Hypertension: Learn about risk factors, warning signs and treatment

Hypertension: Learn about risk factors, warning signs and treatment

by Cole Home Health

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the most common Cardiovascular Disease. It is a chronic medical condition requiring the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels.

More than 72 million Americans suffer from High Blood Pressure. It is the number two cause of Kidney Failure (American Kidney Foundation).

Symptoms

  • Most people will not have symptoms unless their blood pressure is dangerously high
  • Dull headaches
  • Dizzy spells
  • Nosebleeds

Risk factors

  • Age: The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age.
  • Race: High blood pressure is particularly common among African Americans.
  • Family history: Hypertension tends to run in families. Needs period
  • Overweight or Obese: The more you weigh the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues.
  • Inactive Lifestyle: People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates.
  • Tobacco Use: Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure, the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. Secondhand smoke can also increase your blood pressure.
  • Excess Sodium (salt): Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
  • Excess Alcohol: Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart and also temporarily raise your blood pressure.
  • Stress: High levels of stress can lead to a temporary, but dramatic, increase in blood pressure.
  • Certain chronic conditions: Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, including high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease and sleep apnea.

Complications

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart failure
  • Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys
  • Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Trouble with memory or understanding

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Decrease the salt in your diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Increase physical activity
  • Use Vitamin Supplements (such as garlic and CoQ-10)
  • Limit alcohol
  • Don’t smoke
  • Manage stress
  • Monitor your blood pressure at home
  • Practice relaxation or slow, deep breathing
  • Take your medications as scheduled
  • Schedule regular doctor visits

 

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