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Understanding Hypertension

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It isn’t easy to detect elevated blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension. In most cases you won’t notice it. However, if you’re one of 78 million Americans suffering from hypertension or part of 70 million suffering from high blood pressure or (higher-than-healthy blood pressure) it’s essential to know the impact of hypertension on your health, and to start taking action now to bring your blood pressure to more healthy levels.

Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by blood against the wall of the arteries. It fluctuates throughout the day. It falls during sleep or when you’re at ease increasing naturally in the morning and increasing in the short-term when stressed, anxious or working out. However, if your resting blood pressure levels are excessively, it may be a cause of damage, stiffening, or weakening blood vessels. This can increase your chance of suffering heart attacks, and quadruple the chance of having stroke; increase your risk of suffering from heart failure , loss of vision and kidney issues or dementia, as well as circulatory problems such as peripheral artery diseases (which causes discomfort in your legs) as well as weakening your bones ; and cause the erectile dysfunction of men.

Risk Factors and Causes

There is a chance that you are at risk of hypertension if you smoke or are overweight, consume food that is low in fiber and produce, or excessively salty and saturated with fat and drink excessively or live with stress or do not engage in a lot of exercise. Some causes of hypertension cannot be controlled–including your genes and your race (African-Americans are at a higher risk). The aging process also plays a factor. Even if you don’t have hypertension at the age of 55-65 the risk of getting it is 90 percent.

“But doctors do not believe that hypertension is unavoidable or inaccessible as we the advancing years,” says Samuel Durso, M.D., director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins.

In a Johns Hopkins study of 975 men and women who had hypertension, lifestyle changes that were healthy have helped 40% of the participants stop taking blood pressure medicines. Research has also shown how lifestyle adjustments can decrease the risk of hypertension among African-Americans as well as other groups with an increased risk genetically.


An active lifestyle is an effective shield against hypertension and its negative consequences. These measures can decrease the risk of developing it, and also reduce your blood pressure in the event that you have hypertension or prehypertension.

You can lose a few pounds. Extra weight, and especially belly fat, which is stored in your abdomen, can increase blood pressure through increasing blood volume and altering the balance of hormones controlling pressure. “Even tiny weight loss can be a huge difference,” Durso notes, in reference to research which shows that the loss of only 7.7 pounds can reduce your risk of developing elevated blood pressure by 50%% or more.

Reduce your intake of alcohol. “Moderating alcohol consumption is crucial,” Durso says. “If you’re a man who drinks at least two drink in a day or a female who drinks at least one drink per day, you should cut down.” Although a bit of alcohol can relax the arteries, drinking too much appears to create a negative effect.

Increase your activity. Exercise and other types of physical exercise can help maintain flexibility in arteries and can also lower the activity of the sympathetic nervous system , which can enlarge blood vessels and raise blood pressure. If you have already been diagnosed with hypertension, exercising regularly can reduce your blood pressure by between 8 and 10 points, as per the American Heart Association.

Maintain a healthy blood pressure. Calcium, magnesium as well as potassium (found in fat-free and low-fat dairy products such as yogurt and milk and also in dried beans and in the produce) aid in regulating your body’s blood pressure. A lack of them can cause a rise in the blood pressure. The same is true for high amounts of sodium found in many processed foods–by causing your body to retain water (which increases your blood flow) and also tightening the blood vessels that are small. Fats saturated (found in cheese, meat butter, dairy products with full fat and a variety of processed food items) could also cause an increase in blood pressure.

Stop smoking cigarettes. Smoking can damage arteries and increase the risk of suffering from heart disease. When you’re smoking cigarettes smoking, the chemical compounds in tobacco products can raise blood pressure, too.

Reduce tension. It’s not known if mindfulness-based therapies can have a long-lasting effect on blood pressure , or lower the risk of developing it, but it’s known that your body’s response to stress produces hormones that temporarily increase blood pressure. You’ll be more comfortable and will be able to make healthy lifestyle changes by regularly practicing an approach to stress reduction, like breathing exercises, gradual relaxation, and exercises for fitness. One method, meditation has been proven to decrease the risk of strokes and heart attacks among those with elevated blood pressure.

Diagnostics and Treatment

In order to bring your blood pressure to a normal degree, your doctor is likely to recommend lifestyle changes, medication , or both. “The choice to start blood pressure medication — and the amount and type prescribed by your physician will be based on the degree of your high blood pressure” Durso explains. “If you suffer from prehypertension or the blood pressure of your slightly elevated, lifestyle changes could be the first step. The loss of 5 or more of body fat, decreasing sodium, and modifying your diet, and working out regularly is usually the result of the reduction of your blood pressure. In the event that your blood pressure remains elevated however, your doctor may suggest these changes, along with blood pressure medication.”

There are six major kinds of blood pressure medication:

Diuretics aid in helping the body to eliminate excess sodium and water.
Beta blockers lower the heart rate and the output of blood, which help hypertension reduction.
Vasodilators, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and calcium-channel blockers all work by relaxing constricted blood vessels.

“Your doctor will determine the right medications your needs,” Durso says. “Often doctors will prescribe multiple medications to manage blood pressure. There are medication that works on many different mechanisms to reduce your blood pressure. Also, your physician may be able to recommend lower doses of medications and lower the risk for adverse reactions, through the combination of two or three medication.”

Two essential things you should be aware of about your treatment

Your doctor might raise your dosage slowly. “It could take anywhere from a period of between a month and six weeks in order to reduce your blood pressure by gradually increasing the dosage of your medication,” Durso notes. “Lowering the blood pressure to fast could cause dizziness and increase the chance of falling.”

Report side effects. “Don’t stop taking medications by yourself,” warns Durso. “Call or schedule an appointment to inform your doctor about any adverse reactions that you may be experiencing. They could be able make adjustments or change the medication you are taking.” The side effects could include fatigue as well as cold feet or hands depression, impotence sleep issues or heartbeat irregularities, as well as dry cough.

Living with

The majority of people with high blood pressure experience no signs. It can be difficult to stay on the right track with your healthier lifestyle choices and medications difficult, as you may not notice the impact. These steps will assist you in maintaining the blood pressure you experience on a daily basis:

Make use of a reminder system for your medication. An everyday pill dispenser or digital pill containers that ring when it’s time to take you to take your next pill, or a note in your refrigerator–use whatever reminding system is most effective for you. Around one-third of people suffering from hypertension do not follow the prescriptions for their medication and this could increase your risk of stroke, heart disease and other health issues.

Monitor at home. “You can be the single most significant part of the blood pressure control team. A blood pressure monitor at home can help you determine the extent to which your medication and lifestyle modifications are helping. It will help you keep track of your blood pressure,” Durso says. “You can buy cheap monitors at pharmacies.”

Visit your doctor according to the recommendations. “Your doctor may wish to visit you at least every three or four months during the first few years following your diagnosisto make certain that your medication and lifestyle adjustments are effective and to adjust your lifestyle,” Durso says. “For people whose blood pressure is controlled and is monitored in their home environment, having a visit every six months is enough. In the event that your blood pressure falls within the normal range and you don’t require medication, you may only require a recheck once each two years.”

Be aware of highs and lows. Some blood pressure medications may lower your blood pressure to a great extent. If you are experiencing symptoms of low blood pressure – dizziness or blurred vision, fainting, nausea, etc., you should consult your doctor. However when you notice that your Systolic (top) number is 180 or higher , or if the diastolic (bottom) number is 110 or more, seek immediately medical attention.


Johns Hopkins experts continue their research into understanding and treating high blood pressure through methods that lead to healthier health in the present. The research that you can access includes the following results:

Link established between taking blood pressure medication and a lower risk of developing dementia. In a study conducted in 2013 of 3,000 elderly people released in Neurology, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that people who took diuretics ARBs or ACE inhibitors were 50 percent less at chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease .

A rigorous treatment can lower blood pressure among African-American males. Urban African-Americans are at the highest risk of developing untreated hypertension, which can have fatal consequences. In a five-year study of men from Africa who were between 21 and 55, Johns Hopkins researchers found that taking medication, regular medical visits at home and appointment at the clinic decreased blood pressure of the participants significantly.
For Caregivers

If you’re the partner or caregiver for someone who suffers from high blood pressure This article will show you how to assist.

Find out how you can help in the administration of medications. You can offer “time to take medication” reminders, and assist your loved one to take prescribed medication when it is they are required.

Encourage healthy endeavors. A positive attitude can encourage your loved one to keep it up. But trying to regulate behaviour can be counterproductive. If you notice that your loved ones aren’t making the right changes, ask them how you can assist.

Make a commitment to being healthier Together. Couples who take on losing weight and exercising together could be more likely to keep up their goals. The process of transforming your habits together can be uplifting and can lead to a friendly competition. It’s comfortable, since you both consume the same food and follow the same routine for exercise.


(veh-suls): Blood vessels (veh-suls) is the system of flexible tubes –arteries capillaries, veins, and capillaries that transport blood throughout the body. Oxygen and nutrients are transported through arteries to tiny, thin-walled capillaries, which feed cells and take up waste materials, including carbon dioxide. Capillaries transfer waste material to veins, which transport your blood to lungs and the heart and lungs, where carbon dioxide is released by breathing as you exhale.

Dementia (di-men-sha) is a loss of brain function which can be caused by a range of diseases that affect the brain. Its symptoms include forgetfulness, poor thinking and judgement and personality changes, as well as anxiety and loss of emotional control. Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s Disease and insufficient cerebral blood circulation could cause dementia in a variety of ways. The majority of forms of dementia are irreversible.

Diastolic (die-uh-stah-lick) blood pressure: The second or lowest, number in the reading of blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure measures strength of blood flow in the arteries during times when the heart is in a relaxed state between heart beats. A normal reading is lower than 80 millimeters Hg. A higher reading could indicate that you suffer from hypertension or may be at risk of developing it.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body requires, this is because it is not fully filled or pump enough force. High blood pressure, diabetes heart disease, diabetes, and valve issues can lead to heart failure. A heart failure does not necessarily indicate that the heart is going to stop. The use of medications and lifestyle modifications can help ease symptoms.

Peripheral arterial disease (puh-rif-er-uhl ahr-tahree dih-zeez) is a build-up of cholesterol and fat known as plaques in the arteries of your arms, legs and head, or in internal organs. The blood flow is reduced which causes the sensation of numbness, pain and intense, aching feeling when going up or down the stairs. Peripheral arterial disease may increase the chance of slow-healing diseases, too. The treatment options include stopping smoking, and managing cholesterol, blood pressure as well as blood sugar.

Saturated fat is a type of fat that is abundantly found in butter full milks, frozen ice-cream full-fat cheese, fat poultry skin, meats, and coconut and palm oils. Saturated fat increases blood levels of the heart-threatening LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. It also affects the body’s ability to easily absorb blood sugar. The reduction of saturated fats can reduce the risk of getting heart disease.

Sympathetic nervous system: This is the part of the nervous system which triggers”fight or flight,” also known as the “fight or flee” response , and helps you prepare for an emergency or stress. It’s responsible for preparing your body to take action by raising the blood pressure, heart rate, and alertness. The parasympathetic nervous system of the body is the reverse. It reduces breathing and heart rate, creating feelings of relaxation.

Systolic (sis-tall-ick) blood pressure: The highest, or the first number on the reading of blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure measures the amount of blood pressure in the arteries when a heartbeat occurs. Most people have the ideal systolic blood-pressure reading is less than 120 millimeters Hg. A rise in systolic blood pressure could be a sign that arteries are getting stiff or there is a accumulation of plaque.