A Short Guide to Hypertension

checking woman's blood pressure

Hypertension is one of those conditions that seems to creep up on a person. There are very few signs of its existence until the condition becomes severe, which is what makes hypertension incredibly dangerous. In the United States, almost half of the adults have hypertension, and only 1 in 4 of them have the condition under control. Here is a short guide to hypertension to help you get to grips with the facts.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, describes the condition in which the force of circulating blood is higher than normal and puts pressure against your artery walls. It is a common yet very serious medical condition that can increase a person’s risk of heart, kidney, and brain disease, in addition to other diseases too. The World Health Organization estimates around 1.28 billion adults across the world between the ages of 30 to 79 have hypertension. Just under half of these people are aware they have hypertension. In addition, around 42 percent have been given an official diagnosis and are receiving treatment.

The Numbers

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: one top number and one bottom number. It is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg. The top number is systolic blood pressure. This reflects the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats and forces blood to circulate around your body. The bottom number is diastolic blood pressure. This represents the lowest level your blood pressure can reach when your heart rests in between beats.

Your numbers can vary throughout the day. But when the number remains high for long periods, it can become an issue. The blood pressure for healthy adults should be 120/80 mmHg and less, while those with elevated blood pressure have a reading of 120/80 mmHg and above. Hypertension stage 1 is a reading of 130/80 mmHg and above, while hypertension stage 2 is 140/90 mmHg and above.

Hypertensive Crisis

If someone has a consistent blood pressure reading of 180/120 mmHg or higher, they are considered to have a hypertensive crisis. At this stage, it is crucial that they consult a healthcare provider for guidance. People reading this might already be experiencing issues with their breathing, vision, and speech. They might also have chest pain and have feelings of weakness. Those who have developed hypertensive crises are generally at a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.

Can I Cure It?

Worldwide, hypertension is one of the primary causes of premature death. Although it cannot be cured, it is treatable and preventable. Besides prescribed medication, modifying your lifestyle can help reduce high blood pressure. Hypertension management is all about being aware of your blood pressure and taking steps to ensure it remains within a healthy range.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Being overweight or obese can increase one’s blood pressure, so maintaining a healthy weight can contribute to lowering blood pressure. Performing regular physical activity and eating a healthy, balanced, low-salt diet can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can also help reduce blood pressure.

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