High blood pressure is named the "silent killer" because the disease is often asymptomatic, the patient is diagnosed accidentally when going for periodic health checks or after a major event such as a muscle infarction. heart, stroke. Failure to show symptoms causes the disease to not be diagnosed and treated early, which leaves many unfortunate consequences when the complication has occurred while patients are still unaware. Diagnosing high blood pressure is not difficult but because we do not have the habit of going to periodic health examination, the rate of missed diseases is quite high in the community.
Definition of high blood pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which blood pressure pushes against the walls of the arteries when the heart pumps too strongly. If this pressure rises over time, it can lead to other health problems.
- Idiopathic hypertension (EHT), also known as spontaneous hypertension;
- Secondary hypertension;
- High systolic hypertension;
- Pre-eclampsia, commonly called pregnancy hypertension.
What is the meaning of blood pressure index?
Blood circulates in the body at a certain speed. Your blood pressure index includes 2 indicators:
Some main types of hypertension include:
Systolic blood pressure, which is a higher value, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats away (when the heart muscle works).
Diastolic blood pressure, which is a lower value, measures blood pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (between two beats of the heart).
Depending on the severity, hypertension can be classified as follows:
Hypertension: 120/80 mmHg or higher;
Hypertension level 1: 140/90 mmHg or higher;
Hypertension level 2: 160/100 mmHg or higher;
Emergency high blood pressure (a life-threatening condition): 180/110 mmHg or higher.
According to the Vietnam Heart Association, for blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg is considered normal. When hypertension occurs, blood will flow through the arteries at high pressure, putting more pressure on tissues and damaging blood vessels.
You are diagnosed with high blood pressure if your blood pressure is always above 140/90 mmHg.
Why should you care about high blood pressure?
According to the Vietnam National Heart Institute, hypertension is a serious condition affecting one-fourth of all adults in Vietnam. It is called a "silent killer" because the patient often has no symptoms, but it can lead to some serious and sometimes even fatal diseases.
This is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, CKD and other health problems when not treated promptly.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
Blood pressure may increase without any symptoms. That's why high blood pressure is called a "silent killer." Rarely, headaches can occur.
You may have high blood pressure and not have any obvious symptoms until you have a stroke or heart attack.
When do you need to see a doctor?
In some people, severe hypertension can lead to nosebleeds, headaches or dizziness. Because high blood pressure can affect you, you don't know you're sick. Therefore, regular blood pressure monitoring is important if you are at risk for high blood pressure. You should see your doctor if you notice any unusual signs or your blood pressure is too high.
What are the possible complications of hypertension?
When blood pressure stays high over time, it can be harmful to the body. Complications of high blood pressure include:
- Heart failure. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. This makes the heart grow bigger and weaker;
- Aneurysms dissect the arteries. A serious complication can occur anywhere in your body. When you have aneurysm bulge, you may face internal bleeding and may be life-threatening;
- CKD. The blood vessels in the kidney may become narrower and cause kidney failure;
- Myocardial infarction and stroke. Arteries are narrowed in some areas of the body, which in turn leads to limited blood flow (especially for the heart, brain, kidneys and legs). This can cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or the patient has to remove a part of the leg;
- Eye disease: Blood vessels in the eyes rupture or bleed. This can lead to changes in vision or even blindness.
Causes of high blood pressure
Most cases of hypertension often have no cause. This is called primary hypertension.
Some kidney or cardiovascular health conditions can cause high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension.
Some medications like birth control pills or cold medicines can also cause high blood pressure. In some women, pregnancy or hormone therapies can increase blood pressure.
High blood pressure caused by the drug, after stopping the drug is unlikely to return to normal immediately, it may take several weeks. Consult your doctor, if your blood pressure does not return to normal.
Children under 10 years of age cases with high blood pressure are usually secondary hypertension caused by other diseases, such as kidney disease. Treating the causes of disease can solve high blood pressure.
Risk of high blood pressure
You are at risk for hypertension if you have one or more of the factors listed below:
- Age: Older people are at risk of high blood pressure.
- Sex: Postmenopausal women are more likely to have high blood pressure, and men under age 45 are more likely to have high blood pressure than women.
- Race: African Americans are more likely to have high blood pressure.
- Family history: if your family members (parents or siblings) have high blood pressure, you are at high risk.
For older people, high risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Doing exercise regularly;
- Unhealthy diet;
- Consuming too much salt;
- Drinking alcohol;
- Having sleep apnea;
Treatment of high blood pressure
Your doctor will refer to your risk factors, family history, clinical examination and your blood pressure to accurately diagnose the disease.
Your doctor or nurse will measure your blood pressure using a blood pressure monitor that includes a stethoscope (or electronic sensor) and a blood pressure cuff.
To prepare for blood pressure testing, you should:
Do not drink coffee or smoke for 30 minutes before checking. These can cause hypertension in the short term.
Go to the bathroom before checking your blood pressure. Bladder filled with water can change your blood pressure.
Sit still for 5 minutes before checking. Movement may cause hypertension in the short term.
If your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher over time, your doctor will diagnose you with high blood pressure. If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg or higher will be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
What other medical tests can help diagnose hypertension?
Other tests may include:
- Urine test;
- ECG (ECG);
- Chest X-ray;
- Computerized tomography (CT scan).
These tests exclude any other possible causes of high blood pressure. If there is no other cause, you will be diagnosed with primary hypertension.
What methods are used to treat high blood pressure?
The goal of treatment is to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg. If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, your doctor will have strict treatment to keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg.
Treatment of high blood pressure includes lifestyle changes and medication use. If your high blood pressure is not serious, you should change your lifestyle to control blood pressure better.
When your blood pressure reaches control, you will still need treatment. "Reaching control" means that your blood pressure is normal. Your doctor may recommend regular blood pressure checks. Your doctor can advise you how often you should check your blood pressure.
If lifestyle changes do not make the condition better or you have more severe hypertension, your doctor will prescribe medication. Drugs that help lower high blood pressure include:
- Beta blockers;
- Drugs that inhibit calcium absorption;
- ACE ACE inhibitors;
The doctor will monitor the course of the disease and may increase the dose or change and add the medicine until finding the most appropriate treatment regimen for you. Ask your doctor about the best treatments for you.
Treatment in an emergency
For people with emergency hypertension, patients need to be treated in an emergency room or special care, because the disease can be fatal. The patient will be monitored for heart and blood vessel condition. Your doctor may give you oxygen and medication to help stabilize your blood pressure to a safe level.
The proper mode of life when having high blood pressure
You need to be patient with the treatment process. Treatment can help prevent or delay high blood pressure problems and help you live and function better. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you should consult your doctor about reducing your risk.
In addition, you can control your blood pressure by:
- Have a healthy diet and less salt;
- Exercise regularly;
- Try to maintain an ideal weight;
- Quitting smoking;
- Taking medicine to treat high blood pressure according to the doctor's instructions;
- Keep track of your blood pressure regularly at home with a tracking device.
Risk factors for high blood pressure such as obesity, saltiness, smoking, sedentary lifestyle can be absolutely avoida when we change our daily routine. For people in families with relatives who have high blood pressure or a history of stroke, heart attack, blood pressure should be checked regularly from a young age. When disease occurs, lifestyle changes and eating habits are the first thing in disease management, then the role of antihypertensive drugs. Primary hypertension - which accounts for more than 90% of the causes of high blood pressure - is a disease that requires lifelong treatment, even if blood pressure has returned to normal levels and must continue to be taken regularly. Don't forget that because of the medication, blood pressure is controlled. Quitting smoking is dangerous because it can cause high blood pressure to suddenly lead to emergency hypertension, stroke or heart attack and can cause sudden death. Hopefully the information we provide can help you and your family prevent high blood pressure and treat it more effectively.