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 High Blood Pressure

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reggie
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reggie


Male Number of posts : 639
Age : 54
Registration date : 2007-07-26

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PostSubject: High Blood Pressure   High Blood Pressure Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 11:11 am

High Blood Pressure
By Mike Davison

The stresses of life may make you want to claim you have high blood pressure just to get people to lay off. But have you ever considered that you might actually have high blood pressure and not even know it? With approximately 58 million -- or one in four -- American adults suffering from high blood pressure, how do you know for certain if you are at risk? Arm yourself with the facts.
understanding blood pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force (or pressure) of blood against your artery walls is too great, causing excessive strain on your blood vessels.

This condition is dangerous because its damaging effects accrue over time and may not become apparent until an individual's blood pressure is shockingly high. This is why hypertension is sometimes known as a "silent killer."

The opposite extreme, known as hypotension, occurs when too little pressure causes an insufficient amount of blood to be pumped to the heart, brain and other internal organs, leading to dizziness or light-headedness.
what causes high blood pressure?
Several factors are known to increase blood pressure, or primary hypertension, including a personal or family history of high blood pressure, obesity, heavy alcohol use, high sodium intake, and aging. A sedentary lifestyle, excess stress, low potassium intake, low calcium intake, and resistance to insulin may also cause blood pressure to rise.

Black people are at a greater risk for high blood pressure than white people, though most white males over the age of 50 are at considerable risk of developing the disease. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 64% of men aged 75 and over have hypertension.

High blood pressure due to a medical condition or a side effect from medication is known as secondary hypertension.

However, elevated blood pressure may not always indicate high blood pressure per se. For some people, just being in a medical setting or having their blood pressure measured by a doctor causes their blood pressure to rise. This is referred to as white-coat hypertension .
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reggie
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reggie


Male Number of posts : 639
Age : 54
Registration date : 2007-07-26

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PostSubject: Re: High Blood Pressure   High Blood Pressure Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 11:12 am

how is blood pressure measured?
In terms of quantifying your blood pressure, there are two numbers that must be taken into consideration: systolic and diastolic measurements.

Systolic measurement: This is the pressure of blood against your artery walls when the heart has just finished pumping. It is the first or top number of a blood pressure reading. It is generally 100 or more, typically in the 120 to 135 range.

Diastolic measurement: This is the pressure of blood against your artery walls between heartbeats, when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood. It is the second or bottom number in a blood pressure reading. It is generally 85 or less.
what do the readings mean?
There are four different levels of blood pressure: optimal, normal, high normal, and high. High blood pressure is divided into three stages, depending on the severity of the readings. The different blood pressure levels and several recommended treatments are outlined in this table:

Blood Pressure Readings & Treatments
Optimal Normal High Normal
(Borderline)
Reading:
# Systolic less than 120 mm Hg
# Diastolic less than 80 mm Hg
# Reading: Systolic less than 130 mm Hg
# Diastolic less than 85 mm Hg
Reading:
# Systolic 130 to 139 mm Hg
# Diastolic 85 to 89 mm Hg
Treatment:
# Work on preventative medicine
# Lead an active lifestyle
Treatment:
# Maintain healthy habits
# Exercise
# Diet
Treatment:
# Pay closer attention to diet and lifestyle risk
High
(Stage 1) Moderate High
(Stage 2) Critical High
(Stage 3)
Reading:
# Systolic 140 to 159 mm Hg
# Diastolic 90 to 99 mm Hg
Reading:
# Systolic 160 to 179 mm Hg
# Diastolic 100 to 109 mm Hg
Reading:
# Systolic 180 mm Hg or higher
# Diastolic 110 mm Hg or higher
Treatment:
# Can usually be modified with lifestyle changes
Treatment:
# Medication required
# Control other conditions
# Change lifestyle
Treatment:
# Medication essential
# Close monitoring needed
what are the symptoms?
Until a certain level of damage has been accumulated over time, high blood pressure patients typically exhibit few or no symptoms. In the more severe stages of high blood pressure (stages 2 and 3), a patient may experience headaches, vomiting, nausea, and visual disturbances.

Over time, the strain of hypertension can cause vessels to block, narrow or weaken, cause clots to form, which can damage the heart and arteries, lead to arteriosclerosis and stroke, damage the kidneys and precipitate renal failure, and cause retinopathy (severe damage to the retina of the eye).
how is it diagnosed?
At your yearly medical checkup, your doctor will take your blood pressure and that is when you could discover that it is higher than normal. Between checkups, you can go to a local pharmacy that has an automatic blood pressure monitor and test yourself. If the reading comes out higher than normal, check with your physician to determine the reading's accuracy.

Usually, a diagnosis of hypertension is given if blood pressure measurements are high (usually above 140/90 mm Hg) on multiple readings -- usually on three or more separate occasions, measured one to two weeks apart.
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reggie
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reggie


Male Number of posts : 639
Age : 54
Registration date : 2007-07-26

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PostSubject: Re: High Blood Pressure   High Blood Pressure Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 11:13 am

what are the treatments?
High blood pressure that is stage 1, primary or slightly above normal can sometimes be treated with lifestyle changes like losing weight, changing bad eating habits, consuming less salt and fat, quitting smoking and heavy drinking, reducing stress, and exercising. Sometimes it is necessary for a patient to check his blood pressure at home to make sure the lifestyle changes are working.

If blood pressure reaches stage 2 or 3, medication is usually necessary. Here are four examples of common classes of drugs used to treat high blood pressure:

* ACE inhibitors prevent a hormone called angiotensin from being released into the body and therefore help to open up the blood vessels.

* Diuretics or thiazide diuretics, sometimes called water tablets, work by helping to get rid of excess salt and water in the body. Water tables mimic the effects of reducing salt in the diet.

* Beta blockers slow down the heart, reducing strain and pressure, and also systemically lower angiotensin levels and other hormones regulating blood pressure. Beta blockers also dilate blood vessels and reduce the amount of work the heart needs to do to pump blood throughout the body.

* Calcium channel blockers are another class of vasodilators that open up the blood vessels and reduce the workload and strain exerted on the heart by the vascular system.

under control
As in all matters of the heart, exercise caution and prevention. If you remain active, don't smoke, maintain a balanced diet, reduce your salt intake, and treat your body well, you can expect to avoid some of the damaging effects of high blood pressure. But if you experience symptoms, keep an eye out for high blood pressure levels because they could be the first warning sign of heart troubles to come.

Resources:
http://my.webmd.com
www.bpassoc.org.uk
www.cdc.gov
www.patient.org.uk
www.yourmedicalsource.com
www.takethepressureoff.com
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