According to the American Heart Association, about 103 million people in the United States have hypertension (high blood pressure). In other words, nearly half of all adults in the US have this problem. Despite the wide prevalence of high blood pressure, there’s a lot we don’t fully understand. To find out how to prevent or manage hypertension, properly scroll down to learn more about this problem.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is described as the force of the blood pushing against walls of blood vessels. High blood pressure is a common condition wherein the pressure in the arteries is higher than it should be. Hypertension develops over many years, and it affects almost all of us at some point. When left untreated high blood pressure can cause various complications such as heart disease.
What is normal and high blood pressure?
The blood pressure reading is indicated by two numbers: the top number (systolic) and the lower number (diastolic). Normal blood pressure is where systolic is less than 120 and diastolic less than 80, according to the American Heart Association. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The table below will give you a clearer insight into normal and high ranges of blood pressure.
|Normal||< 120||< 80|
|Elevated||120 – 129||< 80|
|Stage 1 Hypertension||130 – 139||80 – 89|
|Stage 2 Hypertension||140 or Higher||90 or Higher|
|Hypertensive Crisis||> 180||> 120|
- Primary hypertension has no identifiable cause, develops gradually over the year.
- Secondary hypertension caused by an underlying condition. Some health problems that can lead to secondary hypertension include those affecting thyroid and kidneys. Obstructive sleep apnea, adrenal gland tumors, congenital defects with blood vessels, and some medications can cause secondary hypertension.
Who is at risk of hypertension?
- Older age
- Race (condition is more common in people of African heritage)
- Family history of hypertension
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Consuming too much salt
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Most people with hypertension experience no symptoms. However, people in a hypertensive crisis may experience the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heart palpitations
- Blurred or double vision
Is high blood pressure curable?
Secondary hypertension can be curable when the underlying condition is treated properly. On the other hand, primary hypertension cannot be cured. Due to the fact, there is no underlying cause; in this case, there is nothing to be fixed to resolve it. However, medications and lifestyle adjustments help patients keep hypertension under control.
How is high blood pressure treated?
Treatment of hypertension depends on various factors, including the type of high blood pressure, the severity of the condition, and even on a patient’s lifestyle. Elevated blood pressure usually requires no treatment, but lifestyle changes may be necessary to prevent further complications.
Primary hypertension also requires lifestyle modifications. If they don’t work, the doctor may prescribe some medications. In patients with secondary hypertension, the treatment is focused on the underlying condition.
Medications prescribed for patients with hypertension include:
- Beta-blockers to slow heartbeat with less force
- Diuretics to remove excess sodium in the body
- ACE inhibitors to relax blood vessels
- Calcium channel blockers to block some calcium from entering cardiac muscle and lower blood pressure
- Alpha-2 agonists to change the nerve impulses that cause blood vessels to tighten
Can exercise/diet cure high blood pressure?
Exercise and a healthy diet can help lower blood pressure and allow us to manage our condition more effectively. The best thing to do is to consult a doctor about the exact routine or diet plan. Generally speaking, people should strive to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. A good way to exercise is jogging or try brisk walking. It’s also useful to try interval training i.e., altering short bursts of intense activity followed by lighter periods.
When it comes to diet, you may want to focus on the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat foods. Try to limit the salt intake to less than 2300mg. Avoid consuming junk food and sugar-laden foods or items with trans fats as they could increase your weight and boost blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty acids and high blood pressure
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids our body needs to function properly. These healthy fats have a number of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects, the ability to improve brain health and heart health. Evidence shows that Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower blood pressure by activating vascular calcium-activated potassium channels. As a result, blood vessels can relax, which improves blood flow and reduces the pressure that was on the artery walls. Taking up to 3g of fish oil a day is considered safe. Follow dosage instructions recommended by the manufacturer or consult a doctor about the dose you should take. Avoid taking Omega-3 if you have diabetes, blood disorders, or if you’re allergic to fish or nuts unless your doctor says it’s okay.
Lisinopril and high blood pressure
Lisinopril is a prescription medication used alone or in combination with other drugs to treat hypertension. The medication, sold as Prinivil and Zestril, works by blocking a substance in the body that causes blood vessels to tighten. Therefore, the main function of Lisinopril is to relax blood vessels to increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while lowering blood pressure. Doctors also prescribe this medication to treat heart failure.
Generally speaking, the dosage varies from one patient to another. Doctors usually start with 10mg once a day and then increase the dose if needed. In most cases, the dosage doesn’t exceed 40mg a day. Taking more than 80mg a day is usually considered too much. You shouldn’t take this drug if you’re pregnant or allergic unless your doctor approves. You should also inform your doctor about other medications you’re taking before you start taking Lisinopril. Patients should tell their doctor if they have or have ever had heart or kidney disease, lupus, scleroderma, and angioedema.
Natural alternatives to Lisinopril include coenzyme Q10, increased potassium and magnesium intake, Omega-3 fatty acids, l-citrulline.
High blood pressure affects millions of people, and it can either develop gradually or occur due to an underlying illness. Treatment depends on the type of hypertension. People with high blood pressure can have a healthy and happy life when they manage their condition proactively.