What are Blood Pressure and Hypertension?

Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted by your blood as it travels through your body. Blockages or clots in the vessels can increase your blood pressure. Try to picture your garden hose as a blood vessel. Without blockages or obstructions, it flows freely at a regular rate. If you block it partially using your finger, it suddenly flows rapidly, and, in a worst-case scenario, the hose might burst. It would make it more difficult for you to water your plants or wash your car. This might also cause a leakage in the faucet attached to the hose.

Your blood vessels function in the same way. Without blockages, blood travels quickly to your organs, providing them with that much-needed oxygen. But with obstructions, your heart has to work twice as fast to deliver the same amount of oxygen to those organs. This condition is called hypertension or high blood pressure. It’s a forerunner for other diseases like heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, to name a few. Having hypertension is a hassle as it would affect many aspects of your life, most especially work. You need to track your sick time accurately for any absences due to hypertension.

What is a Normal Blood Pressure?

According to WebMD, normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80, elevated blood pressure is equal to 120 to 129 over less than 80, whereas high blood pressure is anything beyond that. WebMD also stresses that if the blood pressure is already 180 or higher over 120 or higher, it’s high time for you to see a doctor and fast. When we talk of hypertension, we know it as merely an increase in blood pressure. But did you know that there are two types of hypertension known as primary and secondary? Did you also know that there is such a thing as resistant hypertension?

Primary hypertension is a type of hypertension that is not affected by external factors or other medical conditions. In contrast, secondary hypertension comes as a result of other medical conditions such as sleep apnea, blocked renal arteries, diabetes, and an increase of vasoconstricting hormones. When a strain of bacteria is no longer responding to certain medications or antibiotics, that strain is called a resistant strain of bacteria. Similarly, if to or three drugs no longer work against hypertension, it’s now called “resistant hypertension.” In this case, the doctor needs to research and create lab reports on new ways to fight hypertension.

What are the Causes and Risks of Hypertension?

An unhealthy lifestyle usually causes diseases and health conditions, which you can alter most of the time. Though we understand that living healthy can be difficult and costly, the cost of maintaining medications throughout your lifetime is much higher. WebMD lists some of the possible causes of hypertension, among which include smoking, lack of physical activity, excessive salt and alcohol consumption, to name a few. Those with a family history of hypertension also have higher risks of obtaining hypertension and other heart-related diseases. Some of these factors are manageable as long as they are in moderation.

The Possibility of a Stroke

Your organs serve a purpose in your body. Each organ is equally essential, and there is one thing needed by them to function correctly: oxygen. Once you inhale these oxygens, they get transported by the body through erythrocytes that are found in your blood. They play a vital role in your body. These cells get transported in your body through a pathway called the blood vessel. If for some reason, the pathway becomes blocked or obstructed, little or no oxygen will be delivered to the organs, thus causing organ failure. If the vessel going to the brain gets blocked, the brain gets affected and may shut down. It will fail to send locomotive instructions to your extremities. It might damage some nerves, of which some parts of your body become numb or uncontrollable, and your movements become restricted. This event is called a stroke. In cases like this, you would need a health care POA to act on your behalf for all medical-related decisions. Though not all strokes are caused by hypertension, it’s the leading cause of stroke.

It Can Be a Precursor to Other Diseases

According to the American Heart Association, there are about 103 million adults in the US with hypertension. Since hypertension involves the blood, it leads to other, more severe diseases. Stroke is only one among a few of those diseases that result from hypertension.

Each year, about 356,000 heart attacks occur outside a hospital as per AHA. Heart diseases are still the number one cause of death in the United States. The heart is made up of pure muscles, and it’s the one delivering oxygen to the rest of the body. If it starts working double-time to make up for the oxygen lost during the process, it will start getting exhausted, and at some point, will stop working. This is how cardiac arrests happen. If too much blood is pumping, too much calcium may be flushed out along the way, therefore reducing bone density and causing bone-related diseases. If there is too much blood sent to the kidney for filtering, the organ may not be able to accommodate everything, thus causing kidney failure. Hypertension is no laughing matter. Therefore, it is essential to closely monitor your blood pressure and lifestyle to live a longer, healthier life and warn yourself of the early onset of heart-related diseases.

Hypertension and Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer

Sometimes, we don’t realize that we have contracted a serious illness unless we start to feel its effects. Similarly, we don’t realize that we already have hypertension until we start developing heart diseases. We often don’t realize the extent of its damage until we consult a physician. Aside from it serving as a warning sign, there are also other reasons why we need to track or monitor our blood pressure constantly.

To find out if there is a misdiagnosis. There are times when your blood spikes outside the clinic due to psychological trauma. There are also times when your blood spikes inside the clinic due to stress or anxiety. Possible previous trauma or negative experiences can cause such anxiety. This is called the “white coat” effect. By monitoring your blood pressure constantly, you’d find out if you have real or false hypertension.To track if your medication is working. Hypertension medications are costly. With a lifetime of prescriptions, you’d have to make sure you have enough budget for it. It will be a waste of your finances if you invest on medications that do not work. That’s why you need to check if there’s an improvement to your blood pressure while taking medication.To save money. If you have company health insurance, take advantage of it as much a possible. However, if you don’t have access to insurance, monthly, or weekly doctor visits to check your blood pressure can be expensive. Thus, monitor your blood pressure at home using your blood pressure device and use our blood log templates for better monitoring.

Of course, monitoring your blood pressure is not as easy as it sounds, as you might easily misdiagnose your symptoms. So be sure to ask your doctor or nurse on proper ways to use your blood pressure device at home. Additionally, your doctor would make use of a SOAP note to track your health progress.

Foods Good For Hypertension and Blood Pressure Tracking

Aside from keeping a close eye on your blood pressure, it is also good to bank on a healthier diet in order to improve your blood pressure. Here are some of the foods listed by Healthline that are good for hypertension:

Banana. Banana is rich in potassium, which helps flush out the excess salt in the body, thus helping out your kidney in filtering the blood more effectively and reducing blood pressure.Oatmeal. Oatmeal is almost a staple food for everyone. Perhaps not one person in the United States has eaten oatmeal in their lives. It’s high in fiber and low in fat, thus making it an ideal food for hypertensive patients.Fish rich with omega-3s. Fish are already notorious for being a great source of nutrients, especially protein. It also has Omega-3s fatty acids, which help reduce blood pressure effectively.Dark chocolate. Rejoice, chocolate-lovers, for all, is not yet lost! A study shows that eating dark chocolate can lower the risk of heart diseases!Pistachio. A study proves that pistachio can help reduce blood pressure. So if you like eating nuts, but you have hypertension, now is the time to switch to pistachios.

How to Manage High Blood Pressure Using a Tracker

Hypertension, as we have stressed enough, is a severe health condition. Without even knowing it, it’s already done severe damage to your vessels. Once you have it, you have to have a checklist for the things that you should and shouldn’t do and food that you should avoid. However, there are ways to prevent or manage it. Although these are known ways to manage hypertension, you should still seek professional advice from a doctor for treatment.

Step 1. Keep Track of Your Hypertension Diet

Opt for foods that are rich in potassium, high in fiber, low in fat, and low in sodium in order to help yourself recover from hypertension.

Generally, anything that’s salty is terrible for hypertension. Salt can retain water. The excess water in your body can increase blood pressure. Thus, if you have hypertension, try to avoid salt or salty food as much as possible. Pickles are usually our favorite snack, but they have high sodium content. Canned foods also have high levels of sodium, as salt is an excellent food preservative. Sweets and sugars contribute to weight increase. Excess weight in the body can put pressure on the blood vessels. Alcohol is another thing that you need to avoid, as it increases the vasoconstricting hormones in the body. To summarize, too much salt or too much sugar is bad for hypertension. Moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

There has been a proven direct link between hypertension and salt. Eating salty food makes it harder for your body to process excess bodily fluid, thus causing hypertension. Make sure to moderate the amount of salty food you eat.

Step 2. Plan Your Exercise

By increasing your exercise, you help your body efficiently process the excess fluid and improve your blood circulation. Physical activity is always the key to a healthy life. But it’s not enough to say that you will start working out or exercising. You need to get it in writing just to make sure that it’s going to be a part of your daily routine.

Step 3. Track Your Weight

Fatty tissues will constrict your blood vessel and, in turn, increase blood pressure. Try to burn your body fats to lower the blood pressure. Additionally, a weight chart is an excellent tool to keep track of your weight.

Step 4. Document Alcohol Intake and Cut Down on It

It is no secret that excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to many serious health complications. It couldn’t be more accurate for hypertension. Alcohol increases specific hormones in the body, which constricts the blood vessels. The more you drink alcohol, the more the hormones increases, the higher the blood pressure becomes. Therefore, veer away from alcohol as much as possible.

Step 5. Cease Smoking

Smoking cessation is probably one of the hardest things to do to live a healthier lifestyle. However, smoking can not only damage your lungs but also increase your blood pressure. Abruptly quitting smoking may be impossible, so consult your doctor in ways to stop smoking.

Living a healthy lifestyle is hard, not to mention expensive. But as the old adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” It’s all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your body is a complex structure that was beautifully and wonderfully designed, humans, have yet to clone one. No science or physics can imitate human blueprint. It’s a gift that should never be wasted.