What You Should Know About High Blood Pressure

Things you need to know about high blood pressure.

Studies show that blood pressure is the force blood exerts against the arterial wall as it flows through the body.  A test measures two values: Systolic pressure, created when the heart contracts, and diastolic pressure, when the heart relaxes between beats.  A normal reading is about 120/80; levels above 140/90 are considered high says a medical doctors.

Why is it dangerous?

According to a medical doctor, hypertension can scar and stiffen the arterial wall, making it more likely to accumulate plaque, long before symptoms develop.  Narrowed arteries can lead to stroke, chest pain, kidney damage or heart attack.  Years of increased work may cause heart failure because the heart no longer pumps enough blood.  Young men are more likely to develop it than young women; but after menopause a woman's risk is greater.  Most of the time doctors don't know exactly what causes it but they cited you will probably need to change your lifestyle and take drugs to keep blood pressure readings normal.

  According to medical doctors there are six factors that may contribute to high blood pressure:

1)  Sodium in salt, the number one cause of hypertension.  This does not mean that salt should be eliminated from the diet entirely.  Our body needs only 0.20 gram of sodium per day ; it is vital to health.

2)  Narrowing of blood vessels by cholesterol build-up is another factor in hypertension.

3)  Estrogen, a female hormone found in birth control pill or given for menopause, causes the body to retain salt, and has the same effect as consuming too much salt.

4)  Obesity, every pound of fat require thousands of extra vessels.  These in turn require a higher blood pressure to circulate blood through them.

5)  More recently, it has been directed at the prolonged over-consumption of refined sugar as a possible contributing factor in persons with decreased kidney function.

6)  Stress, whether it be social stress, noise stress, or work stress.  All of these may increase hypertension.

Treatment Without Medicine

Obesity increases the risk of hypertension, ask your doctor about healthy weight range for you and try to stay within it.  Don't salt your food and try to cut down on highly processed foods which contain lots of extra salt.  You can jazz up low-salt food with things like herbs, and lemon juice.  Some people note a drop in reading of their blood pressure when they eliminate alcohol.

Moderate aerobic exercise, such as cycling, walking or aerobic dance can lower blood pressure and decrease stress.  According to psychologist, stress can raise blood pressure, quarreling can make blood pressure rise. 

When You Need Drugs

Life style changes are not enough and one or more drugs are needed.  Ask you doctor what is applicable to you. Diuretics deplete the body of extra salt and water.  Calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors relax the impulses from the brain and nerves that constrict vessels while beta blockers reduce the force of the heart beat.  Tell your doctor if your medicine is causing trouble.  Don't just stop taking it.  You and your doctor may decide to stop the drugs and look for another to get rid with the side effects.

Resource: Woman Today


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Posted on Jun 20, 2010