Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition when blood pressure is at a value of 130/80 mmHg or more. This condition can be dangerous, because the heart is forced to pump blood harder throughout the body, so it can cause various diseases, such as kidney failure, stroke, and heart failure.

Blood pressure is divided into two, namely systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart pumps blood throughout the body. While diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart muscle relaxes, before returning to pump blood. In recording, systolic blood pressure is written earlier than diastolic blood pressure, and has a higher number. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), blood pressure was classified as follows:

  • Normal: below 120/80 mmHg.
  • Increases: ranges from 120-129 for systolic pressure and <80 mmHg for diastolic pressure.
  • Hypertension level 1: 130/80 mmHg to 139/89 mmHg.
  • Hypertension level 2: 140/90 or higher.

Causes of Hypertension

Hypertension is divided into primary and secondary hypertension. The cause of primary hypertension is not known with certainty. While secondary hypertension is generally caused by various conditions such as:

  • Kidney illness
  • Pregnancy
  • Thyroid gland disease
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Congenital abnormalities in blood vessels
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug abuse
  • Respiratory disorders that occur during sleep (sleep apnea).
  • Consumption of certain drugs, such as febrifuge, pain relief, cold cough medicine, or birth control pills.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Hypertension can be categorized as a dangerous disease because it can occur without symptoms, so it can be found when complications arise. But symptoms can occur when blood pressure is very high. Symptoms that may appear include headache, limp, vision problems, chest pain, hard to breathe, Arrhythmia, and the presence of blood in the urine.

Hypertension Diagnosis

Hypertension can be known by doing blood tests. Because it often does not cause symptoms and is more often experienced by someone who is elderly. Adults, especially those over the age of 40 and at high risk, are advised to have at least a blood check every year. The following stages are the correct blood tests using a blood pressure measuring device (sphygmomanometer), in order to obtain accurate results:

  • Patients should not exercise, smoke, and consume caffeine-containing drinks 30 minutes before blood pressure checks are performed.
  • The patient is asked to sit quietly on a chair, with feet resting on the floor.
  • Make sure you urinate before doing a blood test.
  • Both doctors and patients may not speak during the examination.
  • Take off the clothes that cover the cufflinks.
  • Blood pressure is measured in both arms. For further blood pressure measurements, use an arm with a higher blood pressure to measure it.
  • Blood pressure measurement is repeated at least 2 times with a 1-2 minute pause.

If needed, the doctor will recommend supporting examinations, such as blood, urine, or X-rays, to see the possible complications caused by hypertension.

Hypertension Treatment and Prevention

Living a healthy lifestyle and consuming antihypertensive drugs can be an effective way to treat hypertension. The value of blood pressure and the risk of a patient developing complications, such as heart attacks and strokes, will determine the treatment to be undertaken. In general, there are 2 principles of treating hypertension, namely:

1. Lifestyle changes

Changing your lifestyle to be healthier can reduce blood pressure in a few weeks. Healthy lifestyle that needs to be lived, among others:

  • Adopt a DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension), which is a diet that consumes more fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, wheat, and nuts, compared to red meat and foods that contain saturated fat and high cholesterol.
  • Reduce consumption of salt to less than one teaspoon per day.
  • Expand physical activity and exercise regularly.
  • Lose weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid or reduce consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Reduce consumption of high caffeine drinks, such as coffee, tea, or cola.
  • Take relaxation therapy, for example yoga or meditation to control stress.

The above methods can be done with or without the accompanying consumption of anti-hypertensive drugs. Even so, the adoption of a healthy lifestyle earlier can make patients avoid the consumption of anti-hypertensive drugs.

2. Antihypertensive Drugs

In some cases, people with hypertension must take medication for life. However, doctors can reduce the dose or stop treatment if the patient’s blood pressure is controlled by changing lifestyles. It is important for the patient to take the prescribed medication and tell the doctor if any side effects appear. Some drugs used to treat hypertension include: Diuretics, Calcium Antagonists, Beta Blockers, ACE Inhibitors, Angiotensin-2 receptor blockers (ARB), Renin inhibitors.

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