Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
What is it?
Blood pressure is the pressure needed to circulate the blood through the body. When too much of this force is pressing against the artery walls, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, it cannot be cured. However, you can control it and live a normal, healthy life.
High blood pressure is called the “Silent Killer” because there are usually no symptoms; that's why it is so dangerous. You can feel and look terrific and still have high blood pressure. A health professional can tell you for sure if you have high blood pressure.
Why does it happen?
The causes of high blood pressure are a bit of a mystery. About 5% of patients requiring hypertension treatment can trace their high blood pressure to a physical cause such as kidney disease. Treatment of the disease reduces the symptoms of high blood pressure.
But for 95% of patients who undergo hypertension treatment, the causes of high blood pressure are unknown. Diet and stress are suspected as prime contributors to hypertension, but medical experts aren't exactly certain of all the mechanisms involved.
Can I stop it?
Chemicals in tobacco can cause your arteries to narrow, raising your blood pressure and making your heart beat faster and work harder. Talk to your doctor about the different ways to stop smoking.
If you are heavy, losing extra pounds may help lower your blood pressure. Ask your doctor or nurse to help you find the best way to lose. Try these ideas to start.
-Eat fewer fried foods.
-Use less butter and oil in cooking.
-Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
-Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
-Eat smaller portions at meals, and avoid second helpings.
-Eat less salt. Use less salt during cooking and at the table. Use herbs, spices, and lemon juice instead of salt to flavor food. Avoid processed food, chips, canned soup, sausage, ketchup, and pickles.
-Exercise in moderation may help control your blood pressure. It also helps in reducing weight and controlling stress. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program.
Remember, the risk factors that affect your heart are:
High Blood Pressure, High Blood Cholesterol, Smoking, Obesity, Sedentary Lifestyle, Diabetes
Should I see a doctor?
Checking your blood pressure is a quick and painless test done by your doctor by placing a cuff around your arm and measuring the force of blood against the cuff. It is important that you have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
Besides the methods listed above there are some other ways to control hypertension:
- hypertension medications (anti-hypertensive drugs)
- regular blood pressure monitoring
- stress reduction
- controlling cholesterol levels
- reducing alcohol consumption.
This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult with your physician if you are in any way concerned about your health.
© 2003 SLPM Self care Ltd.