High blood pressure is usually abbreviated to High BP or simply HBP. This is the common name for the medical condition known as Hypertension. This condition is not really the death sentence that some people think it is. It can be avoided by dieting, exercising and cutting out smoking and excessive drinking. For people who have developed the condition, high blood pressure can be controlled by a combination of lifestyle changes and drugs.
To understand this condition, people need know how blood pressure is measured by medical experts. Blood pressure is simply a measurement of the force of blood against the arteries. Blood pressure readings are given in two numbers with one number above and the other below. The number above is called the systolic blood pressure while the one below is called the diasystolic blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is a reading of 120/80 mm Hg or lower. People who have a reading of 140/90 mm Hg can be considered hypertensive.
Symptoms and Types:
High blood pressure falls into two basic types. These are essential and secondary hypertension. In most cases, there is no apparent cause of this condition. This is called essential high blood pressure. In cases where the condition is caused by another medical ailment or even medication, it is known as secondary hypertension.
Both types have the same symptoms and these signs include frequent headaches, blurred vision, confusion and spells of dizziness. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting and unexplained weakness. People who experience frequent changes in vision or nosebleeds need to consult a doctor fast. This may be an indication of a very dangerous form of high blood pressure.
Diagnosis and Tests:
The right way to diagnose high blood pressure is to get a doctor to take blood pressure readings a number of times. Taking the blood pressure once or twice may not be conclusive because most people have different blood pressure readings at different times of the day. Apart from just taking blood pressure readings, doctors may need to look out for high cholesterol levels, kidney disease and heart disease. All these may be indications of hypertension.
Treatment and Care:
In cases where hypertension is not caused by any medical condition, it can be controlled by changes in lifestyle. People who are obese will need to lose weight and eat healthy foods. It will also help if the patient gives up smoking and excessive drinking. A sensible program of exercise can reduce blood pressure but this should be done with caution to avoid over-taxing the heart. Patients can also take drugs to lower blood pressure. Again, this has to be done with caution as most drugs for hypertension may have serious side effects.
Hypertension is definitely an inconvenient medical condition. It does not quite qualify as a killer disease, though. It can be controlled easily and most patients can live normal and productive lives.