Hypertension: what is it, at what age does it occur, when to worry and go to the doctor

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Arterial hypertension (high blood pressure) is widespread throughout the world. In the UK, 40% of adults have high blood pressure, and only 21% are effectively treated.

What is hypertension?

You may be considered hypertensive if a doctor records an increase in blood pressure in at least 3 follow-up blood pressure measurements.

Normally, the pressure value may fluctuate depending on your condition: it may increase during physical or mental stress and decrease while you are sleeping. However, blood pressure returns to normal values from 100.

Symptoms of hypertension

The main symptom of hypertension is a headache. This occurs because of constriction, spasm of cerebral blood vessels. Also frequent symptoms of hypertension:

  • Tinnitus
  • Flying «Flickers» And a swelling in front of the eyes
  • General weakness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of heaviness in the head
  • Strong palpitations

These symptoms occur in the early stage of hypertension and are neurotic in nature. In a later stage of hypertension, heart failure may occur due to constant overexertion of the heart muscle because of the high pressure.

Due to the progression of the painful process it is possible to reduce the visual acuity, the lesion of blood vessels in the brain from high blood pressure, it may lead in some cases to paralysis, decreased sensitivity of the limbs, which occurs due to vasospasm, hemorrhage or thrombosis.

Causes of hypertension

If the cause of the increase in blood pressure is not identified, they speak of primary (essential) hypertension, or hypertension. In its development play a role:

  • Hereditary predisposition
  • Chronic stress
  • The amount of salt consumed
  • Low physical activity, etc.
  • In women, hypertension can be caused by the restructuring of the body during menopause

The underlying cause in each case is difficult to determine, since most people diagnosed with hypertension are exposed to several risk factors that contribute to the increase in blood pressure.

Up to 5% of arterial hypertensions are secondary (symptomatic), that is, caused by certain causes. The most frequent causes of high blood pressure are renal pathology, endocrine pathology, or major vascular abnormalities.

Examination of patients aims at excluding secondary causes of high blood pressure, as sometimes these causes can be eliminated or they require specific treatment.

In addition, the examination clarifies changes in organs and systems caused by arterial hypertension itself. High blood pressure leads to changes in the heart, kidneys, brain vessels, ocular vessels. Such examinations should be performed regularly, at least once a year.

The level of arterial hypertension and target organ damage determine the risk of cardiovascular complications. Depending on the degree of risk, treatment options range from lifestyle changes, dietary habits, and weight loss to the immediate initiation of drug therapy.

It is important to monitor your blood pressure not only at your doctor’s office, but also on your own.

How to measure your blood pressure?

How blood pressure should be measured:

  • Blood pressure should be measured at rest, after a 5-minute rest, sitting
  • Tonometer cuff should be at heart level with its lower edge – 2 cm above the elbow
  • The blood pressure should be measured every day, recording the data in the diary of blood pressure

Treatment of Hypertension

A blood pressure control program consists of lifestyle changes and drug therapy. Lifestyle changes involve:

  • Regular physical activity of up to 30 minutes a day
  • Eating a low-calorie diet and losing weight
  • Reducing salt intake
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids and foods rich in cholesterol
  • Increase fruit intake
  • Stop smoking

Drug therapy is prescribed immediately if the level of high blood pressure is high. Most patients need to take 2 or more medications.

Treatment of patients with arterial hypertension is carried out continuously, since its cancellation will lead to a rise in blood pressure again.