The heart is a muscle which weighs one pound and is located behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone. The heart pumps 7.5 litres of blood per minute or 6768 litres of blood daily. The function is to circulate blood to all parts of the body. A healthy heart beats at a rate of about 60 to 100 beats per minute when at rest. This can be called as normal sinus rhythm. While during strenuous exercise, the heart beat increases as the heart begin to pump up to four times the amount it pumps during resting position within a few seconds.
About hypertension (high blood pressure):
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. High blood pressure (HBP) means the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.
Blood pressure is written as two numbers, such as 117/79 mm Hg.
The top, systolic, number is the pressure when the heart beats
The bottom, diastolic, number is the pressure when the heart rests between beats
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. If you’re an adult and your systolic pressure is 120 to 139, or your diastolic pressure is 80 to 89 (or both), you have “prehypertension”. High blood pressure is a pressure of 140 systolic or higher and 90 diastolic or higher that stays high over time.
No one knows the cause of most cases of high blood pressure. It can’t be cured, but it can be managed. High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms. That’s why it is so dangerous.
Although there is no identifiable cause of hypertension, but in many a few of the risk factors are known to increase the chances of getting High BP, such as:
1. Obesity or overweight
2. Too much alcohol consumption
4. Too much salt intake
7. Genetics or family history of Blood pressure problems
8. Physical inactivity
9. Too much of fat intake
Many people can expect to have hypertension problems if these factors are not kept under control, as they are known to increase the probability of heart problems and hypertensions.
Hypertension is often referred to as a silent killer, as the symptoms of the problem are not identifiable till you get very high BP, say something above 180/110 mm Hg. So, it is very necessary to have regular medical checkups by a professional to identify if you have a high BP.
Here are few symptoms that can be felt by a person having high BP:
• Blurred vision
• Dizziness etc.
Adverse effects of high BP:
There is various heart-related complication associated with an increase in Blood pressure, a few of the common adverse effects of high blood pressure are as follows:
• Heart attack, angina or both
• Heart failure
• Kidney failure
• Peripheral arterial disease etc.
Preventing hypertension is a very easy task, and the major focus is on the prevention of the risk factors that assist the increase in blood pressure. You can make a few healthy lifestyle changes such as:
• Reducing the extra weight from the body
• Having a balanced diet
• Cutting the salt intake
• Taking proper exercise
• Monitor the blood pressure regularly
Common Blood pressure medicines:
Here is a list of common blood pressure medicines that can help you to control your Blood Pressure:
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Myths and facts:
Myth: I have a family history of high BP, I can’t do anything about it. I will get it too
Fact: Although its is true that High BP runs in families, with a little cautious lifestyle changes you can prevent hypertension.
Myth: wine is good for the heart and drinking large amounts of wine will protect me from hypertension.
Fact: too much of everything can cause negative impact, so it is very necessary that you must avoid heavy and regular use of alcohol in any form as it can increase blood pressure and can cause heart failure.
To diagnose high blood pressure, the doctor may use a blood pressure measuring instrument called sphygmomanometer. Several readings are taken to confirm the presence of high blood pressure. Along with blood pressure testings, the doctor may also take a few other tests like urine and blood tests, exercise stress test, ECG, Holter monitoring, etc., to diagnose Hypertension.
The various medications for the treatment of various heart diseases and high blood pressure are as follows -
Calcium channel drugs such as Nifedipine and Amlodipine relax the arterial smooth muscles and facilitate smoother blood flow.
ACE inhibitors like Benazepril and Quinapril block the formation of chemicals that lead to the constriction of arteries.
Angiotensin II receptors such as Lovastatin and Atorvastatin also relax the blood vessels.
Beta blockers such as Atenolol and Timolol slow down the heartbeat and reduce the contractions of the heart muscles and ultimately lessen the heart load. These are the best high blood pressure medications. They have shown excellent results in lowering high blood pressure.
Diuretics such as Hydrochlorothiazide increase the outflow of sodium and water and reduce the volume of blood
Hypolipidemic drugs such as Fenofibrate and Ezetimibe lower the high cholesterol plasma levels and decrease the chances of plaque formation in arteries
Renin inhibitors such as Aliskiren decrease the production of Renin enzyme produced by the kidneys and normalize the blood pressure levels
Combination drugs like Atorvastatin and Ezetimibe or Atorvastatin and Fenofibrate produce a synergistic lowering of high blood pressure level and encourage smooth blood flow throughout the body.
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Steps to improve life with BP
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline: body weight surely plays a very important role as blood pressure increases as the weight increases. Besides keeping a check on the weight of the body one should also keep track on the waistline because carrying too much weight around your stomach can put you at a greater risk towards the high blood pressure.
Exercise regularly: Regular exercise on the most of the days of the week will surely help you to reduce your BP 4-5 points.
Eat a healthy diet: healthy diet comprising of fruits, vegetables and dairy products must be included in the diet rather than supplements and junk food. Potassium diet is strongly recommended for the people with high BP as it reduces the effects of sodium and calcium
Reduce sodium in your diet: limit sodium to 2300 mg a day/less. People over 51 yr and the Afro–American should try to limit the salt intake as low as 1500mg a day or less.
Reduce your stress: Stress or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what's causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
Important things to know:
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke
Cut back on caffeine
Monitor your blood pressure at home and make regular doctor's appointments