Hypertension is a serious condition where one’s heart is pumping blood at an abnormal rate, causing elevated blood pressure. While this condition may just be temporary from nerves, most hypertension sufferers have to do a lot of work to get their blood pressure down to normal levels. This condition can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other problems associated with organ damage or failure. Older adults and senior citizens are at elevated risk if they have hypertension.
Hypertension is when you have high blood pressure, but where exactly does hypertension start? Normal blood pressure is around 120/80, with 120 being peak pressure and 80 being minimum pressure. Between 120/80 and 139/89, you are considered to be in prehypertension, meaning you are at risk for hypertension.
From 140/90 and up, you are considered to have hypertension. Usually, when you are first diagnosed, the doctor will want to have a physical to prove if you have this condition or not. That is because certain factors, such as mood, nervousness or excitement can elevate your heart rate. A physical will prove if you really have this condition.
What Causes Hypertension?
When hypertension is diagnosed, it falls into two categories: essential and secondary. Secondary is when the direct cause is known, such as organ failure, kidney disease or certain pills. However, about 95% of all cases are essential, meaning the direct cause is unknown. Despite this, doctors know about many different factors that can lead to hypertension. A few of them are:
-Sedentary lifestyle and lack of activity
-Insufficient vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D and calcium
-High levels of salt
This is one of the biggest reasons why you should check your blood pressure regularly. On average, about 33% of hypertension sufferers do not know they have this condition. Many people do not experience symptoms before it is too late, and many of those experiencing symptoms tend to ignore them.
Some of the common symptoms include:
-Nausea or Dizziness
-Blood in urine
Preventing hypertension involves significantly changing your lifestyle. You need to reduce the amount of bad foods you eat, along with the amount of salt and alcohol you intake. It is also important to reduce stress, as this is a direct culprit of hypertension. Also, you should achieve a healthy weight through exercise and physical activity. This should drastically reduce the chance of you getting this condition.
Also, regularly visit your doctor for a physical to ensure your body is healthy. This is especially important if you have had a stroke, heart attack, tumor or kidney failure, because these can all lead to hypertension.
If you already have this condition, then a doctor will help you change your lifestyle. Many of the same things used to prevent hypertension will apply to treating it.
The doctor may also prescribe certain drugs, such as beta-blockers and diuretics, to help lower your blood pressure. If the case is in the starting range of hypertension, at the 140/90 level, then you will probably just be asked to change your lifestyle. Serious cases will normally involve drugs to assist you in lowering your blood pressure.
Who is at Risk?
Aging is one of the causes of hypertension, so older adults and seniors should regularly check their blood pressure. There are two main reasons for this. Older adults and seniors tend to move around less than when they were younger, due to other conditions such as arthritis or general fatigue. This easily segues into most of the other causes of hypertension.
However, even active seniors and older adults are at risk for hypertension. Though living a healthy lifestyle reduces the damage done to organs throughout life, aging does slow down the recovery process in the body. Even if you are incredibly active and feel great, get a physical to check this out.
Not only that, but hypertension in seniors more often causes heart attacks and strokes than in younger sufferers.
Hypertension is commonly called the “silent killer” because a good amount of sufferers don’t know they have hypertension until a heart attack comes on. You can prevent hypertension by making a few healthy lifestyle changes, and you can visit your primary healthcare physician so he or she can check you for this condition.