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High blood pressure and its treatment

We are often unaware of high blood pressure a person may possibly have, that is mostly due to sometimes low profile symptoms and rare blood pressure checks. If the blood pressure is constantly high, an arterial hypertension could develop, that is a decease where the blood flow to the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart is disrupted. That damages the heart and its functionality and could develop further into a cerebrovascular or coronary heart disease.



What health issues occurs when blood pressure rises?


When the blood pressure rises, a person could feel a headache and dizziness, sometimes light pain in the heart area, palpitations. Sudden increase in blood pressure may cause shortness of breath, tremor, numbness and visual impairment.

When the blood pressure rises slowly during several years, a person may not feel any symptoms at all, as the blood vessels are able to adapt to it. However, when the pressure rises suddenly, albeit slightly, a person could likely feel the above symptoms immediately.

Patients often asks what and why should they treat if there are no health complaints? We want to point out that the damage to the body from high blood pressure depends on the degree and duration of the rise in pressure. So even if you don’t feel anything, it’s important to diagnose on time and start treatment. Delays could cause  complications such as stroke, myocardial infarction, renal and heart failures.



What blood pressure is normal?


Normal arterial blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg, 130/90 mmHg is the upper limit of normal. It is recommended that everyone should know and regularly check their blood pressure. A blood pressure monitor, like a thermometer, should be in every household. It is the simplest and most accessible tool to constantly monitor your blood pressure. If we were to do blood pressure checks on a regular basis any changes to it could be noticed quickly and many diseases could be identified at early stages, treated and controlled more efficiently.



How to measure blood pressure correctly?


You should get the most accurate data when you measure blood pressure at home and do it regularly. Always measure and take readings when relaxed. If necessary, rest for at least 10 minutes before a measurement. It is sometimes helpful to measure blood pressure on both hands. If you show such long term recorded data to your GP, it will be easier to get an accurate picture of the changes in your blood pressure.



Why does blood pressure changes?


There are several potential causes of blood pressure changes – stress, sedentary work, smoking, being overweight, increased intakes of salt, genetic predisposition, chronic diseases (diabetes, kidney, thyroid). In women, blood pressure may also be disturbed during the menopausal period due to hormonal changes in the body. Blood pressure changes are equally prevalent among both men and women.

Today more younger generation people are diagnosed with high blood pressure. Researches often reveals that consuming ‘energy drinks’ while feeling energy deficient is one of the causes. Frequent use of energy drinks is a sort of ‘cheating’ with the body without taking in to an account the natural need for rest. The levels of taurine and caffeine contained in these drinks are several times higher the permissible daily intake. High levels of these substances increasing the contractile force of the heart muscle and the frequency of the heart rhythm, which is already on a high side when a body is tired. That is when blood pressure is starting to rise.

Please note that consuming energy drinks during sporting activities or in conjunction with alcohol will present a particularly high risk to your heart system. That highly increases risks of heart rhythm problems and even the risk of sudden death.



How is hypertension caused by persistent high blood pressure treated?


Although primary arterial hypertension is an incurable illness, it is very important to start regulating blood pressure before the complications of the disease develops.

If you have already been diagnosed with arterial hypertension it is treated with antihypertensive medicines. These are divided into several groups. Your doctor will decide which medication to prescribe based on the patient’s medical history and tests’ results: electrocardiograms, cardiac ultrasound, thyroid and kidney function tests. If after a week of treatment the blood pressure returns to normal, it can be said that the treatment has been chosen appropriately.

Often patients are worried of the side effects of antihypertensive medication, worried that they may develop a medicine’s dependency. However, there is nothing to worry about – antihypertensive medicine only work for a short time, up to 24 hours and doesn’t develop a dependency. The medication should be taken regularly, if you forget to take your regular dose, the pressure may rise again. The dosage of the medicine can only be changed after consulting your doctor.

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, it is not the medication that are most harmful to the body, but persistent high blood pressure.

Just remember – to treat high blood pressure is cheaper, easier and more efficient than the diseases it could cause.



How to avoid hypertension?


The answer is quite simple – take care of yourself. You can start with little things: periodically measure your blood pressure, keep it within normal limits, reduce the amount of salt in your food because it traps fluids in your body (fluid retention is one of the causes of high blood pressure), adjust your diet, give up fatty foods, have enough sleep. Avoid to spend prolonged periods of time watching the TV or in front of a computer’s monitor. Take a walk in the fresh air, exercise. A healthy lifestyle is the key to an illnesses-free life.



Stay safe !

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