MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS HIGH, WHAT ABOUT THAT?
Sir, your Blood pressure is too high, it is 200/120 mmHg. Are you familiar with such a reading or have you seen it before. There are many avoidable deaths but people keep dying that notwithstanding. Blood pressure check is one of the simplest medical examination
that could be done by even a layman. But, be that as it may, so many people are guilty of never having checked their Bp before. Some knew they should do it but are just too busy to have it done.
I remembered vividly some years back, some groups of Landlords in my community was out on light shedding because some houses were owing security fee. Some owing up to six months. They set out to enforce the payment or you would have to be without electricity for some days. They got to this man’s house, one of the famous man in the community. There ensues an argument as to whether he what he claimed he paid was actually so. The brouhaha dragged on, muscles were flexed, tension rose and were about to engaged in fisticuffs when the famous man slumped.
The whole community was thrown into a great confusion. You hit him with Juju (Africa voodoo), I did not touch him. The whole process was hurriedly abandoned. He was rushed to the Hospital. Alas, he was diagnosed with CEREBROVASCULAR ACCIDENT otherwise known as STROKE.
Questions were asked, eyes were raised, suspicion and all what not. Doctor, what could be responsible for this, someone asked? It was discovered that our patient smokes, he’s an alcoholic, though he knew he had such a condition, he has refused to checked his Blood pressure in the past four months.
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure is a silent killer. It is difficult to know from the physical outlook of a man or woman. The only and sure diagnostic method is by using instrument called stethoscope and Sphygmomanometer, the manual type is better and gives more accurate readings than the Digital ones. Any members of healthcare team should be able to check blood pressure effectively. When last did you check your Bp?
What are the risk factors for Hypertension?
The risk factors are divided into Modifiable factors and Non-modifiable factors. What this means is that some things you can controlled or adjust and some things you don’t have power over. The top 10 risk factors for high blood pressure include:
Being overweight or obese
The more you weigh the more blood flow you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure inside your arteries.
Too much salt (sodium) in your diet
Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, and also causes the arteries in your body to constrict. Both factors increase blood pressure.
Too little potassium in your diet
Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. Potassium causes the smooth muscle cells in your arteries to relax, which lowers blood pressure.
Drinking too much alcohol
Having more than two drinks per day can cause hypertension, probably by activating your adrenergic nervous system, causing constriction of blood vessels and simultaneous increase in blood flow and heart rate.
High levels of stress can lead to a temporary, but dramatic, increase in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only exacerbate problems with high blood pressure. Relaxation and meditation techniques effectively lower blood pressure.
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen) can cause marked worsening of existing hypertension or development of new high blood pressure. It can also cause damage to the kidneys, worsening of heart failure, and even heart attack or stroke. Ibuprofen is a member of the class of drugs called NSAIDs, which includes naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, and Anaprox), sulindac (Clinoril), diclofenac (Voltaren), piroxicam (Feldene), indomethacin (Indocin), Mobic, Lodine and celecoxib (Celebrex).
Cough and Cold Medications (Sudafed and other brands that contain pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine)
Cough and cold medicines frequently contain decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. These medications cause your blood pressure and heart rate to rise, by constricting all your arteries, not just those in you nose.
Certain chronic conditions
Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, including diabetes, kidney disease and sleep apnea.
A diet low in vitamin D
It’s uncertain if having too little vitamin D in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Researchers think that vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure. More studies are necessary to determine vitamin D’s exact role in high blood pressure. However, talk to your doctor about whether you may benefit from taking a vitamin D.
Heart disease and stroke.
Risks among certain groups
African-Americans – If you’re African-American, there’s a good chance that you or a relative has HBP.
Women – Starting at age 65, women are more likely to have high blood pressure than men.
Children – While HBP is most common in adults, children can develop it, too.
Height, hair and eye color runs in families — so can high blood pressure. If your parents or close blood relatives have had HBP, you are more likely to develop it, too. You might also pass that risk factor on to your children. That’s why it’s important for children as well as adults to have regular blood pressure checks. You can’t control heredity, but you can take steps to live a healthy life and lower your other risk factors. Lifestyle choices have allowed many people with a strong family history of HBP to avoid it themselves. Learn about lifestyle changes you can make to prevent HBP.
As we age, we all develop higher risk for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Blood vessels lose flexibility with age which can contribute to increasing pressure throughout the system.
Gender-related risk patterns
A higher percentage of men than women have HBP until 45 years of age. From ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64, the percentages of men and women with HBP are similar. After that, a much higher percentage of women have HBP than men.
Lack of physical activity
Physical activity is good for your heart and circulatory system. An inactive lifestyle increases the chance of high blood pressure, heart disease, blood vessel disease and stroke. Inactivity also makes it easier to become overweight or obese. Give yourself the gift of improved health and lower blood pressure with regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity .
Overweight and obesity
Being overweight increases your chances of developing high blood pressure. A body mass index between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. A body mass index over 30 is considered obese. About two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. About one in three U.S. children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese. Excess weight increases the strain on the heart, raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It can also make diabetes more likely to develop. Losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds can help lower your blood pressure and your heart disease risk. To successfully and healthfully lose weight—and keep it off—most people need to subtract about 500 calories per day from their diet to lose about 1 pound per week. Calculate your body mass index and learn how to manage your weight .
Drinking too much alcohol
Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically. It can also cause heart failure, lead to stroke and produce irregular heartbeats. Too much alcohol can contribute to high triglycerides, cancer and other diseases, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. If you drink, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Possible contributing factors
There is some connection between blood pressure and these factors but science has not proven that they actually cause high blood pressure.
Learn how to kick the habit.
Some 12 million Americans have sleep apnea, according to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimates. Sleep Apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder in which tissues in the throat collapse and block the airway. The brain forces the sleeper awake enough to cough or gulp air and open the trachea up again. But then, the whole cycle starts all over again. Pauses in breathing can contribute to severe fatigue during the day, increase your safety risks, and make it difficult to perform tasks that require alertness. Sleep apnea is also a risk factor for such medical problems as high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and stroke. Learn more about sleep apnea .
Secondary hypertension: HBP caused by a pre-existing problem
In 5-10 percent of high blood pressure cases, the HBP is caused by a pre-existing problem. This type of HBP is called secondary hypertension because another problem was present first.
Factors that may lead to secondary hypertension include:
Kidney abnormality, including a tumor on the adrenal gland, which is located on top of the kidneys
A structural abnormality of the aorta (the large blood vessel leaving the heart) that has existed since birth
Narrowing of certain arteries
The good news is that these pre-existing problems can usually be fixed. For example, doctors can repair a narrowed artery that supplies blood to a kidney. Once the root cause of secondary hypertension is corrected, blood pressure typically returns to normal. For those with HBP, a physical exam and some tests can help your doctor determine whether your high blood pressure is primary or secondary hypertension.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HYPERTENSION?
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.
A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleed, but these signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage. I’ve seen a man who will always use Felvin and Ibuprofen every night. One day, I was forced to ask him why he uses the drugs everyday. He said, it’s because of constant headache every night which will not go even with antimalarial. I checked his Blood pressure, lo and behold, it was way too high. I placed him on some antihypertensive. Within a week, he became better and was off daily analgesics.
Hypertension is one of the risk factors for developing other cardiovascular diseases, it is better to check your blood pressure often. The dangers of self medication can not be overemphasize, don’t engage in it. Consult your healthcare practitioners when you have constant headache, rigging or noise in your ears, feels dizzy when pregnant or suddenly have a swollen legs.
Hypertension is a silent killer. Prevention and adequate knowledge about the ailment is a key to preventing the devastating effects of its complications.
Educate your families and friends about this silent killer
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Take action today, GO CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE.
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Stay healthy. Your health is our concern
Olafusi Agape Kolawole