High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a chronic health condition that often goes undetected. In fact, the signs of high blood pressure are disguised as common discomforts that don’t necessarily require a visit to the doctor.
Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
You can even experience no warning signs at all! As a result, you may have hypertension for years and yet not even be aware that you have it. Some signs of hypertension patients may experience are:
* Dizziness & dizzy spells
* Frequent nosebleeds
* A dull headache
Just because the signs of high blood pressure are minor, it does not mean that the health consequences are minor as well. Hypertension increases your chance of having heart attacks, strokes, or cardiovascular diseases.
Because these risks are great, it is important to have regular physicals with your physician even when you feel healthy. Early detection from a healthcare professional can help prevent serious complications that stem from high blood pressure, which could even save your life!
There are two types of hypertension: primary and secondary.
* Primary hypertension develops over time and is usually hereditary. There’s not one cause, nor is there a definite way to prevent it from developing.
* Secondary hypertension stems from pre-existing health conditions like obesity or pregnancy and can subside as the secondary condition passes.
Since the aforementioned symptoms of hypertension can often be confused with common conditions (i.e. allergies for nosebleeds, headache from loud noises), it can be difficult to link them to hypertension.
Patients usually don’t experience any warning signs and will only know they have high blood pressure when tested or when they enter a hypertensive crisis, so once again, make sure to get regular visits with your physicians.
What is a Hypertensive Crisis?
A hypertensive crisis happens when your blood pressure suddenly spikes to a dangerously high level. This condition is usually a result of secondary hypertension. During a hypertensive crisis, your blood pressure will read above 180/110 and you may experience a severe headache, overwhelming anxiety, shortness of breath, and a nosebleed.
Getting medical help right away is necessary because a hypertensive crisis can have some serious complications, which include:
* Fluid build-up in the lungs
* Swelling or bleeding in the brain
* Chest pain
* Loss of consciousness
* Tear in artery
* Seizures (for pregnant women with eclampsia)
These complications can be life threatening so it is important to get medical attention right away.
Pregnancy and Hypertension
Some women can develop high blood pressure during their pregnancy, which contains its own special set of warning signs that are worth noting. Some warning signs are frequent headaches or swelling in your hands and feet. If you are a pregnant woman and you have experienced these characteristics, you are at higher risk of developing hypertension:
* Physically inactive
* Over 40
* A smoking or drinking habit
* Family history of hypertension
* You used IVF or other fertility treatments
* You are carrying twins or multiples
* First-time pregnancy
Thankfully, if you keep up with your regular prenatal visits, your urine samples and other tests should be able to help diagnose hypertension.
Long-Term Effects of Hypertension
If left untreated, hypertension can lead to some staggering consequences:
* Vision loss
* Kidney damage
* Erectile dysfunction
* Fluid buildup in the lungs
* Loss of memory
* Heart failure/attack
With these long-term effects being life-threatening, you will want to know if there is any way to treat hypertension. The good news is that there are many ways to treat this condition.
Treatments for High Blood Pressure
Using a combination of prescription medication and healthy lifestyle changes, you can improve your diagnosis and even cure hypertension altogether. Your doctor will be able to assess your condition and give you the right plan for your situation. Overall, you can adhere to these guidelines:
*Eat the DASH diet:
The DASH diet consists of low-sodium, low-cholesterol foods that are good for your heart like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Eating foods rich in potassium is also helpful. You must avoid red meat, coconut oil, and anything high in sugar. Alcohol should also be consumed in only limited quantities.
This is a critical part of your recovery from hypertension. By integrating cardio and low-impact exercise into your life, you will improve your heart’s health and help with blood circulation. Exercise has so many benefits that you will also start to feel good in other areas of your body as well.
By losing weight you will decrease the chances of having secondary hypertension due to obesity. Being overweight causes many health problems so you will see your health improve as you reach your ideal weight.
*Keep stress low:
By keeping away from stress, you will have fewer chances to raise your blood pressure. Find activities that you enjoy or a way to cope with unexpected situations that don’t involve internalizing stress.
Prescription drugs are here for a reason. If your recovery needs a boost, medication can help you as you make lifestyle changes. Ask your doctor which medication will help you the most.
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If you have any questions about high blood pressure or what its signs are, contact us.