High Blood Pressure – Symptoms and Treatment Options
Hypertension or high blood pressure is the condition where the amount of force exerted against the artery walls when the blood flows through them is higher than usual. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), one in every three persons in the country over the age of 20 has high blood pressure. Without the right treatment, blood pressure may lead to many health problems including heart failure, stroke, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Common symptoms of high blood pressure
Hypertension is known as the silent killer as it does not exhibit any symptoms. When the blood pressure reaches 180/110 mmHg, it is considered a medical emergency. Some of the common symptoms of high blood pressure are as follows:
It is one of the most common symptoms of high blood pressure. It may get worse because of factors like stress, migraines or sinusitis. High blood pressure can affect the blood-brain barrier, exert excess pressure on the brain, and lead to blood leaks from the blood vessels. The leaked blood causes swelling, which exerts more pressure on the brain and leads to headaches.
- Dizzy spells
It is another symptom of high blood pressure, but its cause may also be anxiety, the side effect of some medicines, low blood pressure, or pregnancy. High blood pressure can cause the blood vessels in the brain to rupture, narrow or leak, sometimes blocking blood flow too. Due to this blockage, a patient may feel dizzy, and in the worst case, it may lead to a stroke as well.
- Facial flushing
People who consume alcohol, eat hot and spicy food or are prone to food allergies show this symptom. Sometimes, hot flushes are associated with menopause as well. But high blood pressure can cause facial flushing due to the excess flow of blood when the patient is angry or anxious.
This symptom of high blood pressure is caused due to a weakness in the blood vessels of the nose’s inner lining. When the blood exerts high pressure on these vessels, they tend to rupture and leak.
- Vision problems
Vision problems like seeing floaters or spots is a common symptom of high blood pressure. It happens when the high blood pressure destroys the vessels which supply blood to the retina. It can lead to bleeding from the eye, blurry vision or even a loss of vision. Hence, one should get eye checks from time to time, especially if they are facing a vision problem.
High blood pressure can cause irregular blood flow. It can also rupture the vessels of the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract, leading to vomiting. However, nausea could be a symptom of other conditions like pregnancy, alcohol consumption, gastroenteritis, anxiety or side effects of some medications as well.
- Feeling blood rush in your ears
High blood pressure can increase the flow of blood to your ears and neck, or cause irregular flow, creating a rushing feeling. Your ears might feel warmer suddenly or appear red too. Anxiety, stress, and anger are some factors which can aggravate the condition.
Palpitations usually occur when the heart’s rhythm is disturbed by high blood pressure, which narrows or ruptures blood vessels. It can hamper normal blood flow and affect the heartbeat.
Treatment for high blood pressure
According to the severity and the risk of developing stroke or cardiovascular diseases, a doctor will decide upon the right treatment. They may suggest lifestyle changes if the blood pressure is only slightly elevated and if the patient has a low risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. If the person is diagnosed with moderately high blood pressure, there is a chance that they may develop cardiovascular disease in the next ten years. Therefore, the doctor may suggest some medicines along with lifestyle changes. If an individual has severe hypertension, that is, if it is above 180/110 mmHg, he or she needs to visit a specialist.
Some of the treatment options for high blood pressure are as follows:
- Regular exercise
Exercising daily for 30 to 60 minutes helps reduce a person’s blood pressure by 4 to 9 mmHg. However, it is essential to consult a doctor before starting any physical activity as the exercise program must meet the individual’s health condition.
Studies suggest that even losing 10 pounds has a significant impact on reducing high blood pressure. Reducing the body weight makes the medications more effective. A healthy diet regime, a good exercise plan, and at least 7 hours of sleep helps in reducing one’s weight. People who are exhibiting the symptoms of high blood pressure should reduce their intake of table salt and alcohol. Smokers with high blood pressure should try and get rid of the habit as well.
- Relaxation techniques
Following methods to manage stress and relax helps to control high blood pressure, especially in adults. Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests that tai chi helps in lowering blood pressure.
- Getting adequate sleep
People who don’t get enough sleep are prone to developing high blood pressure. Studies suggest that adults get at least 7 hours but not more than 8 hours of sleep in a day. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that people who sleep less or more than 7 to 8 hours a night face higher risk of hypertension.
If you get diagnosed with high blood pressure, you need to make some changes to your lifestyle. Along with that, to maintain the ideal blood pressure, you need to take medication as well. By including some smart steps in the daily routine, you can manage this condition well.
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