High Blood Pressure

The signs of high blood pressure and high blood pressure symptoms.

 

Select a Topic

  1. What is High Blood Pressure?
  2. Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
  3. What Causes High Blood Pressure?
  4. Help for High Blood Pressure
  5. More Info on High Blood Pressure

What is High Blood Pressure?

With each beat of your heart, blood pumps into your arteries. Blood pressure is the force of the blood flow pushing against the walls of the arteries. When your heart beats, it’s called systolic pressure. Between beats your heart rests, called diastolic pressure.

Blood pressure readings use both the systolic and diastolic numbers. The systolic number comes before the diastolic number. If your blood pressure reading is 120/80, that means your systolic is 120 and your diastolic is 80.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means a systolic reading of 140 or higher, OR a diastolic reading of 90 or higher. Some providers use slightly lower numbers, 130 systolic and 80 diastolic, if you have other cardiovascular risk factors or heart health issues.

Blood pressure readings above 180/120 are considered dangerously high and require immediate medical care.

Hypertension often has no warning signs or symptoms, earning it the nickname the “silent killer.” An estimated 1 in 3 adults in the United States are affected, but many don’t know it. People with high blood pressure can live for years with no symptoms.

Once the condition arises, it is usually a lifelong problem that needs to be treated and managed carefully. Uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to increased risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, kidney disease or stroke.

Regular blood pressure readings are the best way to know if you are in the normal range. It’s important to check your blood pressure regularly, because early detection is critical to managing high blood pressure long term.

There are two types of hypertension:

  • Primary hypertension, in which no underlying cause is known
  • Secondary hypertension, which occurs as a result of another medical condition or is caused by certain medications

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure

Regular health screenings are the best way to detect and treat any problems. Blood pressure can fluctuate, so one high reading does not necessarily mean you have hypertension. Repeated readings may lead to a diagnosis.

Your physician may recommend further tests to determine if there is an underlying cause for the elevated blood pressure. They may also check for organ damage.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Most people do not experience any symptoms, even when readings are dangerously high. Some people may notice one or two of the following if their levels are consistently raised:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Increased nosebleeds

These symptoms are not always present and could indicate many different health concerns.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

For most people the cause remains unknown, making primary hypertension the more prevalent of the two types. Research into why this occurs is ongoing and a number of factors have been implicated. Since hypertension is more common in those with a family history, researchers believe there is a strong genetic component.

Risk factors including smoking, alcoholism, high salt intake, being overweight, lack of exercise and high levels of stress.

Secondary hypertension can be caused by:

  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Kidney disease
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism
  • Arteriosclerosis, a thickening, hardening and narrowing of the walls of the arteries
  • Underlying heart problems and cardiovascular disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy, especially in cases of Pre-eclampsia
  • Side-effects of certain medications or supplements

Help for High Blood Pressure

While hypertension can be a life-threatening condition, it is possible to manage it. The correct medical treatment and positive lifestyle changes are important. Treatment often includes prescription medication, natural remedies, or a combination of both.

Whatever you decide, it is important to adopt a holistic approach to your health. Be sure to include lifestyle changes into your treatment program.

Controlling blood pressure can help prevent complications such as chronic kidney disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and vascular dementia.

Conventional Medication for High Blood Pressure

Prescription medications are available to help reduce high blood pressure. These include vasodilators, alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers and more.

Each of these drugs has a different effect and they work differently for different people. Your doctor may have you try out a few combinations to find the right one for you.

Medications your doctor may prescribe include: enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), atenolol (Tenormin), and furosemide (Lasix). Like many synthetic drugs, anti-hypertensive medication has a risk of causing side effects that can differ between individuals and medications.

Side-effects may include dizziness, nausea, stomach problems, fatigue, impotence, insomnia, loss of appetite, low blood pressure and more. Always check with your doctor if you are having problems.

More information on High Blood Pressure

Can Hypertension Cause Other Disorders?

High blood pressure can cause extensive damage to the heart, blood vessels, and other organs. If left untreated, high blood pressure can result in the following conditions:

  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Aneurysm
  • Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Increased bone loss in the urine
  • Vision problems
  • Sleep apnea

Your doctor may recommend you make lifestyle changes to help control your blood pressure, including:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet with less salt
  • Staying physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting alcohol

 

Consider herbal supplements to support your circulatory system:

High-Rite™ Drops for Cardiovascular Health – supports heart health routines for people concerned about hypertension. Supports routine oxygenation of the blood to the heart muscle, circulation and coronary artery health and integrity.

Circu-Live™ for Circulatory Support – supports healthy circulation and promotes cardiovascular health and blood flow.

 
The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke
References:
1. “High Blood Pressure.” Medline. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://medlineplus.gov/highbloodpressure.html
2. “High Blood Pressure.” National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-pressure
3. “High Blood Pressure.” Centers for Disease Control. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm
4. Holland, Kimberly. “Everything You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).” Healthline. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension
5. “Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center.” WebMD. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/default.htm
6. “High Blood Pressure.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410