Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, when the force of blood pushes against blood vessel walls. It is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and it contributes to hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis and the development of heart failure.
Blood pressure basics
- Understanding the numbers
- Prehypertension 120 - 139 /80 - 89
- Borderline 120 - 160 /90 - 94
- Mild 140 - 160 / 95 - 104
- Moderate 140 - 180/ 105 - 114
- Severe 160 + / 115 +
- What does blood pressure measure?
Each time the heart beats, it sends blood coursing through the arteries. The peak reading of the pressure exerted by this contraction is the systolic pressure. Between beats the heart relaxes, and blood pressure drops. This lower reading is referred to as the diastolic pressure. Blood pressure readings are in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). A normal blood pressure reading for adults is 120 (systolic)/80 (diastolic). Readings above this level are a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Symptoms and are you at risk?
- Risk factors you can’t change
- Controllable risk factors
Types of hypertension
- Essential hypertension
- Isolated systolic hypertension
- Secondary hypertension
- White-coat hypertension
- Labile hypertension
- Resistant hypertension
- Malignant hypertension
- Hypertension during pregnancy
How does hypertension damage your health
- Coronary artery disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye damage
- Testing for hypertension
- Monitoring blood pressure at home
Once you buy a BP electronic monitor, take it along to a doctor's appointment, and ask the nurse to take your BP and compare with your machine. Keep in mind that some nurses rush BP tests which results in inaccurate scores.
When taking you BP at home, take it after a fifteen minute rest, after relieving yourself, and in the absence of irritation and noise. Your highest results in the day are not your official BP. An average between the lowest and highest readings is much more real. It is pointless to take your BP right after heavy exertion or a family argument. It will be way over normal.
Do not become obsessed with taking your BP. This can actually raise your BP due to anxiety. Been there, done that.
The "normal" range set by the medical profession does not take into account the fact that we are all different. If you are eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding excess stress, slightly elevated BP numbers may not be serious and worth the side effects of BP drugs. This is a personal observation of course.
Also, if you are over 60 years old, your veins are stiffer from aging, and your BP will be slightly elevated due to this. It does not necessarily mean you are in trouble.
Steve Van Nattan
Treating high blood pressure
- If your reading is normal
- Foods that cure
- Medication types
- Lifestyle changes
Common Medications for treating hypertension
Classes of hypertension drugs
- Direct-acting vasodilators
- Calcium-channel blockers
- ACE inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Renin inhibitors
- Drug combinations
- The right drug for the right person