Have you checked your Blood Pressure recently? – Good advice by Dr. Harold
You get high blood pressure as you get older. Being a slow process of increase, you may not have any prodromal signs, until one day you feel dizzy. Blood pressure is cause by pushing the blood from the left lower chamber of your heart against the walls of the arteries that develops a resistance due to thickening (arteriosclerosis). As you know, your doctor will give you two readings when he checks your BP: upper pressure represents the pressure caused by the contraction of the left lower chamber of the heart (ejection pressure), and the lower reading represents the diastolic pressure due to the pressure in the arteries as the heart dilates.
In healthy active situation the best readings of your BP should be-systolic 120mm and your diastolic below 80 mm. High blood pressure (hypertension) is now defined as systolic pressure more than 130mm. and your diastolic pressure is more than 80mm. When your BP is over 180/120 you might go into a crisis and end up in the ICU.
If your home reading is over 140/80 you need to see your doctor soon to take measures to bring down the values to normal range.
The danger of having a sustained high systolic pressure is that the situation strains the heart due to the increased systolic pressure and may lead to heart muscle thickening (hypertrophy) and if neglected leading to heart failure which may be irreversible.
Further, symptoms with neglected high BP could be severe headaches, fatigue and tiredness at rest, vision blurring, chest pain, breathing problems, irregular pulse rates, blood in the urine, and pounding in the chest (palpitations), neck and ears.
Remember with continued high BP, you damage your arterial walls, risk heart disease, chronic kidney disease and may get a stroke.
If you are a diabetic, your chances of getting high blood pressure are high and you need to check your BP more frequently.
There are factors that can increase your BP, and you should attempt to eradicate them:
Smoking, Over-weight and obesity, lack of physical exercise, too much salt with your food, over-indulgence in alcohol consumption, aging, family history and genetics, stress at work, chronic kidney disease, and sleep apnea.
Conclusions: Please check your BP at least once in six months. Eradicate all risk factors. Your doctor will give you medication for hypertension, if it cannot be brought down by correcting the factors that’s causing it.
There are three kinds of medication you may get with persistent high BP. (1) Release the pressure on the heart muscle by giving calcium channel blockers to slow the heart. (2) Dilate the peripheral arteries by giving dilators. (3) control rapid heart rate by giving beta-blockers.
For older people, your doctor will prescribe medication to counteract the pressure caused by a hormone secreted in the kidneys called ‘angiotensin’. Angiotensin causes contraction of blood vessels, a natural mechanism in the body to compensate blood loss resulting in low BP (hypotension). These drugs are called ACE inhibitors, (angiotensin converting enzymes), and ARB drugs (angiotensin receptor blockers). Your doctor may prescribe a diuretic to pass more urine.
This is a brief account to make you understand the significance of untreated hypertension and the classification of medications you will be prescribed for hypertension.