One of three Americans, or 70 million adults in U.S, are affected by hypertension, more known as high blood pressure.
This condition is quite common and it can be controlled if you know the symptoms and treat it properly and on time.
Majority are not even aware that they have hypertension, since they don’t experience none of its symptoms. The statistics show that one of five adult Americans suffer from high blood pressure but doesn’t know about it.
Luckily, many experts say that we can prevent and effectively treat hypertension with regular exercises and a healthy diet.
This common disease is in fact flowing of the blood through arteries and blood vessels at a pressure higher than the normal.
The U.S costs about high blood pressure are $64 billion per year, and they include health care services, off-days at work, and medications.
The standard medical recommendations for hypertension are reduced intake of salt, harmful beta-blockers, diuretics, and ACE inhibitor drugs.
Although these methods give some relief, they don’t treat the actual cause of hypertension, and can even provoke other health problems. For example, the recommended salt reduction for this treatment is controversial and questionable.
Blood pressure is actually the blood force that pushes it against arteries’ walls when the heart pumps blood. If this pressure is high, it causes hypertension.
There are two numbers in the blood pressure measurement. They present different pressures. The first one is the systolic pressure, which is the pressure during the beating of the heart while blood pumping, and the second is the diastolic pressure, or the pressure of the blood between heartbeats when the heart is resting.
Here are the blood pressure ranges:
- Normal blood pressure: Lower than 120/80
- Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89
- Hypertension stage 1: 140–159/90–99
- Hypertension stage 2: 160 and above/100 and above
Most of the time, patients don’t experience signs of raised blood pressure. But some common symptoms include: chest pain, confusion, vision problems, irregular heartbeat, nosebleeds, headaches, buzzing, and fatigue.
Once you notice some of these symptoms, you must react quickly in order to control the blood pressure. This is important since the life expectancy of people with high blood pressure at the age of 50 is 5 years shorter than those with normal blood pressure.
In 2013, there were more than 360,000 Americans who died as a result of high blood pressure as major or contributing factor.
On a daily basis that’s about 1,000 deaths, which makes high blood pressure an alarming and dangerous health problem that needs serious prevention and treatment.
Moreover, hypertension can increase the risk of numerous other health problems, such as:
- Chronic heart failure: It was discovered that 7 out of 10 patients with this condition have high blood pressure.
- Metabolic syndrome: Symptoms of high blood pressure increase the risk of this syndrome, which includes 3 or more of the next health problems: high blood sugar, low HDL cholesterol, abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure.
- Vision problems: Loss of vision can be caused by thickened, narrowed, or torn eye blood vessels as a result of hypertension.
- Aneurysm: Hypertension can cause weakened or bulged blood vessels, resulting in aneurysm. If it ruptures, aneurysm can cause death.
- First heart attack: One out of every ten people who had undergone first heart attack have hypertension.
- First stroke: Eight out of every ten people who had a first stroke have shown to suffer from high blood pressure.
- Memory problems: Hypertension can obstruct the ability to think, learn, memorize, remember, and understand concepts.
Hypertension vs. Hypotension
Along with other health changes, aging also causes elevated risk of both blood pressures, high (hypertension), and low (hypotension).
You can check out the values which set the boundaries of the normal, low, and high blood pressure above in this post.
These are some of the most important hypertension facts and symptoms:
- One of every three American adults suffer from high blood pressure, or that’s about 70 million American adults
- Just half of the people suffering from hypertension manage to control it
- About one of three adults in the United States suffer from prehypertension, or higher than normal blood pressure levels, but not in the range of high blood pressure
- The hypertension cost in U.S is $46 billion a year, and includes medications for the treatment, off-days from work, and health care services.
Usually, as the blood pressure levels raise, the person does not feel any specific symptoms. Nevertheless, some of the most common signs are:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Ear noise or buzzing
- Vision changes
- Chest pains
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
These are some of the most important facts about hypotension:
- In most cases, chronic low blood pressure, which doesn’t cause any symptoms, is not serious
- Usually, the person has a sudden blood pressure drop as soon s/he stands up from a lying position or vice versa. Another hypotension type appears when a person in in a standing position for a long time, known as mediated hypotension.
- About 10-20% of people older than 65 have postural hypotension.
- If the blood pressure has a sudden drop, the brain is prevented from getting the proper blood supply and can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, and this is the case when you should be concerned
- Aging impedes the proper blood flow to the brain and heart muscle, resulting in plaque accumulation in the blood vessels.
Your condition is not serious at all if you don’t feel some symptoms of hypotension. Many doctors state that it will become dangerous once the chronic hypotension causes symptoms like the following:
- Fast, shallow breathing
- Blurred vision
- Dehydration and strange thirst
- Cold, pale, clammy skin
- Lack of concentration
- Fainting (called syncope)
Also, this health problem can appear with:
- Endocrine problems
- Severe infection (septic shock)
- Neurally mediated hypotension
- Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) — the signs are breathing problems, hives, itching, swollen throat, and a sudden, dramatic drop in the blood pressure. Occasionally, it can be fatal allergic reaction in people highly sensitive to foods like peanuts, bee or wasp stings, or drugs like penicillin.
- Some medications, like diuretics and some other drugs prescribed for hypertension treatment; tricyclic antidepressants; drugs for Parkinson’s disease; drugs for erectile dysfunction, specifically combined with nitroglycerin; heart medications like beta blockers; narcotics and alcohol. It can as well be caused by other over-the-counter drugs if combined with HBP medications.
- Decreases in blood volume
- Heart problems
- Prolonged bed rest
- Nutritional deficiencies — A deficiency in the vitamins B12 and folic acid which can cause anemia and its symptoms, which lead to hypotension.