Hypertension is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States. It occurs when the blood vessels in the body become enlarged or too thick with fat deposits and cholesterol. High blood pressure can cause and create many medical complications of high blood pressure, such as diabetic eye disease and heart disease. Most individuals with diabetes acquire high blood pressure at some point during their lifetime. Having diabetes makes high blood pressure much more likely since diabetes damages arteries and makes them more vulnerable targets for plaque hardening (arteriosclerosis).
Hypertension is very serious but thankfully controllable in most cases. It occurs in a large percentage of hypertensive patients, and in some extreme cases it can even cause death. If you are a hypertensive patient, it is important that you visit your doctor regularly and learn what you can do to prevent and recognize any hypertensive crises. Recognizing that you have high blood pressure early can be critical in preventing and treating any hypertensive crisis.
Hypertension occurs when the heart neither relaxes nor expands sufficiently when blood is pumped into the body. The main causes of hypertension are heredity, aging, or when the arteries are narrowed by fat deposits or build up. In addition, high levels of stress, obesity, excessive alcohol use, and sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to hypertension. At any time a patient might have both high blood pressure and coronary artery disease (CAD), another condition that can be life-threatening.
In order to prevent the onset of hypertension, lifestyle changes are recommended. These include a diet low in animal fat, fried food, processed foods, caffeine, and nicotine, as well as quitting smoking, exercising on a regular basis, cutting back on alcohol, and reducing stress. Doctors recommend that people quit using tobacco, cut back on their alcoholic consumption, and try to reduce their intake of caffeinated beverages. If you feel stress at work, talk to your boss about stress management, or try to find alternative ways to cope with stress.
Hypertension and CAD can often be brought about by other issues, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea raises blood pressures, as it constricts the arteries, allowing more blood to be pumped to the brain. A study conducted by the American Heart Association found that the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease were increased in those who had sleep apnea. Therefore, if you suffer from either of these conditions, you should discuss your blood pressure treatment options with your doctor.
Medications can also play a large part in the development of hypertension, and most of these medications are designed to help lower blood pressure. These include drugs like nitroglycerin, a substance that increases blood flow by contracting the muscles in the legs, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. While these drugs can be very effective in relieving pain and reducing inflammation, they can also cause damage to the arteries, thereby raising blood pressure.
Physical activity has been found to be a very effective way to manage both hypertension and heart problems. Many doctors recommend that people who want to live a long healthy life take part in some form of exercise daily. Whether it is moderate or vigorous exercise, having a regular exercise routine can help lower blood pressure, as well as heart rate.
Finally, when you take your blood pressure, it is important to know your BMI. The Body Mass Index is a great way to determine what should blood pressure be in your case. If you are overweight or obese, your doctor will most likely recommend that you lose some weight to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. It is also important to know your family history of high blood pressure. If any of your family members have had or are currently experiencing hypertension, you should take action as soon as possible to prevent further health problems.