High Blood Pressure

Top Ten Hypertension FAQs

The best way to combat any disease is to first understand it. So, here are the top 10 FAQs on hypertension that will help you understand the condition better.

What causes high blood pressure?
Certain things that can lead to hypertension include a poor lifestyle in terms of little or no exercise, inappropriate diet, obesity, advanced age group, or genetics.

What is Normal Blood Pressure?
Normal blood pressure is defined as any reading which amounts to 120/80 mm HG or less on the blood pressure monitor. 120-139/80-89 is considered to be pre-hypertension blood pressure. Hypertension is surmised if the reading is greater than 140/90 mmHg.

How is Blood Pressure Measured?
A sphygmomanometer is generally used to measure the pressure and the reading is usually offered across a dial or a digital monitor depending on the model type and can be checked at home or by a trained physician.

What health problems are associated with hypertension?
o Atherosclerosis: hypertension contributes to the accumulation of plaque as well as fatty materials on the internal walls of the blood capillaries by adding to stressing out the artery walls.
o Heart disease: ischemic heart disease, heart failure and hypertensive, hyper tropic cardiomyopathies are all associated with hypertension.
o Kidney disease: hypertension can lead to damage of the blood capillaries and the filters within it, making it impossible for the organ to excrete waste properly.

How to tell if you have hypertension?
If you do have high blood pressure you may experience unusually strong headaches, chest pain or heart failure especially with conditions such as breathing and exercise difficulties.

When should you consult a doctor?
Ideally you should consult a doctor and stay in touch with him/her on a regular basis if you notice any of the above symptoms and also at other times when you're not responding to the prescribed treatment with little difference to your blood pressure readings or any side effects associated with the same.

What is the treatment for Hypertension?
While drugs will be prescribed by a physician, the lifestyle changes need to be brought about including aerobic exercising such as walking, quitting smoking, indulging in a proper diet, reducing salt intake and limiting alcohol intake.

What is the ideal hypertension diet?
The DASH diet or dietary approach to stop hypertension includes daily servings from various food groups including- vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

What are side effects of hypertension medications?

* Diuretics: headaches, low potassium levels in the blood or joint or muscle pains.
* ACE inhibitors: dry and persistent cough, high potassium within blood levels, diarrhea, fever.
* Angiotensin Receptor Blockers: muscle pain, fatigue, fainting or dizziness.
* Calcium Channel blockers: breathing trouble, dizziness, arrhythmia, swollen ankles.
* Beta blockers: light headedness or dizziness, inability to perform sexually, lowered heartbeat rate and drowsiness.

What medications trigger hypertension?

Avoid medications such as amphetamines, corticosteroids, hormones including birth control pills, Ritalin, cyclosporine, erythropoietin and migraine medication. OTC medication-specifically those for cold, asthma or appetite suppression- also need to be avoided.