Blood cycles through the body in less than a minute, thousands of times daily. To achieve this, the pressure but be optimal while pushing against the walls of the arteries. Consistently high blood pressure (BP), known as hypertension, can have dangerous consequences for health and wellness. Over time, hypertension leads to artery damage, increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, or kidney damage. Today, over 30 million Americans are known to have hypertension, with over 670,000 deaths occurring yearly due to the condition. Understanding the signs and treatment options can lead to better management and a healthier life.
Managing high blood pressure
While many people have hypertension under control, some individuals have trouble managing the condition. The first step is to look for symptoms of hypertension and seek medical advice. Common symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, chest pain, and irregular heartbeats. The doctor will perform different tests before diagnosing hypertension. Hypertension requires medication and lifestyle changes to stay within a healthy range. These lifestyle changes include moderate exercise, a healthy diet, and quitting smoking and alcohol use. Over time, these changes, along with frequent blood pressure checks, should help with hypertension management.
Time to see a doctor?
There are cases where hypertension becomes challenging to manage, especially with age. A common sign is worsening symptoms, including severe headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, or confusion. These are signs of a hypertensive crisis, a sudden, sharp increase in blood pressure. Should this happen frequently, hypertension patients may require advanced treatment. Sometimes, lifestyle changes and medication fail to regulate blood pressure. Constant checks with an at-home monitor, for instance, may reveal high levels. This, along with pre-existing conditions like angina, diabetes, heart, or kidney disease, should prompt a visit to the doctor.
Possible treatment options
Hypertension that does not respond to initial treatment must be taken seriously. The doctor will provide other helpful information and medications. Some drugs can block enzymes responsible for a rapid heartbeat. Others regulate the tightness of artery walls or the nervous system. A pharmacist can also help by reviewing all medications. There may be another supplement or drug reducing the effectiveness of hypertension medication. The medical team will also look for underlying diseases causing hypertension. Continue to work on managing health along with stress reduction.
What does the future hold?
Hypertension cases will continue to rise due to diet choices and sedentary lifestyles. The condition is also difficult to manage since different factors can cause BP spikes at any time. However, a healthy diet, exercise, and medication can keep hypertension under control. When these fail, the situation can feel hopeless. A follow-up visit to the doctor may unlock underlying issues, provide alternative treatments, and improve the quality of life.