Hypertension is a common symptom that 45% of American adults have. That is why it is important to find out if you have it as fast as you can and try to manage it. Let’s check out what the normal blood pressure range is, what causes hypertension, and what you can do to take care of it.
How to measure your blood pressure
First, you should check if you measured your blood pressure correctly.
Before you should take your blood pressure, there are 4 following things to keep in mind.
- You should rest enough for at least 5 min before the measurement.
- You should not drink coffee, smoke tobacco, or work out for at least 1 hour before the measurement.
- You should not talk while you are checking your blood pressure.
- You should sit right and take your blood pressure to the same level as your heart.
If you follow all 4 of them, you are doing it right. When you check your blood pressure, you can see 2 numbers. One means systolic blood pressure, the other one means diastolic blood pressure.
To evaluate your blood pressure, you can check with the criteria suggested by the American Health Association (AHA).
What is the normal blood pressure for men & women?
What causes hypertension?
There are two main causes that lead to hypertension. We call them essential hypertension and secondary hypertension. Essential hypertension is not caused by diseases but possibly other reasons. Secondary hypertension is caused by illnesses.
Then, what can be the risk for essential hypertension? There are so many risk factors. Genetical reasons, aging, stress, diet, lifestyle, and so on. Single or a combination of those factors can lead to high blood pressure.
Secondary hypertension sometimes progresses quite fast and gets severe. In this case, instead of trying to control your blood pressure directly, you should treat the disease whichever that causes it. It could be from your kidney issue, sleep apnea, heart issue, thyroid issue, endocrine system issue, or etc.
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
Hypertension doesn’t have typical symptoms in general. It can be shown over several years or decades. You just find out when it becomes serious. So, regular checking of your blood pressure is important.
When it gets serious, you can have the following symptoms.
- severe chest pain
- severe headache with blurred vision
- nausea, vomiting, and agitation
- lower consciousness and spasms
Before you have those symptoms, you should take care of your blood pressure.
How do you get diagnosed with hypertension?
It is not likely to get a diagnosis just because you have high blood pressure since there’s a possibility of getting the wrong result. For example, the result could be different only at the hospitals or you didn’t check your blood pressure correctly.
If it is not those cases, you should check if you have any illnesses or disabilities that cause it and figure out if this hypertension is a serious problem. Therefore, they will test your physical condition in many ways. For instance, they will ask for a little bit of your urine and blood to see your cholesterol level. And they’d like to check if you have diabetes as well. They can also want to see your heart rhythms via ECG to confirm if your heart is functioning right.
How to manage hypertension?
For secondary hypertension, you can manage it by getting treatment for the disease that contributes to high blood pressure. For primary hypertension, you are going to take some medicine that lowers your blood pressure. The medicine lowers your blood pressure, yet, you want to adjust your lifestyle or life habits.
Because, if you adjust it well, you wouldn’t have to take a high dose of your medicine and you can even get away from starting medication.
- Weight control: When you gain weight, most likely, your blood pressure increases. And it could cause sleep apnea that would lead to high blood pressure. So, you should keep your weight and your waist size in a healthy range.
- Regular exercising: If you work out more than 150 min a week, you can lower your blood pressure by 5 to 8mmHg. Aerobic activities are recommended. For example, there is walking, jogging, riding a bicycle, and swimming. You can consult with your doctor to find which one is suitable for you.
- Healthy diet: When you have a meal, try to consume less fat and salt. You should try not to drink alcohol or coffee. There’s a diet plan that’s called DASH for people who have hypertension too. You should check it out.
- Continuous observation: You should follow up on how you manage your blood pressure and keep it up. Check your blood pressure and document it.
Medicine for hypertension
You and your doctor decide which medicine can be the best for you according to your physical condition. Sometimes, you need to take more than one kind of medicine to control your blood pressure carefully. They make a final decision through trial and error.
Medications for hypertension are ACE inhibitor, diuretic, Beta-blocker, Antihypertensive drug, Calcium channel blocker, and Vasodilator.