High blood pressure is technically known as hypertension. It is defined as a resting blood pressure in excess of 140/90. Many people have high blood pressure for a number of years with few or no symptoms. The problem is frequently noticed during an annual physical exam. However, over time, symptoms may develop, and there may be significant health consequences when blood pressure is not under adequate control.
Some common symptoms of high blood pressure are as follows:
Untreated high blood pressure can lead to one or more of the following conditions:
There are certain risk factors that will make a person more likely to develop high blood pressure including:
The good news is that high blood pressure is treatable and can usually be brought under adequate control as long as the patient is willing to do his or her part in the treatment process.
The first step in treating high blood pressure has to do with making lifestyle changes. Getting a proper amount of cardiovascular exercise will help to greatly decrease blood pressure over time. Walking is one of the best activities that people with high blood pressure can take part in. Before starting any type of exercise routine, it is best to seek the advice of a health care professional.
Another important lifestyle change is to eat a proper diet. A diet that is low in fat and red meat is important in lowering blood pressure. Sodium in the diet should also be limited as high sodium levels can raise blood pressure levels.
If these changes are not adequate in bringing blood pressure to an acceptable level, many medications are on the market to get the problem under control. The first line of medication is usually a thiazide diuretic such as hydrochlorathiazide. Thiazide diuretics are usually very effective in lowering blood pressure, and many of them are very reasonably priced. These medicines may be supplemented with other types of prescription drugs including beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors.