High Blood Pressure Hypertension Symptoms Causes And Treatments
Can exercise improve high hypertension?
Over the years, many persons have the understanding that when one has the symptom of high blood pressure, exercise can lower it to normal state. But how true these effects are typically temporary. Your blood pressure should gradually return to normal after you finish exercising. The quicker your blood pressure returns to its resting level, the healthier you probably are.
This is because exercise increases systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is a measure of blood vessel pressure when your heart beats.
According to guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “normal” blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. This includes a systolic pressure reading under 120 mm Hg (the top number) and a diastolic pressure reading (the bottom number) under 80 mm Hg.
It’s difficult to say conclusively what blood pressure readings are considered healthy after exercise, as blood pressure varies from person to person. Normal levels for one person might be a sign of a problem for another person.
In general, though, high blood pressure after a resting period of up to two hours following exercise includes any reading greater than 140/90 mm Hg. Low blood pressure after exercise includes any reading lower than 90/60 mm Hg.
What is high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide leading to heart disease and stroke.
Also read: High Blood Pressure Quick Treatments
In simple definition, High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious disease that can, over time damage the blood vessel walls and increase a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke and other conditions. According to guidelines announced in November 2017 by the American Heart Association (AHA), people’s blood pressure measurements fall into the following categories:
- Normal: Less than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for systolic and 80 mm Hg for diastolic.
- Elevated: Between 120-129 for systolic, and less than 80 for diastolic.
- Stage 1 hypertension: Between 130-139 for systolic or between 80-89 for diastolic.
- Stage 2 hypertension: At least 140 for systolic or at least 90 mm Hg for diastolic.
Causes of hypertension
Most of the time, doctors cannot find a specific cause of hypertension, and this is known as essential hypertension. Certain factors increase the risk of developing hypertension, including being obese, drinking too much alcohol, eating a lot of salt, smoking and having diabetes. Aging also increases the risk of hypertension because blood vessels become stiffer with age, the NIH says.
Being under stress can also increase your blood pressure temporarily, but stress is not a proven risk factor for hypertension. Still, some studies have linked mental stress and depression with risk of high blood pressure. A 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who felt pressed for time or were inpatient had higher odds of developing high blood pressure over a 15-year period, than people who did not feel such time pressure.
Symptoms Of Hypertension
Although many patients may not have symptoms at first, over time, high blood pressure can lead to “wear and tear” on the body,, high blood pressure can stretch and damage blood vessels, which in turn, can increase the risk of health problems, according to the American Heart Association. Stretched blood vessels can have weak spots that are more likely to rupture, leading to a hemorrhagic strokes or aneurysms, AHA says.
Diagnosis of hypertension
High blood pressure is diagnosed from a blood pressure test. Typically, doctors place a blood pressure cuff on the arm, which has a gauge that measures pressure in the blood vessels. Patients should avoid drinking coffee or smoking cigarettes for 30 minutes before the test, because such behaviors can increase blood pressure temporarily, the NHLBI says.
Blood pressure monitor, which patients wear this device can show whether a person really does have hypertension, and how well they are responding to treatment.
Doctors may also recommend other tests to look for indicators of heart disease, such as high cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic says.
Treatment & medication for high blood pressure
Lifestyle changes — including changes in diet and physical activity — and medications are recommended for treating high blood pressure. [How To Lower Blood Pressure]
But many people with hypertension will need take medications, as well as make lifestyle changes, the NHLBI says. For example, the new guidelines recommend that doctors only prescribe blood pressure medication for patients with stage I hypertension if they have already had a cardiovascular “event” such as a heart attack or stroke; or if they are at high risk for a heart attack or stroke based on other factors, such as the presence of diabetes.
In addition, stress relief practices, such as meditation or other relaxation techniques, can also be helpful in lowering blood pressure, especially when combined with other lifestyle changes.
Some of the more common types of blood pressure medications include:
- Diuretics: These medications remove some salt from the body, which reduces fluid in the blood vessels and causes blood pressure to go down.
- Beta-blockers: Allow the heart to beat slower, with less force, which results in lower blood pressure
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (also called ACE inhibitors): Blocks the formation of a hormone that narrows blood vessels, allowing blood vessels to open up
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): These medications are newer, but work in a way similar to ACE inhibitors to widen blood vessels
- Calcium channel blockers: Stop calcium from entering muscle cells in the heart and blood vessels, which relaxes the blood vessels
Side effects from blood pressure medication tend to be minor, and can include cough, diarrhea, dizziness, feeling tired, headaches, and unintentional weight loss and skin rash, according to the NIH. Patients should notify their doctor if they experience side effects, and oftentimes, the doctor make changes to the dose or type of medication to reduce side effects.
Remedies for high blood pressure
1. Walk and exercise regularly
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.
2. Reduce your sodium intake
Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and prepared foods. For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry.
3. Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world. While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by negative effects.
4. Eat more potassium-rich foods
Otassium is an important mineral. It helps your body get rid of sodium and ease pressure on your blood vessels.
Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake.
5. Cut back on caffeine
If you’ve ever downed a cup of coffee before you’ve had your blood pressure taken, you’ll know that caffeine causes an instant boost. However, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase.
6. Learn to manage stress
Stress is a key driver of high blood pressure. When you’re chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels.
When you experience stress, you might also be more likely to engage in other behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or eating unhealthy food, that can negatively affect blood pressure.
7. Lose weight
If you’re overweight, losing weight can make a big difference for your heart health. According to a 2016 study, losing 5% of your body mass could significantly lower high blood pressure.
Among the many reasons to quit smoking is that the habit is a strong risk factor for heart disease.
Every puff of cigarette smoke causes a slight, temporary increase in blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco are also known to damage blood vessels.
7. Cut added sugar and refined carbs
There’s a growing body of research showing a link between added sugar and high blood pressure.
In the Framingham Women’s Health Study, women who drank even one soda per day had higher levels than those who drank less than one soda per day.
8. Eat calcium-rich foods
People with low calcium intake often have high blood pressure. While calcium supplements haven’t been conclusively shown to lower blood pressure, calcium-rich diets do seem linked to healthy levels.
9. Try meditation or deep breathing
While these two behaviors could also fall under “stress reduction techniques,” meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention.
Both meditation and deep breathing are thought to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.