Hypertension, or, high blood pressure, is a silent killer that’s quite common in the U.S. This disease requires a physician’s diagnoses, and can be lifelong or temporary. One of the key components of high blood pressure is that it often does not have any symptoms, until it reaches later stages. Hypertension most commonly affects people aged 40 and up.
While it sounds harmless, high blood pressure works by causing the heart to have to pump harder to get blood to your body. This causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. Blood pressure is considered high if it reads 140/90. A reading of 180/120 or more is considered severe and often requires hospitalization and immediate intervention.
While hypertension typically lacks symptoms, when the body is in a severe state it typically exhibits symptoms like headache, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and shortness of breath.
The key to getting your blood pressure under control is lifestyle modification. It’s important to make sure you’re at a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about what number you should aim for on the scale. If losing weight is an intimidating idea, try losing 10 percent of your body weight. Studies have shown that losing just 10 percent of your weight can have an incredible impact on your blood pressure.
Another form of lifestyle intervention is exercise. Before starting a program talk to your physician to determine what you should be doing. Walking is perhaps the most effective form of exercise and easy to start on. It simply requires a pair of shoes and a sidewalk! If you aren’t ready to start an exercise program try parking your car further in the parking lot or taking the stairs. Exercise works by increasing your good cholesterol production (LDL) and decreasing production of bad cholesterol (HDL).
The final lifestyle component is diet. The most important thing to do is get plenty of water. This helps flush your body of salt and reduce bloat and water retention. It’s also advisable to eliminate or drastically cut your salt intake. This is something that’s best done overtime, as it can take a while to get used to cooking without salt.
There are several medications available to treat high blood pressure. Your doctor will help find the right one for you. This process can take time, so it’s important to remain patient as you go through the trial and error.
Water pills like Lasix help your body decrease blood volume by increasing sodium excretion through urination. Beta-blockers like Coreg reduce heart rate and the force of heart beating by blocking the action of adrenaline receptors. These are commonly prescribed for those who have had a heart attack or stroke. Another common option are vasodilators. These work by dilating your vessels, thus allows the blood to flow more easily and decrease how hard your heart has to pump.
If you’re in need of hypertension treatment, schedule and appointment with your physician today. They can help determine what treatment options will work best for you.