High blood pressure or hypertension is a rise in blood pressure numbers, as we all know.
So the first thing is to find out if you have high blood pressure, and do not depend on symptoms.
I wouldn't know without going to the doctor or using a blood pressure monitor.
There are several unexpected ways for high blood pressure to rise or the numbers to go up. By checking often, you can know if you are in a healthy blood pressure range.
Regular Blood Pressure Check
Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
If you do not have hypertension, take steps early for its prevention.
If you are an expectant mother you would not wish to face complications during pregnancy.
When allowed to persist, higher blood pressure can lead into a cascade of other health-related issues.
The heart and arteries play an important role in the body with regard to high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure And Your Heart
Do you know how powerful your heart is? It is powerful enough to send blood to every corner of your body ... and back again. The pressure exerted by the heart is highest in the aorta - the main artery carrying blood out from the heart to the body.
As it branches out into thinner blood vessels (the arteries, arterioles and capillaries), the blood is diffused - and so the pressure is reduced.
You can think of it like having a hose pipe in "sprinkle" mode, watering the garden - here the garden represents the human body, which needs to be continuously nourished with blood.
Even with this lowering of pressure through diffusion ("sprinkling"), our powerful hearts push the blood to circulate and "return home" again. Then another cycle begins!
The walls of blood vessels may become thick as we grow older. Thicker walls create more resistance to the blood flowing in the circulatory system. We've all sipped fruit juice through a straw, but what if our drink is a "thickshake" ? The resistance we feel through the straw is similar to what happens in thickened blood vessels.
The renal salt/water balance (controlled by the kidneys) is the key to regulating blood volume in circulation. We can think of our blood as if it were a soup being cooked ! A soup grows thicker as we add salt and other solid ingredients - the same applies for our blood. In this illustration, we can imagine the kidney as acting like a cook, deciding what is best to be included in the mix.
Obesity and excess weight exert pressure on the blood vessels which makes them diametrically thinner than they should be. Imagine an elephant sitting on a hose pipe - it can really hold back the flow of water inside the pipe ! Here the elephant is like the fatty tissue pushing on the blood vessels.
High blood pressure or BP by itself is not an illness or disease. Left untreated, it can lead to serious illness.
High Blood Pressure - Cause
When we are stressed, overweight or are eating unhealthy foods, blood pressure is elevated. When pressure in the arteries is chronically elevated, it results in a condition known as high blood pressure or in medical terms, hypertension. Returning to our elephant, let's imagine Jumbo walking along the full length of our hose pipe, squeezing it as he goes. The water in the hose pipe is forced along, and can't flow as it should.
According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure ought to be below 120/80 (the pressure here is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg for short). Blood pressure is measured using a device known as sphygmomanometer (try saying that in a hurry !) or a blood pressure monitor (that sounds easier !).
The 120 figure represents systolic pressure - this is basically the highest pressure exerted on the walls of arteries when the heart contracts. You can imagine your heart is like a boxer, and here 120 is the biggest punch it can deliver ! Meanwhile, 80 represents diastolic pressure - the lowest pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries when the heart relaxes. Getting back to our boxer, he can deliver a punch rated 80 even in his sleep (we hope no-one is in the way, just the same !)
When your pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89, then you are said to be pre-hypertensive, or bordering on hypertension. If it is above 140/90, then you are certainly suffering from hypertension, and should seek medical advice. In this stressful age, anyone can develop this condition, and we suggest to first get medical guidance and at the same time follow the tips on this site.
High Blood Pressure - Classification
High blood pressure is generally classified as primary/ essential Hypertension.or secondary. In the primary case, the cause of the condition is usually unknown or unspecified.
Most people suffering from high blood pressure are in the primary category. If you are suffering from this type, the chances are that it built up through choices you made. This is because it is very closely associated with your lifestyle. You may need to do some rethinking ...
Meanwhile, diagnosed secondary type is linked to some pre-existing medical conditions. Examples of such conditions are kidney failure, liver damage, heart failure or problems with the hormonal system.
Primary hypertension can be managed by making changes of lifestyle. These changes needn't be painful - they can be lots of fun !
High Blood Pressure - Exercise
How about some increased body exercise, a change of diet and better stress management. These are all fun when done in a positive, constructive way. You might even make some new friends at the health club, which would be a nice bonus !
Are you an expectant mother?
If you are an expectant mother, then you need to check your blood pressure regularly. There is a variation of high blood pressure induced by pregnancy. This is known (in medical terms) as gestational hypertension. Not all expectant women develop it but a small percentage do. It usually develops after the 20th week of the pregnancy. Its cause is also unspecified and it is impossible to prevent it. However, regular visits to your clinic for prenatal care will allow for early management of the condition - preventing future complications.
You can think of high blood pressure like a weed in the garden of your body. Don't let it grow - deal with it early, and the other weeds won't come to join it !