Before understanding hypertension, it is important to explore the definition of blood pressure in general. It is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. When we talk about hypertension, it simply means high blood pressure, which happens when the force is too high and begins causing harm to the body. If hypertension is left untreated, it can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers; the top systolic blood pressure is responsible for measuring the force pushing against artery walls when the heart contracts. However, the bottom diastolic blood pressure measures pressure in the arteries at the time of rest between heartbeats. A normal blood pressure level is 120 mmHg/80 mmHg or even lower. The levels which indicates that a person is at risk are 120-139 mmHg and 80-89 mmHg. Any reading that is higher than 140mmHg/90mmHg is defined as high blood pressure.
To understand hypertension further, it is important to include some things that are lesser known about it:
- Lack of sleep can put you at a higher risk of hypertension
A proper amount of sleep is necessary for the body to function properly. If you get less than six hours of sleep at night, you are more at risk of suffering from high blood pressure. A sound sleep on a regular basis can keep your stress hormones at check that can maintain a healthy nervous system. This in turn leads to a normal blood pressure and a generally healthy lifestyle.
- Alcohol can make it worse
Even though a glass or two of alcohol frequently does not mess with your health, drinking heavily daily can cause many problems, including hypertension. Heavy drinking can boost your blood pressure and can react with medicines you already take to control your blood pressure. Organic drugs or otherwise can also interfere with your body and can make you more susceptible to high blood pressure.
- Fructose and excessive salt are major factors affecting hypertension
Whether it is about blood pressure or general health, too much sugar is not good for anyone. In fact, studies and surveys have revealed that people who consume more fructose develop high blood pressure more easily. Sugar is a common ingredient in aerated drinks, packaged fruit juices, sports drinks and flavored water, and it can cause major problems when it comes to blood pressure.
Excess sodium can lead to water retention that puts pressure on the heart and blood vessels. People who suffer from high blood pressure and those who are at a higher risk for the same should not have more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily, which is less than ¾ teaspoon. In fact, people with normal levels should also eat salt in moderation.
- Supplements can react with other medicines to cause hypertension.
This might come as a surprise to you but not everything natural is the answer to a healthy life. Natural remedies can often affect your blood pressure. For example, herbal supplements when taken in a combination with allopathic medicines can react with your body, and not in the best way. The best thing to do is consult your doctor and give him the entire list of supplements and medications you are taking. That way, you can make an informed decision with the help of your doctor.
- Blood pressure can be linked to other medical issues.
High blood pressure, instead of being a condition, can also be a symptom for a serious disease or medical condition. When a patient is reported to have a high blood pressure, doctors usually check their urine and kidney function along with an electrocardiogram to check the size of the heart. Lung changes should also be observed. As high blood pressure can make people more prone to heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, kidney diseases and aneurysms, it is a good idea to check for chronic diseases such as diabetes, CKD, etc. That way, the problem can be solved before it aggravates. This is another reason why doctors always check a person’s blood pressure with a BP check machine when investigating any medical condition. The blood pressure of a person can tell many things, whether it is about the general health of the individual or any underlying medical problem.
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