High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious medical condition that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening complications. It’s important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure so you can seek treatment if necessary. This post will outline the most common symptoms of high blood pressure as well as some ways to prevent and treat the condition.
What is the Meaning of Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the arteries. Blood is transported from your heart to different regions of your body through arteries. Throughout the day, your blood pressure typically increases and decreases.
Over time, persistent high blood pressure can harm the walls of blood vessels and arteries. If left untreated, this might result in harmful complications and even death.
How is Blood Pressure Measured?
There are two types of measurement of blood pressure and both readings are in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
Systolic blood pressure
Is the first number that measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
Diastolic blood pressure
The second number measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats.
You would say ‘120 over 80’ or write ‘120/80 mmHg’ if the measurement was 120 systolic and 80 diastolic.
How Do You Know It’s High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension is diagnosed when the systolic blood pressure readings on two different days are 140 mmHg and/or the diastolic blood pressure readings on both days are 90 mmHg. Quite often, high blood pressure has no symptoms or warning indications, and many people are unaware they have it. The only method to determine whether you have high blood pressure is to measure it.
Hypertension around the world
The biggest risk factor for death worldwide is hypertension. According to the World Health Organisation, high blood pressure was the top cause of death in 2004, accounting for 7.5 million deaths globally (12.8 percent of all deaths).
A lot of factors contribute to it, including advancing age, black African or Caribbean ethnicity, being overweight, and a lack of physical activity. Ninety-five percent of patients have primary hypertension, which has no known cause.
Prevalence of High Blood Pressure in Southport
High blood pressure is a major health problem in Southport and all over Australia. It is estimated that one in four adults has high blood pressure, and it is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. There are many different causes of high blood pressure, but it often occurs as people get older.
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What Happens to the Body During Hypertension?
Tightened arterioles, which are very small arteries, cause high blood pressure. Your body’s arteries control how much blood flows through them. When these arterioles tighten or constrict, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood through it, and pressure increases in the vessel as a result.
Your arteries might become damaged by high blood pressure because it makes them less elastic. Heart disease results from a decrease in the flow of blood and oxygen reaching your heart.
Measurement of Blood Pressure
Your doctor will examine you physically and inquire about your medical history. Your arm will be wrapped in an inflated arm cuff by a doctor, nurse, or other medical assistants, who will also use a pressure-measuring gauge to take your blood pressure. In general, you should take your blood pressure in both arms to see whether there is a difference. It’s crucial to utilise an arm cuff that is the right size. Blood pressure readings can be categorised into several categories:
Normal blood pressure
For most adults, the normal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic.
Elevated Blood pressure
Blood pressure is considered to be elevated when the systolic reading is between 120 and 129 mm Hg and the diastolic reading is between 80 and 79 mm Hg. Elevated blood pressure typically worsens with time if blood pressure control measures are not implemented. Another name for elevated blood pressure is prehypertension.
Stage 1 hypertension
A systolic pressure of 130 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg is considered to be stage 1 hypertension.
Stage 2 hypertension
It is more severe and is defined as a systolic pressure of at least 140 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure of at least 90 mm Hg.
A blood pressure reading of more than 180/120 mm Hg is an emergency and calls for immediate medical attention. If you take your blood pressure at home and get this result, wait five minutes and recheck. Contact your doctor right away if your blood pressure is still this high.
Call 000 or your local Southport emergency medical number if you also have chest discomfort, visual issues, numbness or weakness, breathing issues, or any other signs and symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.
What can cause increased systolic pressure (systolic hypertension)?
- Decreased elasticity of the walls of the arteries
- A hyperactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Heart valve disease
What can cause diastolic hypertension?
- High salt in the diet
- Absence of exercise
- Excessive alcohol intake.
- Anxiety and stress.
- Medications like amphetamines, antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), tablets for oral contraception, decongestants and antipsychotics
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Most cases of high blood pressure (between 90 and 95 percent) are classified as primary or essential hypertension. This means that although a lot of factors are involved, the true cause of high blood pressure remains unknown. The following can lead to this condition:
- Being obese or overweight
- Absence of exercise
- Excessive salt consumption
- Excessive alcoholic beverage use (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
- Old age
- Having high blood pressure in the family
- Long-term kidney disease
- Thyroid and adrenal issues
- Sleep apnea
Usually, high blood pressure comes along gradually. Unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as not engaging in regular physical activity, can also lead to hypertension. Obesity and certain medical problems like diabetes might raise one’s risk of acquiring high blood pressure. Pregnancy can also cause high blood pressure.
Common Hypertension Signs and Symptoms
Some signs and symptoms of hypertension include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to get your blood pressure checked.
Is my high blood pressure responsible for my lack of strength?
Fatigue may be a sign of renal or cardiac damage brought on by high blood pressure. Fatigue may also be brought on by hypertension drugs, lifestyle choices, or concomitant diseases.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for poor circulation, also known as peripheral arterial disease, which causes symptoms such as leg aches and soreness, leg cramps in the calf or thighs during exercising, and limb weakness.
In addition to causing bone loss, or osteoporosis, high blood pressure also increases the amount of calcium your body excretes through urination. Women who have already experienced menopause are more vulnerable. Your bones become more brittle as a result of osteoporosis, making fractures and breaks more likely.
A Silent Killer
Hypertension is called a “silent killer”. Most hypertensive persons are unaware of their condition because there are no warning signs or symptoms. As a result, it is critical that blood pressure be checked on a regular basis. There are four primary ways that high blood pressure can harm your health:
Arteries become harder
The muscles that line the artery walls may swell as a result of pressure inside your arteries, limiting the passage. If a blood clot obstructs the flow of blood to your heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke may result.
The workload on your heart is increased by high blood pressure. Your heart enlarges or grows to accommodate the additional effort, much like any other muscle in your body that has been intensely exercised. Your heart requires more oxygen-rich blood as it becomes bigger, but it also has less control over blood flow. The person then experiences weakness and exhaustion and is unable to engage in physical activity.
If your kidneys’ blood flow is harmed by persistently high blood pressure, this could cause kidney damage. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause the arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken, or harden over time. These clogged arteries are unable to send sufficient blood to the renal tissue. Kidney arteries that have been damaged do not filter blood efficiently.
High blood pressure can make the small capillaries in your retina bleed if you have diabetes. Blindness may result from this retinopathy disorder.
Hypertension in Pregnancy
Also called preeclampsia or toxaemia, is a condition that can occur during pregnancy. It is characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Preeclampsia usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and typically resolves within two weeks after delivery. However, it can occur earlier in pregnancy and can lead to serious complications for both mother and child.
If left untreated, preeclampsia can progress to eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition that manifests by seizure activity. Pregnancy hypertension must be treated right away in order to protect both the mother’s and the unborn child’s health.
Hypertension in pregnancy is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, impaired placental function, and maternal obesity. While the exact cause is unknown, it is believed that preeclampsia is triggered by an imbalance in the amount of vasoconstrictor and vasodilator substances in the blood vessels. This imbalance leads to increased vascular resistance and ultimately hypertension.
Hypertension in Children
High blood pressure can occur in children as well. The main difference between hypertension in children and adults is that the former usually has no identifiable cause while the latter often does. In other words, primary hypertension is more common in adults, while secondary hypertension is more common in children.
Secondary hypertension can be caused by a number of different conditions, including:
- kidney disease
- congenital heart defects
- sleep apnea
- endocrine disorders
However, in most cases of primary and secondary hypertension, the exact identifiable cause is unknown.
Hypertension Treatment and Prevention
Changing the way of life can help an individual control and manage high blood pressure. The doctor may advise the affected person to adopt the following lifestyle changes:
Eating a heart-healthy, low-salt diet
A low-salt diet can help lower blood pressure and protect a person’s heart and health. To eat a low-salt diet, choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables over canned or processed ones, cook with little or no salt, and limit intake of salty foods such as cured meats, cheeses, and condiments. You should also avoid adding salt to your food at the table. By making these simple changes, you can help keep your blood pressure in check and improve your overall health.
Participating in frequent physical activity
Physical activity is one of the best ways to prevent hypertension. Just 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity on most days can help lower your blood pressure. If you’re not sure how to get started, talk to your doctor or certified fitness professional. They can help you create a safe and effective exercise program.
Maintaining or losing weight if you are overweight or obese
Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mmHg. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. You can do this by eating smaller portions, cutting back on sugary and fatty foods, and exercising more. Even small changes can make a big difference!
Limiting your alcohol consumption
Alcohol can raise your blood pressure and make it harder for your heart to pump blood. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Limit your intake to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Why are hypertensive patients advised to drink water?
Water is essential to the body, especially for hypertensive patients. If there is less water intake, dehydration can take place.
Effects of dehydration on blood pressure
The blood’s decreased water content, causes the blood to thicken or become viscous This results in the kidneys releasing renin. In order to make up for the reduced fluid volume, the body responds by retaining salt and water. If this reaction persists, high blood pressure may result and may worsen the existing high blood pressure condition. As a consequence, the blood causes the brain to release the hormone vasopressin. This makes the blood arteries narrow and the body retains sodium.
The brain teaches itself to maintain a blood pressure that is higher than normal in order to keep the organs supplied with blood if these effects persist in the body as a result of ongoing dehydration. Hypertension is the outcome of these alterations over a longer time frame.
Medication for High Blood Pressure
Occasional lifestyle adjustments are insufficient. If diet and exercise are ineffective, your doctor may prescribe blood pressure medication.
Specific medications can be used to treat hypertension. Doctors will often recommend a low dose at first. Most antihypertensive medicines have modest side effects and people with hypertension may eventually need to combine two or more trusted source medications to control their blood pressure. Hypertension medications include:
- Thiazides, chlorthalidone, and diuretics
- Alpha-blockers and beta-blockers
- Calcium channel inhibitors
- Central stimuli
- Peripheral adrenergic blockers
- Inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
The drug used is determined by the individual and any underlying medical conditions they may have. Anyone taking antihypertensive medications should carefully check the labelling of any over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, such as decongestants. These OTC medications may interact with the blood pressure medication they are taking.
To sum up, if you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone. Nonetheless, always keep in mind that hypertension can result in heart disease and other life-threatening conditions. There are many things you can do to control your blood pressure and keep it within healthy ranges.
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