What is High Blood Pressure? (Hypertension)

High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension.

It is a condition in which the force of the blood against your artery walls is too high.

The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood through your body.

Over time, this extra work can damage your arteries and cause heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

That’s why it’s important to keep your blood pressure under control.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Some people with high blood pressure don’t have any symptoms or warning signs.

Others may experience headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath.

However, measuring your blood pressure is the only way to know if you have high blood pressure.

This is why hypertension is frequently referred to as the “silent killer.”

You should talk to your doctor about how you can control your blood pressure and lower your risk for heart disease.

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured with an instrument called a sphygmomanometer.

This device has an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your arm.

The cuff is then inflated with air until it completely blocks the flow of blood in your artery.

Your doctor will then release the pressure in the cuff a little at a time until you can feel a pulse.

The reading on the sphygmomanometer is your systolic blood pressure.

This is the pressure of the blood as it is pumped out of your heart.

The reading on the sphygmomanometer when you can no longer feel a pulse is your diastolic blood pressure.

This is the pressure of the blood as it relaxes between heartbeats.

What is normal blood pressure?

The American Heart Association (AHA) defines normal blood pressure as a systolic pressure below 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure below 80 mm Hg.

However, many doctors define normal blood pressure as a systolic pressure below 140 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure below 90 mm Hg.

You should talk to your doctor about what is normal for you.

What is considered high blood pressure?

Cleveland Clinic experts define high blood pressure as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher.

Put it another way:

If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure.

However, it is important to remember that high blood pressure is not a static condition.

It can vary from day to day and even hour to hour.

That’s why it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

Why high blood pressure in the morning?

When you first wake up in the morning, your blood pressure is usually at its highest.

This is because your body’s normal circadian rhythm (the daily cycle of biological activities) causes your blood pressure to rise as you get up and move around.

Also, in the morning, your body releases a hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol increases your blood pressure by stimulating the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline.

These hormones increase the force of your heart contractions and narrow the arteries in your body.

That’s why your doctor may ask you to measure your blood pressure first thing in the morning.

What causes high blood pressure?

There are many possible causes of high blood pressure, including:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Too much salt in your diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Age (the risk increases as you get older)
  • Genetics
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress

How is high blood pressure diagnosed?

High blood pressure is typically diagnosed through a blood pressure test.

This involves measuring your systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Your doctor may also order other tests to help determine the cause of your high blood pressure.

How is high blood pressure treated?

High blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and medications.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to make these changes and take your medications as prescribed.

Medications used to treat high blood pressure include:

  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Vasodilators

Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.

What types of problems can occur due to high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can lead to a number of health problems, including:

  • Vision problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke

What can I do to prevent high blood pressure?

There are many things you can do to lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, including:

  1. Eating a healthy diet
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight
  4. Get enough sleep

If you smoke or drink too much alcohol, quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.

Also important to limit the amount of salt in your diet and avoid eating processed foods.

Take medications as prescribed, monitor your blood pressure, and see your doctor regularly.

Living With Hypertension: What to Expect

When you’re first diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor will likely put you on a drug regimen to get your blood pressure under control.

You’ll need to take medication every day and have regular checkups to make sure your blood pressure is within the normal range.

In most cases, lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and weight loss can also help control hypertension.

You’ll need to make these changes and stick with them for the rest of your life.

It’s important to keep in mind that high blood pressure is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time, and you may have to take medication for the rest of your life.

There is no cure for hypertension, but it can be controlled.

Living with hypertension can be a challenge, but it’s important to stay positive and take care of yourself.

Keep track of your blood pressure and see your doctor regularly.

Remember, you’re not alone.

There are plenty of people who are living with hypertension and managing it successfully.

Learn more: 10 Effective Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Questions to ask your doctor about high blood pressure

If you are concerned about your blood pressure, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • What can I do to lower my risk of high blood pressure?
  • How often do I need to have my blood pressure checked?
  • What can I do to prevent high blood pressure from developing?
  • What are the possible side effects of my medications?
  • Are there any foods or activities I should avoid?

Also read: The top 6 habits that can damage your heart