Disease/Condition Specific

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

High Blood Pressure/ Hypertension
Aka, the “silent killer”  in other terms is known as high blood pressure.  The reason for this is a good portion of people do not know they have high blood pressure, because they do not feel any different.

Hypertension may not be considered a disease, it is more of a condition.  It affects millions of people!  Unfortunately this condition does not discriminate, high blood pressure includes children and teens.   But left untreated can lead to many negative health outcomes!

There are many types of high blood pressure, this piece is related to blood pressure that may be discovered at your primary care office, local drug/grocery store where a specific cause to the high blood pressure has not been determined, “Primary Hypertension”.     ******** If you do get a high reading at the drug/grocery store, call your primary care doctor.  I have heard not all of the public stations that measure blood pressure may not be calibrated frequently (confirmation that the machine is accurately measuring).

A blood pressure reading is classified based on two numbers: A “top” number (systolic) over a lower number (diastolic).  These numbers are to represent the pressure within the arteries (top number)/ the pressure within the heart at rest (in between beats)-bottom number.

These parameters do change with age.

This is why……………………….

Hypertension can be described as;

A condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.  It is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body.  High blood pressure can contributes to hardening of the arteries (means they do not stretch out if they need to), or atherosclerosis, to stroke, kidney disease, and to heart failure.

Some of the risk factors include race, obesity/overweight, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, eating too much salt, stress, genetics, chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea.

Family history of high blood pressure- you have a higher risk of high blood pressure if your mother has high blood pressure

The heart pumps blood everywhere in the body.  Some of the blood vessels in the body are very small.  Some are so small only 1 red blood cell can get through at a time.  These small vessels have a lower pressure so oxygen and nutrients can be “dropped” off,  carbon dioxide and waste products are “picked up” so the body can dispose of them.  This process requires the pressure in the vessel to be low so this process can occur through a very thin membrane.  If the pressure is too high in the vessel this process cannot happen.   So organs & tissues in the body are not getting the things they need to function properly.  High blood pressure can also overwork the heart muscle causing it to enlarge/sometimes stretch out and it will not work not as well.  You have to remember if the pressure is high, it is high inside of the heart also.

The diagnosis of high blood pressure is based off of a blood pressure reading.   It is generally based off of more than one blood pressure.  And as we learn more about high blood pressure  and its negative health effects, the blood pressure parameters of high blood pressure continue to be lowered.  

A normal blood pressure is considered to be: 120/80 mm Hg.

Now the standard of an elevated or “high blood pressure” are : 120-129/below 80 mm Hg.

Stage 1 High blood pressure is now considered: 130-139 mm Hg/ 80 – 89 mm Hg
As stated above, a good portion of people do not know they have high blood pressure. But, some people do experience symptoms of high blood pressure.  Showing the need for regular check ups with your physician or practitioner!

******Untreated hypertension can lead to serious diseases, including stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and eye problems.
Treatment of high blood pressure can include, some making dietary changes to facilitate better blood pressure readings.  Others will just require exercise and or weight loss. Treatment of the underlying condition that is causing the high blood pressure can produce more acceptable readings- this can include quitting smoking and or drinking. Some persons blood pressure will not change with any of the above, medications may be offered as an assistive device to help the body maintain acceptable pressures.  

The important thing is to listen to your doctor or practitioner recommendations!

*****************This piece is intended to be educational and NOT Medical Advice!!  Contact your physician or practitioner with questions or concerns**************

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