressure.
There are a number of herbal extracts that have also been recognized as holding potentially medicinal properties that can yield positive results for patients with hypertension. One study explains that some of the medicinal herbs with the potential to lower blood pressure levels include:
- Allium Sativum (Garlic)
- Agathosma Betulina (Buchu)
- Apium Graveolens (Celery)
- Annona Muricata (Prickly Custard Apple)
- Avena Sativa (Green Oat)
- Aristolochia Manshuriensis (Guan Mu Tong)
- Artocarpus Altilis (Breadfruit)
- Castanospermum Australe (Black Bean)
- Crataegus Pinnatifida (Chinese Hawthorn)
- Daucus Carota (Carrot)
- Glycine Max (Soybean)
- Lavandula Stoechas (French Lavender)
- Linum Usitatissimum (Flaxseed)
In addition to these options, other lifestyle changes and diet adjustments may also be useful in lowering blood pressure. Losing weight can have a significant positive impact on patients that have been diagnosed with hypertension. Even small reductions in body weight among obese individuals with hypertension can yield life-saving benefits. Patients are also advised to lower their daily intake of sodium. The patient should also focus on obtaining more calcium, potassium and other minerals that are useful in balancing blood pressure levels. Fiber, fruits and a lot of vegetables should also be an essential part of the patient’s daily diet.
Elevated blood pressure levels can cause dangerous and even potentially fatal complications. Since significant symptoms are not present during early stages of the condition, frequent monitoring of blood pressure can help a person identify the condition and take appropriate measures. In this post, we provided a complete overview of high blood pressure symptoms, causes, and complications, as well as providing a look at some helpful tips to help you lower blood pressure quickly.