It has been said that a person is as old as his blood vessels. There is, undoubtedly, a great deal of truth in this statement. Blood vessels are the lifelines to all of the body tissues. Any impairment of these lifelines or of the heart, which pumps blood through them, is certain to have far-reaching effects on the body. Nowadays a large percentage of people, especially from urban background suffers from some sort of cardiovascular disease, or disorder of the heart and blood vessels. This indicates the seriousness of this health problem. Here we give a complete guide on how to lower your high blood pressure.
There are many reasons why heart and blood vessel diseases have moved to first place among the causes of death. One reason is the increase in the number of middle-aged and older people in our population. In addition, heart and blood vessel diseases are related to diet, living habits, and high-pressure living. In most cases, young people have strong hearts and healthy blood vessels. It is true that some heart and blood vessel changes cannot be avoided. However, someone who understands these diseases and avoids conditions that lead to them later in life may add many happy and productive years to his life span.
What is Hypertension or high blood pressure?
While we usually associate hypertension with middle-aged or older people, it is not uncommon to find the condition in young people, even teenagers. Often, hypertension is mild and produces no symptoms, especially in the early stages. However, even as a mild condition, it is easily detected in a routine physical examination.
The thrombus or embolus has broken away into the bloodstream, is the principal cause of stroke. Sometimes bacterial action loosens a thrombus so it divides into fragments and breaks free from its wall anchorage. Any free-floating matter in the bloodstream can be a thrombus as air bubbles, clumps of fat, knots of cancer cells, or bacteria. These can be fatal for blood vessels.
Hypertension can result from a number of causes. The stress and emotional tension cause constriction, or narrowing of the arteries and, especially, the arterioles causing an increase in blood pressure. This is not damaging if it occurs only occasionally and then for only a short time. However, many people are emotionally tense for long periods of time. Fear, anger, or anxiety associated with business pressures, family difficulties, personal problems, or any other difficult and distressing situations, brought on by high pressure living, can cause hypertension.
Arteriosclerosis, or hardening of arteries
Hardening of the arteries, known medically as arteriosclerosis, is a leading cause of death today, especially among older people. The condition underlies most heart attacks, strokes, and circulation problems, especially in the limbs. Doctors are not sure whether high blood pressure causes hardening of the arteries or whether the arteries harden and bring on high blood pressure. However, the two conditions usually go hand in hand.
Extensive research is being conducted to find the causes and ways to prevent and, perhaps, cure arteriosclerosis. The blood cholesterol level can be checked routinely. It has been found that people with high blood cholesterol have a greater tendency to develop arteriosclerosis. There is some medical evidence that limiting the amount of solid fats of the saturated type, such as butter and meat fat in the diet help prevent arteriosclerosis. Other contributing factors may be emotional stress, excessive smoking, hormones, especially sex hormones, and heredity.
High blood pressure is not fatal, but persistent high blood pressure, especially after 50s can damage arteries and the heart. Untreated high blood pressure is the biggest reason of heart stroke and often called hypertension. Many people don’t understand blood pressure properly, they think blood pressure is a normal thing, it comes and goes. However, blood pressure is very significant and can damage our arteries and eventually our heart if not treated properly. If high blood pressure left untreated, it can damage our kidneys and eyes.
Blood pressure varies with the work and our lifestyle. It also varies with your diet and your stress level. There are many factors such as age, stress, weight, diet and others affect your blood pressure. High blood pressure per se rarely makes you ill. A small number of people get headaches but only if their blood pressure is very high. if your blood pressure is that high, you may have dizziness, blurry vision or nosebleeds.
What are the causes of high blood pressure?
Even though high blood pressure is more common among men there is no single cause. All these factors can contribute:
• Being overweight
• Drinking large amount of alcohol
• A stressful life
• Excessive salt intake
• Physical inactivity
• Kidney disease
There is a risk of damage to the arteries, heart, and kidneys with severe hypertension that’s left untreated. Arteries that have been damaged are at greater risk of being affected by atherosclerosis, in which fat deposits build up in blood vessel walls, causing them to narrow and restrict blood flow. After many years, damage to the arteries in the kidneys may lead to chronic kidney failure. The arteries in the retina of the eye may also be damaged by hypertension.
What is the treatment for high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can’t usually be cured but it can be controlled with treatment. The need for treatment is contingent on the level of blood pressure plus other risk factors that may damage blood vessels, for example, diabetes, continued smoking, or being overweight. So, treatment can vary from person to person and isn’t always dependent on a certain level of blood pressure.
If you have mild hypertension, changing your lifestyle is often the most effective way of lowering your blood pressure. If self-help measures aren’t effective your doctor may prescribe antihypertensive drugs. These drugs work in different ways, and you may be prescribed just one type of drug or a combination of several. There are many drugs for treating blood pressure and they will lower your blood pressure gradually over several weeks or months.
Dos and Don’ts in Hypertension
• If your weight is above normal for your height, you should aim to lose the extra pounds and bring your blood pressure down. You don’t need to aim for an ideal weight. Try to be within the healthy range for your height.
• Do eat fish, white meat, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, skimmed milk. Eat plenty of fruits and green vegetables. Grill food instead of frying.
• Don’t eat butter, cheese, and full-fat milk, fried food, snacks, cakes, cookies, chocolate.
• Do not drink alcohol to more than 21 units a week if you are a man, 14 units if you are a woman. Always avoid a big drinking session.
• A large amount of drink at night raises your blood pressure significantly the following day.
• Do look at your food labels. If it says sodium chloride (NaCl), sodium benzoate, or monosodium glutamate then you may be eating extra salt without realizing it.
• Cut down on processed foods. Salt is hidden in many processed foods such as tinned or packet soups, breakfast cereals, loaves of bread, tinned or processed fish, nuts, hamburgers, etc.
• Reducing smoking doesn’t directly affect your blood pressure, but it reduces the risk factors for high blood pressure by greatly reducing the chance of blood vessel damage that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
• Do exercise regularly to reduce your blood pressure and keep your weight down. It is also a good stress reliever. Stress is not the cause of high blood pressure, but it can aggravate raised blood pressure.
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