5 Signs Of High Blood Pressure You Should Know About
The fast-paced, stress-ridden life of today has made hypertension or high blood pressure a household name. An estimated 30% of women and 32% of men suffer this health complication. Seems like a pretty big number, right? Doesn’t seem to be that true given how few people around you suffer from it.
Hypertension is a serious disease and what makes it all the alarming is that most people don’t even know they suffer from it, as it actually has no symptoms. This has rightly earned it the name “silent killer”. This lack of symptoms makes it very easy for this silent killer to lead to heart attacks and stroke, before the sufferer even knows anything is wrong.
Understanding What High Blood Pressure Really Is
High blood pressure occurs when there is an excessive pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of the blood vessels. The result is damage done to the blood vessels over time which leads to plaque build-up. This plaque then obstructs the arteries, depriving the body of the blood and oxygen needed for normal functioning.
Some Important Facts You Should Know about High Blood Pressure
1) According to World Health Organizatio (WHO), there are over 2 million deaths per year from high blood pressure.
2) High blood pressure has a risk of stroke and is the main risk factor for heart attack and heart failure.
3) Of all adults diagnosed with hypertension, only about 25% have the condition under control.
4) High blood pressure affects more non-Hispanic black adults (54%) than non-Hispanic white adults (46%) and more non-Hispanic Asian adults (39%) than Hispanic adults (36%)
5) Your risk of developing high blood pressure increases if you are obese, drink heavily, take contraceptives or have a family history of the disease.
6) There is some link between hypertension and dementia and having uncontrolled hypertension increases your risk of dementia later on.
7) Contrary to widely held notions, young people also get affected by hypertension. Research has shown that 25% of men and 20% of women aged 35 – 44 years have hugh blood pressure.
8) High blood pressure has been dubbed the “Silent Killer” and this is because most times, it comes with no symptoms. There are about 11 million US adults with this disease who are unaware they have it.
9) Anxiety could be mistaken for hypertension and it sometimes causes a spike in your blood pressure.
10) High blood pressure affects races disproportionately and Black Americans are more at risk of it than any other race.
11) There is some speculations that the female hormone estrogen may protect women against hypertension, which is why less women seem to be affected. However, a woman’s risk increases once she becomes menopausal.
12) High blood pressure doesn’t necessarily kill the sufferers, but it does lead to other health complications that do.
13) With the right medications and needed lifestyle adjustments, people with hypertension can still live a healthy life.
14) Research has shown that living a sedentary lifestyle has been puts you at risk of high blood pressure. It also increases your risks of other health complications like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, colon cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, depression and anxiety
15) Walking daily has been known to reduce your risks of high blood pressure and you should aim for at least 10,000 steps daily.
16) You should check with your healthcare provider if planning to lose weight as some weight loss drugs can actually worsen the situation.
How to Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
Since hypertension is asymptomatic and also potentially deadly, how can you tell you should be alarmed or not? Here are some age-long tips that will help put your mind at rest:
1) Get Your Blood Pressure Checked
Getting regular blood pressure checkups is one of the best ways to guard against this health complications. Even with this disease presenting with no symptoms, these checkups will be able to pick up on any change in your blood pressure before things get out of hand.
The ideal blood pressure reading is 120/80, however, this reading can fluctuate, depending on a few factors and the time of the day. Things that can affect your blood pressure reading and make it appear slightly higher or lower than normal include hormone levels, stress, pain, nicotine from cigarettes, caffeine and certain diseases.
However, you can get a clearer reading if you make it a habit to check weekly when you are hydrated, calm and in the right frame of mind. Your readings should remain steady or below the ideal reading for you to be diagnosed as healthy.
If you notice a reading of over 130/80 for three consecutive weeks, you should consider seeing your doctor.
Checking your blood pressure is quite an easy task as every doctor’s clinic has a reading machine, so do most of the drug stores. You can also decide to get the machine for yourself as it isn’t that expensive to not be affordable. Staying up to date on your blood pressure statistics is the safest way to help.
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2) Regular Headaches and Brain Fog
While high blood pressure most often is asymptomatic, there are times when it does presents with some symptoms and one of such symptoms you can expect to see is constant headaches and brain fog.
However, this indicator shouldn’t be depended on solely to diagnose hypertansion as a lot of conditions have headaches as a symptom. In most cases, brain fog and headache are just a sign you are exhausted and need rest.
These symptoms should be associated with high blood pressure only when you have reached a very severe stage. If you experience a mild or a severe headache, accompanied by a nosebleed or not, which you cannot attribute to any apparent reason, then it is best to get your blood pressure checked as soon as possible.
Chances are exhaustion probably got your reading on the meter up, but even if that is the case, you need to start getting regular with your blood pressure checks.
3)Bloating and Decreased Urination
Yet another symptom that points to high blood pressure is bloatedness and a decreased urination. Quite a number of people feel bloated at certain times and some women are known to have this feeling around the time or during their periods, which is not a cause for concern.
However, if you get the bloated feeling mid-cycle and cannot point at a reason for it, then you just might be experiencing high blood pressure. It is therefore, essential you keep track of your normal urinary habits as this could be a pointer as to the state of your health.
Dizziness is yet another symptom of high blood pressure. Most people with this disease usually report this sign. While other factors like dehydration, positional change and having a low blood sugar can cause dizziness, in these cases, the dizziness subsides after a while.
If, however, you experience continuous dizziness over regular periods of time then you should see a doctor and soon to rule out any serious health complications.
5) Blurry or Otherwise Affected Vision
Problems with your vision might be pointers to the fact all is not well with that sense. It might be completely unrelated to any other underlying condition or it could. The vision is one organ that gets easily affected by changes in the body. High blood pressure affects the eyes by making the blood vessels in the eyes swell up and this is what causes changes in your vision.
You should have your eyes checked if you feel like your vision is getting affected or is blurry, book to have your eyes examined as soon as you can. It might just be a slightly innocent case of changed vision that would require no more than a new lens or it could be a symptom of high blood pressure that got caught in time.
Blurry eye is one symptom too shows up quite late , so, if your vision has started to go south, then it is very likely you have hypertension.
Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure
While anyone can develop this condition, certain factors places you at risk of it. This include:
Genetics plays a huge role in whether you will develop hypertension later on. If one of your parents or any other relative you have suffered from this condition, then your risk of it increases.
This doesn’t exactly mean you will have the disease, but it does mean you have to make more conscious efforts to prevent it.
2) Being Overweight or Obese
Being overweight means your body has to work twice as hard pumping blood to get nutrients and oxygen around your body and this puts undue pressure on your blood vessels.
3) Taking Too Much Salt (sodium) and Too Little Potassium in Your Diet
Too much sodium means your body retains more water, causing your arteries to constrict, which can put pressure on your blood vessels.
Pottasium helps balance the sodium in your system and having too little means your sodium will be much higher than it should.
4) Not Exercising
Exercising improves blood flow, which keeps your blood pressure stabilized.
Other factors that havealso been known to put you at risk of hypertension include excessive drinking, stress, certain cough and cold medcations, a diet low in vitamin A and using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.