What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure is persistently higher than normal. It is more common in men than women, especially from middle age onwards.
The pressure of the blood as it flows through the arteries and veins varies naturally. It is lower when the body is at rest and rises during physical exertion. It can also rise temporarily in response to stress. However, if your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal, even when you are resting or relaxed, you are suffering from hypertension.
What causes hypertension and who is at risk?
The arteries harden and become narrower as a result of ageing or a high fat diet. This restricts the circulation of blood through the body making the heart work harder to keep the blood flowing. This increases blood pressure.
A number of factors can increase the risk of hypertension or make the problem worse. These include:
Lack of exercise
Excess alcohol consumption
Sometimes, however, there are specific causes. These include:
Some heart conditions
Complications during pregnancy
Certain hormone imbalances
Side effects of drugs such as steroids or 'hair-restoring' creams
What are the common symptoms and complications of hypertension?
Essential hypertension produces few, if any, specific symptoms. It is usually diagnosed by chance when your blood pressure is measured as part of a routine health check or during an examination for another problem or after a stroke or heart attack.
When very severe, hypertension can produce:
Symptoms of complications include:
How do doctors recognise hypertension?
The diagnostic test for high blood pressure is simply measuring blood pressure over a period of time to see if it consistently higher than normal. Other investigations that may be carried out if high blood pressure is thought to be a problem are an ECG (an electrocardiogram) which measures the electrical activity of the heart, a chest X-ray to see if the heart is enlarged, blood tests and possibly investigations of the kidneys.
What is the treatment for hypertension?
Self-care action plan
However, as you reach middle age (especially if you lead a sedentary life). The doctor places an inflatable band or 'cuff' around your upper arm about level with your heart and inflates it with a hand-held pump. A gauge indicates how much pressure the cuff is exerting. As it tightens around the upper arm, the cuff restricts the flow of blood. By allowing the cuff to deflate slowly, the doctor can tell at what pressure the blood starts to flow by feeling and listening with a stethoscope for your pulse.
If your blood pressure is only slightly raised or if there is no specific cause for hypertension, treatment usually centres around adopting a more healthy lifestyle. The doctor may advise you to:
Give up smoking
Take more exercise
Improve your diet
Eat less fatty food
Learn to relax
A variety of complementary treatments are available for hypertension. However, there is no conclusive research evidence to prove that any complementary medicines (eg homeopathic medicines and herbal remedies) are beneficial and do not have harmful effects.
Therapies such as the Alexander technique, reflexology, relaxation and visualisation, yoga and tai chi may help promote a sense of well-being and reduce stress which exacerbates high blood pressure.
Sajid Latif is writing in financial topics and have strong knowledge in all financial matters and points like money and finance, loans life insurance and health insurance etc. To get one best quote for health insurance please visit us.
Publish this article: Hypertension