What is high blood pressure? This is a condition in which the blood arteries repeatedly receive more pressure than normal. The pressure needs to be chronically elevated for a hypertension diagnosis to be confirmed.
Measuring high blood pressure
Blood in the body is pumped by a muscle known as the heart every second of our lives. Low oxygen level blood is pumped to the lungs where it’s replenished while oxygenated blood is pumped around the body to supply our cells and muscles. When we measure blood pressure, two types are gauged;
- Diastolic Pressure – this is the pressure between heartbeats when the heart is dilating and resting.
- Systolic Pressure- this is when the heart contracts, the moment of maximum force during contraction, this happens when the left ventricle contracts
When a person’s blood pressure is taken, the doctor needs to measure both the systolic and diastolic pressures. The figures appear with a large number (systolic pressure) then followed by a smaller number (diastolic pressure) and then the figure is followed by the abbreviation “mmHg,” which means millimeter of mercury.
Stages/levels of high blood pressure
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Systolic mmHg 90 or less, or
Diastolic mmHg 60 or less
Systolic mmHg 90-119, or
Diastolic mmHg 60-79
Systolic mmHg 120-139, or
Diastolic mmHg 80-89
- Stage 1 hypertension
Systolic mmHg 140-159, or
Diastolic mmHg 90-99
- Stage 2 Hypertension
Systolic mmHg over 160, or
Diastolic mmHg over 100
Symptoms of high blood pressure
- Blurred or double vision (diplopia)
- Dizziness – Lightheadedness, unsteadiness, and vertigo.
- Epitasis- nosebleeds
- Palpitations- disagreeable sensations of forceful and irregular heartbeats
- Dyspnea- Breathlessness, shortness of breath
- Headache- this lasts for several days
- Nausea- discomfort in the stomach with an urge to vomit
- Bell’s palsy- inability to control facial muscles on one side of the face ( mostly in children)
Causes of high blood pressure
Causes of high blood pressure are divided into two categorie
- Essential high blood pressure(primary blood pressure)
– No actual cause has been identified
- Secondary high blood pressure
– this type of blood pressure has an underlying cause, such as kidney disease, or specific medication that a person is taking.
Most of the causes below are essential high blood pressure risk factors;
- Age – the older one gets, the higher their chances of having high blood pressure.
- Family history-if you have close members of the family with high blood pressure, your chances of getting it are significantly higher.
- Obesity- this refers to having extra weight from muscle, bone, and fat. This causes the arteries to narrow thus increasing the pressure.
- Smoking- smoking causes the blood vessel to narrow, resulting in high blood pressure. It also reduces the oxygen content of blood forcing the heart to pump faster to compensate.
Treatment of high blood pressure
To treat high blood pressure, a patient should observe the following;
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Eating healthily
- Lower salt intake
- Lowering caffeine consumption
- Losing weight
- Get enough sleep