Hypertension is high blood pressure, a very common condition in older adults. Blood pressure is the physical force exerted by the blood as it pushes against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure readings are written in two numbers separated by a line. The top number represents the systolic blood pressure and the bottom number represents the diastolic pressure. The systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts pushing the blood forward. The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes.
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
High blood pressure or hypertension is now classified as stage 1 if your systolic reading falls between 130 and 139 or your diastolic reading is between 80 and 89. A measure of 140/90 or higher is now considered stage 2 hypertension. A hypertensive crisis is defined as a systolic rate of over 180 or a diastolic rate above 120. Elevated blood pressure means that the heart must work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can also damage the walls of the arteries. Over time, hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. It is estimated that one in three adults in Nigerian are affected by hypertension.
High blood pressure is more common in older people. At age 45, more men have hypertension than women. By age 65, this is reversed and more women are affected. People with diabetes have a greater risk of hypertension than those without diabetes. Having a close family member with high blood pressure also increases your risk of developing it. About 60% of all people with diabetes also have hypertension.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF HYPERTENSION?
Hypertension may not produce any symptoms, even if you have had it for years. That’s why it is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer.” It’s estimated that 1 out of every 5 people with high blood pressure aren’t aware that they have this major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. If not properly treated, high blood pressure can damage the heart and circulation, lungs, brain, and kidneys without causing noticeable symptoms.
Symptoms of high blood pressure may be present in those who have extremely high blood pressure. Symptoms of extremely high blood pressure include the following:
- Severe headaches
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in the chest, neck, or ears
CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION)
There is a muscle and its main function is to pump blood around the body. The heart pumps blood with low oxygen into the lungs which replenish its supply. The heart then pumps blood high in oxygen to other parts of the body to supply the muscles and cells.
All this blood pumping that the heart does creates pressure. If the blood pressure is high, the walls of the arteries will constantly be under too much force. We can categorize the causes of high blood pressure into two distinct parts:
Essential high blood pressure: This hypertension has no established cause.
Secondary high blood pressure: Another health issue can be attributed to the cause of this type of high blood pressure.
Although essential high blood pressure has no identifiable cause, there are several scientific evidence that links specific factors to the risk of developing hypertension. These include:
- Family history (hereditary)
- Ethnic background
- Obesity and being overweight
- Lack of physical exercise or activity
- Alcohol intake
- Poor diet and high cholesterol
- Mental stress
Everything listed above has been linked to causing high blood pressure. If you are unsure of how any of these applies to you, then you should speak to a doctor today.
TREATMENT: How to manage high blood pressure in Nigeria
When it comes to treating high blood pressure, there are several factors that need to be considered. Some of these factors include the severity of the condition and any risks that could be linked to developing a stroke or other cardiovascular diseases.
A doctor will recommend various treatment depending on the blood pressure. For example, your doctor could recommend lifestyle changes if your blood pressure is just slightly elevated and you have a lower risk of developing any cardiovascular disease.
Conversely, if your blood pressure is moderately high, your doctor will probably recommend medication and certain lifestyle changes. Moderate high blood pressure means your chances of developing a cardiovascular disease will be above 20% within the next 10 years.
On the other hand, if your blood pressure levels have reached 180/120 mm Hg or above, then the situation is more critical. As mentioned earlier, this is referred to as a hypertensive crisis. When this is the case, your doctor will most likely ensure there is an immediate change to the type or dosage of medication that you are currently using.
Described below is an overview of treatment options available for high blood pressure:
- Physical exercise
- Stress management
- Quitting smoking
- Home blood pressure monitors
- Low-sodium diet
- Arctic sea Omega 3
- Garlic Thyme
- Cardio Health
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Argi Plus
- Absorbent C
Note: This list of medications is for informational purposes only. You should never buy any hypertension medication without your doctor’s prescription because you could make matters worse.