Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Overview of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

If you are suffering from high blood pressure then you aren’t alone!

About 18% of people and 1 out of 3 people from the age of 40 and above are suffering from High BP in Pakistan. Let’s have a deeper insight into High BP.

Hypertension also commonly known as High Blood Pressure or HBP ( ہائی بلڈ پریشر) is a health condition in which the blood flowing in your blood vessels is extremely high.

High Blood Pressure Meaning in Urdu

ہائی بلڈ پریشر ایک عام بیماری ہے جو کہ ہر سال لاکھوں لوگوں کو متاثر کرتی ہے۔ یہ ایک ایسی بیماری ہے جو کہ خون کی شریانوں پر اثر انداز ہوتی ہے۔ ہائی بلڈ پریشر کو ہائپرٹینشن بھی کہا جاتا ہے۔ اس بیماری کی بنیادی علامات میں سر درد، سانس لینے میں مشکلات، ناک سے خون بہنا، اور دل کی بے ترتیب دھڑکن شامل ہے۔ جب کہ کچھ لوگوں میں ہائی بلڈ پریشر کی علامات ظاہر نہیں ہوتیں۔ ہائی بلڈ پریشر کی وجہ سے اسٹروک، دل کے دورے، اور دل کی دائمی ناکامی کے خطرات میں اضافہ ہو جاتا ہے۔

The heart is the main organ that supplies blood throughout the body. As blood travels, it delivers oxygen to each cell of the body. Sometimes, it becomes difficult for the heart to pump blood. This can be due to many reasons and one such is when the artery of the heart becomes extremely narrow.

Constant high blood pressure is extremely life-threatening as it puts an immense strain on the walls of the arteries leading to a heart attack or stroke.

How to Measure Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is basically determined by the resistance of the blood in your arteries, and by the amount of blood, your heart pumps in the body. If your heart is pumping more blood, it means that your arteries are narrow and this ultimately shows you are suffering from high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Diastolic blood pressure is the lower number on the “blood pressure monitor machine” which signifies that the heart is resting between the beats. While systolic pressure is the top reading and it is the measure of the blood pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure can affect anyone in any part of life. You can suffer from high blood pressure and have no symptoms. However, no need to worry, high blood pressure can be easily detected because your heart will continue to be affected and it will cause damage to your blood vessels. You can easily treat high BP with your doctor’s help. 

Since high BP can remain undetected it is also known as a “silent killer”. 

Here are some common signs and symptoms of High BP:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nosebleeds
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Breathlessness
  • Heart Palpitations

These signs and symptoms aren’t specific to High BP, but if someone is continuously suffering from these symptoms, they should consult the doctor as soon as possible. Some symptoms can be specific to certain age groups as well.

Signs and Symptoms in Newborn/Babies

Neonates or newborns too can have a High BP if they are suffering from any heart or kidney disease. 

Some of the symptoms are:

  • Respiratory issues 
  • Lethargy or inactivity
  • Failing to nourish and grow properly
  • Irritability
  • Seizures

The signs and symptoms can vary in babies depending on their health issues.

Signs and Symptoms in the Children

The risk of High BP in children increases if they suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart issue, thyroid problems or any genetic disease and disorders. As adults, the children too, might not show any signs and symptoms. 

However, if the symptoms do occur, it includes:

  • Nose Bleeding
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue etc

Signs and Symptoms in Teenagers

Teenagers can suffer from High BP due to hidden health issues such as 

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Hormonal disease and disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Vascular diseases affecting the blood vessels
  • Diabetes

Signs and Symptoms in the Women

Risk of the high BP varies between males and females due to hormonal factors. The risk factor of High BP particularly increases in females during menopause, pregnancy, and while using contraceptive pills.

In pregnancy, high BP is due to ‘Pre-eclampsia- a disorder in females during pregnancy that can potentially affect both the fetus and the woman. 

The symptoms of “pre-eclampsia” include distorted vision, swelling due to edema,  pain in the abdominal region, and headaches. Pregnant women are hence advised to follow all precautions and guidelines as provided by their medical health officer.

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Types of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

There are two major types of High BP, depending upon the onset of High BP in a person.

  • Essential or Primary High BP 
  • Secondary High BP

Essential or Primary High BP 

This form of High BP develops slowly and gradually in a person over the course of many years. Lack of physical exercise, poor eating habits, obesity, genetic disorders and underlying health conditions are the potential risk factors for primary high bp.

Secondary High BP

This secondary High BP is sudden without any warning signs and symptoms. This is due to the underlying health conditions of a person. The medical health condition and the medication that leads to this type of high BP are

 

  • Kidney disorders
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS)
  • Tumors of adrenal glands
  • Congenital defects 
  • Medications and drugs such as pain-killers, contraceptive pills, decongestants, cold remedies
  • Narcotics drugs (such as meth, amphetamines, and cocaines
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Risk Factors of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Like any other disease and disorder, High Blood Pressure has its risk factors as well. It includes:

  • Age:  High BP is more common in men than in women after the age of 65 years. However, the risk of High BP increases with age.
  • Physically Inactive: Being physically inactive is the potential risk factor. If a person is physically inactive, the heart rate would be high. If the heart rate is high,  it puts an immense strain on the arteries making your heart put extra effort to pump blood, thus leading to high blood pressure.
  • Family History: Studies have suggested that high BP has the ability to run into a family.
  • Obesity (Overweight): Being overweight is a definite calling for many diseases and disorders. When a person is obese, more nutrients and oxygen is needed by the cells of the body. Due to this, the blood flow increases in the arteries leading to an increase in pressure on the walls of arteries and eventually resulting in High BP.
  • Using Tobacco and its products: Smoking and use of tobacco is injurious to health. The arteries of your heart can be severely damaged whether you chew or smoke tobacco. Consuming tobacco in any form shrinks the arteries of the heart, increasing the pressure on the walls of arteries and escalating the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Excessive use of salt in diet: Your body is able to retain more fluid which leads to high BP if you are using excessive sodium salt in your diet. However, if you are using less potassium salt in your diet, again this causes high BP. This is due to the reason that potassium actually helps in balancing the amount of sodium in your body cells, which can normalize your BP.
  • Stress: It is the main catalyst for many diseases and disorders. Taking stress can temporarily increase your BP, however, prolonged stress can also permanently alter your normal blood pressure and even health. The use of tobacco, alcohol, or any other narcotic drugs to release stress causes high BP and other underlying health conditions.
  • Sleep apnea, diabetes, pregnancy, insomnia, processed foods, and drinking alcohol also triggers high BP.

Health Complications and Harmful Effects of High Blood Pressure

In order to maintain the functions of the body, normal blood pressure is very necessary. But, if you are suffering from high blood pressure and if it goes uncontrolled, it can seriously damage your blood vessels. 

Uncontrolled and high blood pressure can lead to several life-threatening  complications such as 

 

  • Aneurysm
  • Brain Haemorrhage 
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Memory loss or dementia
  • Kidney disorders such as chronic kidney diseases (blood vessels in the kidneys get shrink)
  • Risk of Angina
  • The blood vessels in the eyes can be narrowed, thicken, and broken
  • Trouble in understanding and accessing things

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Prevention

You can easily maintain a healthy BP and reduce the risk of high BP by living a healthy life. 

The following are simple yet effective lifestyle changes that would help you maintain your normal blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.

  • Healthy Diet- Adding fresh vegetables and fruits are a must in your diet. Opt for a diet plan with your healthcare provider regarding foods that are rich in fibre, potassium, sodium, and saturated fats. Avoid foods that have highly saturated fats and high cholesterol increasing foods.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight- Obesity and being overweight increase your risk of having high BP and heart diseases. You need to maintain a healthy body weight. You can reach out to your healthcare provider for a personalized diet plan and exercises to maintain your body weight.
  • Avoid Smoking- Smoking is a silent killer. Not only smoking increases your risk of high bp but also your risk of various heart illnesses. Quitting smoking will help you in so many ways.
  • Be Active- Sitting all day can only affect your health in a negative way. As per various research, you need to exercise for at least 20 minutes a week. 
  • Get Enough Sleep- Getting enough sleep of about 8 hrs daily is good for your overall health. Adequate sleep keeps your blood vessels and hearts healthy. Sleeping less can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and various heart diseases. 
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
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Diagnosis

Blood pressure is diagnosed by either manual “sphygmomanometer using a stethoscope” or by opting for a digital blood pressure measuring device. Following is the reference chart that shows the various readings for normal bp, high blood pressure, and even acute high BP.

Blood Pressure Measurement Chart

Blood Pressure Category 

Systolic Pressure (mmHg)

Diastolic Pressure (mmHg)

Normal BP

Less than 120

Below 80

Hypertension (High BP)

120-129

Below 80

High BP (Stage 1)

130-139

80-90

High BP (Stage 2)

140 or above

90 or above

Hypertensive Crises (Acute High BP)

Over 180

Over 120

 

The reading of BP can also vary if you are checking your bp after eating food, at a particular time of the day, with anxiety, or stress. To further confirm the high blood pressure your doctor would even examine your urine and blood reports and would also do your “Exercise Tolerance Test”.

Treatment of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) | When to Consult a Doctor

Anyone can be the victim of this silent killer so checking BP should be part of your regular appointment with your doctor. You might not be having any signs and symptoms but, even then screening would show that you suffer from high bp. When you are particularly in the risk factor age group i.e 40 and above then it becomes very crucial for you to keep a check on your blood pressure. The other age groups are not an exception if you are in 18-39 years of age, you should regularly check your BP.

If you are among those people who don’t regularly visit the doctor, then you can either opt for a digital blood pressure monitoring device or get your blood pressure checked by your local medical health officer. You might also be able to find that some stores or pharmacies can check your blood pressure for free. While opting for a digital blood pressure measuring device, ask your doctor to guide you properly since there are some limitations and proper ways to measure BP.

Not only will your doctor check your blood pressure but will also guide you on how to control your BP. Simple lifestyle changes and avoiding the risk factors can help in controlling high blood pressure. And, when medication is necessary, your doctor will prescribe you medicines and other necessary treatments.

Doctors to treat Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Last updated on Sunday 23/10/2022

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Dr. Muhammad Kashif Zafar

Cardiologist | MBBS, FCPS, FCPS

Punjab Institute of CardiologyRs 1500

Omar Hospital and Cardiac CentreRs 1500

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98%

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29

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Highly recommended. Very good Doctor.

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Dr. Muhammad Saleem Akhtar

Cardiologist | FCPS, MBBS, MCPS

Hameed Latif HospitalRs 3000

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Today’s Slots

97%

Satisfaction Rate

21

Years

Highly Recommended

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Dr. Riaz Zulqurnain Aslam

Cardiologist | MBBS, DIC

Iqra Medical ComplexRs 2000

7

Today’s Slots

99%

Satisfaction Rate

34

Years

Very supportive doctor, experience was good.

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