High Blood Pressure
What is High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure is a common condition affecting one in three adults in the United States. High blood pressure is often referred to as hypertension—simply meaning high pressure or tension in the arteries. If pressure is great enough within the walls of the arteries it eventually brings an onset of health issues such as heart disease.
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries and the amount of blood the heart pumps. This means the more blood your heart pumps, the narrower the arteries will become and therefor cause high blood pressure.
Primary hypertension and secondary hypertension are the two types of high blood pressure. For most adults, there is no identifiable cause for high blood pressure and it usually tends to develop gradually over many years. However, those suffering from secondary hypertension usually have pre-existing conditions that cause higher blood pressure levels than primary hypertension:
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Congenital blood vessel defects
- Certain medications
Many people with high blood pressure show no signs or symptoms. Even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels, there are little to no signs.
Typical symptoms do not usually occur until blood pressure reaches a severe or life-threatening stage. Some people may experience these symptoms only if they have early-stage high blood pressure:
- Dull headaches
- Dizzy spells
- Nose bleeds
Uncontrolled high blood pressure could lead to possible health issues such as heart attack or stroke. Fortunately, high blood pressure is easily detected and once discovered it can be easily controlled. Your doctor can work with you on how to control your high blood pressure to prevent further risks.
General lifestyle changes can reduce your health issues directly related to high blood pressure. Making sure to eat healthier, consume less salt and exercise can help improve your conditions. However, a good diet and exercise are sometimes not enough to help lower high blood pressure levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication that will lower your blood pressure depending on your stage of hypertension. Medications can range from beta blockers, calcium channel blockers or alpha blockers to an additional aspirin to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is imperative for those diagnosed with high blood pressure to stay on top of daily medications. Weight loss surgery can help those who struggle with their weight to develop and maintain healthy blood pressure levels.