Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure and I’m going to use these two words interchangeably throughout this article.
Blood pressure statistics
Since the 1920s, researchers have noticed a relationship between hypertension or high blood pressure and an increased rate of death.
This disease remains one of the most common chronic conditions around the world. The number of individuals diagnosed with this disease is continuing to grow.
According to statistics, in 2010 hypertension was the leading cause of death and disability around the world.
Furthermore, around 50% of patients suffering from heart attack and stroke had a diagnosis of hypertension.
Almost 90% of individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure have primary or essential hypertension, who have no clear origin for their elevated blood pressure.
By contrast, individuals with secondary hypertension have a clear anatomic or laboratory abnormality that causes their elevated blood pressure.
Researchers have identified several causes for elevated blood pressure such as genetics and various social factors.
For instance, up to 30% of patients with hypertension have gene mutations that could explain their elevated blood pressure levels.
Gene mutations have the potential to affect sodium absorption or the excretion rate, which could affect the blood pressure levels.
Another reason for elevated blood pressure is related to the adoption of a Western diet and an increase in sodium intake. Blood pressure also increases with advanced age and in overweight/ obese patients.
High blood pressure, heart disease and stroke
Most individuals diagnosed with hypertension have other risks factors for cardiovascular disease such as: smoking, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, kidney disease and obesity.
Elevated systolic (the upper number) and diastolic (the lower number) can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
“I’d like to introduce my e-book “Hypertension: Things You Must Know” explaining hypertension and related definitions, diagnosis and prevention strategies. My emphasis in this book is on nutrition and treatments of this deadly and, at the same time, preventable disease.
I’m certain that after reading this book, you’ll have much better understanding of this condition. The new version of this e-book is available on Amazon now.
Blood pressure range and numbers
I’d like to discuss with you the newest hypertension guidelines published in 2017 with the following revisions to the previous blood pressure categories.
New blood pressure categories are:
- Normal blood pressure: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
- Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
- Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
- Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
This new changes are based on recent, more extended studies showing that lower blood pressure reduces the rate of heart attacks and death rate among patients with this condition.
This guideline, similar to all other guidelines, recommends lifestyle modifications as the primary treatment.
This would be different in patients with very high blood pressure, since with these patients, combining lifestyle modifications and medications might be necessary.
High blood pressure symptoms
I’ve seen many patients who resist going to the doctor until things go wrong. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Don’t fix what’s not broken”.
In my opinion, this saying doesn’t hold true for health-related conditions and especially not when we are talking about hypertension.
Unfortunately, elevated blood pressure doesn’t present with any clear signs until it’s too late.
Most patients who wait too long and don’t take care of themselves, end up with irreversible damage to their body. There are some people who experience headaches with elevated blood pressure.
However, these individuals probably have been exposed to damaging blood pressure for some time.
They will not be able to avoid taking medications. If you’re planning to avoid medications and to get healthier in a more natural way, then you need to check your blood pressure and see your doctor regularly.
Low blood pressure
In opposite to high blood pressure, a low blood pressure could present with classic symptoms. Most common symptoms related to low blood pressure is dizziness, blurred vision, weakness and at the end loss of consciousness.
In severe cases, a low blood pressure can also result in stroke, heart attack, kidney failure.
Hypertension and aging
The chances of developing this condition increase with advancing age.
Almost 50% of the individuals aged 60-69 and approximately 75% of the individuals older than 70 have hypertension.
One of the most widely known studies called the Framingham Heart Study has estimated that almost 90% of women and men who didn’t have high blood pressure at 55 or 65 years of age will have the disease by age 80-85.
It’s no secret that the number of medications prescribed to individuals increase with advancing age and many of these prescribed medications are related to hypertension.
Prehypertension is the range between normal blood pressure and hypertension. The 2017 high blood pressure guideline defines this range for systolic blood pressure between 120-129 mm/Hg.
Clearly, the new guideline is much more aggressive in defining hypertension. A diastolic blood pressure above 80 mm/Hg is considered hypertensive. This guideline didn’t specify any pre-hypertensive range for diastolic blood pressure.
Every person should start working on hypertension preventive measures early, since most people will end up with this condition sooner or later.
However, prehypertension diagnosis should motivate you to start working on preventive measures immediately.
Everyone has the opportunity to reduce and treat their blood pressure with coordinated and well-managed lifestyle changes. I hope that you’ll recognize this and start taking care of yourself today.
I have included a list of the best articles about hypertension below and I encourage you to read all of them. In addition, don’t forget to download my ebook and to read it thoroughly.
I would also appreciate it if you could share this article with your friends and family members who might benefit from it.
What everybody ought to know
About 1 in 3 U.S. adults—as estimated 78 million people—have high blood pressure. Hypertension or high blood pressure can increase the chances of having a heart attack and stroke.
Hypertension is the major risk factor for heart disease.
Roughly every 34 seconds, one American has a heart-related event, and approximately every minute, an American will die of one.
The total cost of cardiovascular-disease management is continuing to increase. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the total direct and indirect cost of heart and vascular disease and stroke in the United States in 2009 was estimated to be $312.6 billion.
This cost is significantly higher than the costs associated with cancer management, which were around $228 billion in 2008.
What is “white coat” Hypertension?
I received a question from one patient (Sarah L) regarding her concern about abnormally high blood pressure at her physician’s office.
Sarah L told me that her blood pressure at home is always below 135/85 mm Hg, but interestingly, her blood pressure surges significantly at her physician’s office.
She is confused and doesn’t know which blood pressure numbers are important. She is especially concerned because of her strong family history of stroke and coronary artery disease.
Her father died at age 45 of a massive heart attack, and her aunt suffered a massive stroke at a young age.
Medications causing high blood pressure
Hypertension is the major risk factor for heart disease. Roughly every 34 seconds, one American has a heart-related event, and approximately every minute, an American will die of one.
Following medications could cause hypertension and blood pressure fluctuations.
Corticosteroids could result in significant fluid and sodium retention causing increased blood pressure.
There are steroids with higher mineralo-corticoid activity (affecting the adrenal gland) such as hydrocortisone and cortisone and lower mineralo-corticoid activity.
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can increase your blood pressure
The medications acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) have been available over the counter for many years. But what are the differences between these two medications?
The majority of people use these drugs interchangeably without knowing about their appropriate indications and possible side effects.
I have decided to write this article to help clarify several matters that are important to know before using any of the above medications.
First let’s put all the cards on the table.
Foods that lower blood pressure
I explained previously that the first line of treatment should be based on lifestyle changes and that nutrition plays a significant role in causing and treating elevated blood pressure.
Therefore, it’s very important for you to understand which foods could contribute to elevating your blood pressure and which ones could help you to reduce it.
Well-adjusted nutrition can improve your blood pressure in a significant way and hopefully decrease your future reliance on medications.
Do you want to prevent high blood pressure? Are you looking to manage your hypertension conservatively with fewer or no medications?
Do you like to learn about foods that lower blood pressure? Then, you should read the following article and share it with your friends and family members.
A healthy diet is essential regardless of an individual’s heart health. Many studies, including Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), provide evidence that healthy diet benefits the heart.
A healthy diet can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health problems.
Prevention of high blood pressure and cholesterol can prevent conditions such as heart, vascular and kidney disease, and stroke.
Below you’ll find evidence-based tips that could help reduce your blood pressure.
1) Low sodium intake:
Processed and fast foods are high in sodium. DASH diet found that lowering sodium intake reduces blood pressure. The average man eats 4,100 mg of sodium per day and women 2,650 mg, 75% of which comes from processed food.
Do you know your daily sodium intake?
Read all the above articles and share your thoughts on my Google + page with other readers.
Keep on Reading,
H. L. Daneschvar, MD, FACP