Heart & Blood Pressure
The heart is the centre of your circulatory system, a network of blood vessels that deliver blood to all body parts. Blood carries oxygen and essential nutrients required to stay healthy and function properly. Your heart's job is to pump blood to deliver a continuous supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and the other vital organs. A resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute is normal for most people. While during strenuous exercise, the heartbeat increases as the heart begin to pump up to four times the amount it pumps during resting position within a few seconds. Conditions affecting the heart are known as heart diseases. There are many types, many of which are preventable. Learn more about heart disease's types, causes, and symptoms on this category page. The information page also covers risk factors and treatment.
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.
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.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to test your blood pressure. Understanding your results is key to achieving control over high blood pressure.
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 -
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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:
There are many medications available to lower blood pressure. They work in different ways. Many people need to take two or more medicines to bring their blood pressure down to a healthy level. The main types of drugs are:
Take any of these high blood pressure medicine as prescribed. Talk to your doctor about the best type of treatment for you. This way, you can prevent a stroke, heart attack, and congestive heart failure, a serious complication in which the heart cannot pump enough blood as the body needs.
Blood pressure medicines can work in several different ways. Blood pressure medicine can keep blood pressure at a healthy level in either of the following ways:
You may need to take more than one medicine to control your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about how long your blood pressure medicine should take to work.
Each medication works differently, so how long it takes blood pressure to work will depend on the level of blood pressure, the medication you are taking to lower it, and how carefully you follow the treatment plan your doctor prescribes. Consult your doctor on how to lower your blood pressure with the blood pressure drugs safely. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor will probably admit you to the hospital, where you can immediately receive medications that can control your blood pressure. However, it’s not a good long-term strategy. Most blood pressure control medications work gradually over time.
All blood pressure medicines are used to lower the pressure inside blood vessels so the heart doesn’t have to work hard to pump blood throughout the body. Blood pressure medicines may slow down the pumping action of the heart and depress the entire central nervous system, or in the case of diuretics, deplete the electrolytes that the body needs. You must check the safety information that comes with your blood pressure medications, and you may notice extreme tiredness as a side effect. So this way, your fatigue could be drug-induced. If this side effect bothers you, talk to your doctor about switching to another blood pressure medication.
For most people, medication is a major part of the treatment plan to lower blood pressure. These drugs are often prescribed as anti-hypertensive agents that won’t cure high blood pressure. But they can help bring it back to a normal level. The common ones and their mechanism of action are given below:
- Diuretics - Also called water pills, they are usually the first type of high blood pressure that your doctor will try. These help your kidneys take salt and water out of your body.
- Beta-blockers - work by slowing down your heartbeat and keeping your heart from squeezing hard. This makes blood flows through your vessels with less force.
- Alpha-blockers - These drugs stop nerve signals before they can tell your blood vessels to tighten. Your blood vessels stay relaxed, which allows more blood to flow and lowers your blood pressure.
- ACE inhibitors - Angiotensin-converting enzymes prevent your body from making a hormone that causes the blood vessels to tighten. These help blood vessels to relax, which in turn lowers blood pressure.
- ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) - ARBs inhibit the action of a hormone which has powerful constricting effects on blood vessels. This way lowers blood pressure and prevents damage to the heart and kidneys.
- Calcium channel blockers - They don’t let calcium into certain muscle cells in your heart and blood vessels, so it’s tough for electrical signals to pass. Some of these keep blood vessels from tightening, while others slow your heart rate or make your heart ease up on how hard it squeezes to push blood.
- Vasodilators - These relax the muscles in your blood vessel walls. These vessels widen, and blood can flow through more easily.
Medications used to treat arrhythmias depend on the type of arrhythmia and potential complications. Such drugs are often referred to as anti-arrhythmias that may be prescribed if you have tachycardia (fast heart rate). The medications are used to correct the rhythm of your heart. They work to restore a normal heart rhythm by changing the electrical current that makes your heartbeat. Most of these medications are available as pills and are typically used for long-term treatment. The most prescribed drugs in this class are:
Beta-blockers make your heart work less, reducing the workload on your heart. This lowers not only the blood pressure but also the blood pressure. If your heart is weak, certain beta-blocker drugs can work to protect your heart and help get it stronger. They treat many conditions, including high blood pressure, angina, heart attacks, heart failure, and arrhythmia. These medications protect the heart from stress and abnormal heartbeats.
Yes, there is a medicinal treatment for lowering heart rate. Beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers are two common medications that slow racing heart rates. These medications have been used for years to treat high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Most people tolerate these well. These medications work best when used under the supervision of a doctor. An elevated heart rate could indicate a serious medical condition if your doctor determined any underlying condition, for a rapid heart rate in both the moment and over the long run.
Yes, HIV treatment, also known as antiretroviral therapy or ART, involves drugs as prescribed by your doctor. The medications that come under this category work by reducing the amount of HIV in your body and helping you stay healthy for a long period. They help to lower viral load, fight infections, and improve the overall quality of life. Till now, there is no cure for HIV, but you can control it with HIV therapy. Most HIV patients can get the virus under control within six months. However, these antiretroviral drugs do not prevent transmitting other sexually transmitted diseases.
There are several different types of HIV/AIDS medicines. Some work by blocking or changing enzymes that HIV requires to make copies of itself. This prevents the deadly virus from copying itself, which reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Several medicines follow this mechanism of action:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)- Didanosine, Lamivudine, stavudine, Abacavir, Emtricitabine, Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, land Zidavudine
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) (for ex-Efavirenz, nevirapine, Doravirine, Cabotegravir, Efavirenz).
- Protease inhibitors (PIs)- For ex- Atazanavir, darunavir, Ritonavir, Indinavir, Tipranavir, Nelfinavir, Fosamprrenavir, saquinavir.
- Integrase inhibitors- Cabotegravir, Raltegravir, Dolutegravir, Elvitegravir
- Fusion inhibitors- Enfuvirutide
- Other medications