Wednesday, 12 October 2016

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure

Did you know that one in three American adults has high blood pressure? That number may surprise you. According to a report from the American Heart Association, high blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths per day. For this reason, it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly — and get treatment if you have high blood pressure.(1)


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What are the symptoms of high blood pressure:

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known. However, some things may play a role in its development, including:

Smoking
Being overweight
Lack of physical activity
Too much salt in the diet
Drinking too much alcohol (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
Older age
Family history of high blood pressure (heredity)
Race (African Americans have high blood pressure more often and more severely than White Americans)
Having chronic kidney disease
Can children get high blood pressure?

Yes, although high blood pressure is less common in children. Regular blood pressure checkups should begin during childhood and continue throughout life.

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

Most people with high blood pressure do not have any symptoms. You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. For this reason, it is often called a “silent killer.” The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure during your office visits. Everyone — both children and adults ­— should have regular blood pressure checks.

Did you know that one in three American adults has high blood pressure? That number may surprise you. According to a report from the American Heart Association, high blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths per day. For this reason, it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly — and get treatment if you have high blood pressure.(1)

What causes high blood pressure?

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known. However, some things may play a role in its development, including:

Smoking
Being overweight
Lack of physical activity
Too much salt in the diet
Drinking too much alcohol (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
Older age
Family history of high blood pressure (heredity)
Race (African Americans have high blood pressure more often and more severely than White Americans)
Having chronic kidney disease
Can children get high blood pressure?

Yes, although high blood pressure is less common in children. Regular blood pressure checkups should begin during childhood and continue throughout life.

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a serious disease that can, over time, damage the blood vessel walls and increase a person's risk of heart attack, stroke and other conditions.

Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the blood vessel walls. Having high blood pressure means that this force is higher than it should be, and could lead to health problems.

There are two types of blood pressure measurements: Systolic blood pressure, which is a measure of the force of the blood when the heart beats, and diastolic blood pressure, or the force of the blood between heart beats. A person is considered to have high blood pressure when their systolic pressure is 140mmHg or higher most of the time, or when their diastolic pressure is 90 mmHg or higher most of the time, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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About one-third of U.S. adults, or 70 million people, have high blood pressure, and only about half have it under control, according to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors can help prevent high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, experts say.

"High blood pressure is really a disease of the Western world, and if we can do our best to work on diet and exercise and stress relief, we could take a huge amount of this burden down," said Dr. Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist at National Jewish Health in Denver.

Causes

Most of the time, doctors cannot find a specific cause of hypertension, and this is known as essential hypertension. Certain factors increase the risk of developing hypertension, including being obese, drinking too much alcohol, eating a lot of salt, smoking and having diabetes. Aging also increases the risk of hypertension because blood vessels become stiffer with age, the NIH says. About 65 percent of U.S. adults ages 60 and older have high blood pressure, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Being under stress can also increase your blood pressure temporarily, but stress is not a proven risk factor for hypertension. Still, some studies have linked mental stress and depression with risk of high blood pressure. A 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who felt pressed for time or were inpatient had higher odds of developing high blood pressure over a 15-year period, than people who did not feel such time pressure.

Certain medical conditions and medications can also raise blood pressure, and this is known as secondary hypertension. Conditions such as chronic kidney disease, preeclampsia during pregnancy, and disorders of the adrenal gland can cause high blood pressure.

Symptoms

People with high blood pressure usually have no symptoms, and so patients can have the condition for years without knowing it, according to NHLBI.

"We call it the 'silent killer,'" because patients are often asymptotic, Freeman said. In rare cases, some people with high blood pressure experience headaches.

Although many patients may not have symptoms at first, over time, high blood pressure can lead to "wear and tear" on the body, Freeman said. For example, high blood pressure can stretch and damage blood vessels, which in turn, can increase the risk of health problems, according to the American Heart Association. Stretched blood vessels can have weak spots that are more likely to rupture, leading to a hemorrhagic strokes or aneurysms, AHA says. Stretching of the blood vessels can also cause tears and scars that create places for cholesterol or blood to build up.

Diagnosis

High blood pressure is diagnosed from a blood pressure test. Typically, doctors place a blood pressure cuff on the arm, which has a gauge that measures pressure in the blood vessels. Patients should avoid drinking coffee or smoking cigarettes for 30 minutes before the test, because such behaviors can increase blood pressure temporarily, the NHLBI says.

Because a person's blood pressure can vary depending on a number of factors, including the time of day, a doctor will usually check blood pressure several times and different appointments before diagnosing someone with high blood pressure.

Freeman said that he will often have patients use a device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, which patients wear at home, and which takes a blood pressure reading about every 30 minutes. This device can show whether a person really does have hypertension, and how well they are responding to treatment, he said. If a patient doesn't want to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, they can also use a home blood pressure monitor to manually check their blood pressure. "You get a lot better idea of what's going on," if you track blood pressure with one of these devices, Freeman said.

Doctors may measure blood pressure in both arms to see if there is a difference in readings, the Mayo Clinic says. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people whose systolic blood pressure readings differed by 10 mmHg or more between their right and left arms were nearly 40 percent more likely to have cardiovascular problems, bush as a heart attack or stroke, over a 13-year period.

Doctors may also recommend other tests to look for indicators of heart disease, such as high cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic says
Most people with high blood pressure do not have any symptoms. You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. For this reason, it is often called a “silent killer.” The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure during your office visits. Everyone — both children and adults ­— should have regular blood pressure checks.

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