Hypertension: A chronic Illness That Can Be Prevented

“An estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries.” Says WHO

What is Hypertension?

A person’s Blood pressure in the body is the force that blood exerts against the arteries, this pressure particularly depends upon the resistance of the blood vessels and on the heart’s functioning levels.

When this force of blood against the artery walls becomes too high then, one can be diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure.

In other words, hypertension is a chronic disease that causes blood pressure levels to be severely elevated, increasing the risk for medical complications like stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrest, heart failure, and aneurysm.

It is of great importance to manage blood pressure levels in order to live a long and healthy life.

It is common for the blood pressure levels to fluctuate every once in a while, but when the blood pressure remains high consistently then one should consult a general physician.

Hypertension is widely termed as the silent killer, probably because it does not show any prior symptoms. The World Health Organization(WHO)  estimates that 46% of adults who are living with hypertension worldwide are not even aware of the illness.

Though hypertension is a chronic disease, there are many ways to prevent hypertension before it occurs and leads to life-threatening medical complications.

What Are the Major Complications of Hypertension?

It is of vital importance to seek the necessary medical attention for hypertension if one wants to avoid major health complications. Medical professionals often recommend getting a yearly full body check-up done to ensure that such underlying medical conditions do not develop.

Some of the major complications that hypertension can trigger are as follows:

  • Dementia
  • Aneurysms
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Kidney damage
  • Eye nerve damage
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Narrowed and thickened blood vessels

To avoid such health complications that can threaten an individual’s life it is important to seek the required medical treatment. Hypertension can occur due to reasons like genetic influence, old age, obesity, inactiveness, and living an unhealthy lifestyle.

One can significantly prevent hypertension by bringing healthier changes in daily lifestyle.

How To Prevent Hypertension?

Though the majority of the risk factors of hypertension can be prevented through various natural ways. If one is cautious enough about his or her health then by taking certain precautionary measures one can reduce the risk of hypertension to a great extent.

Hypertension is a chronic disease that can lead to severe ill consequences. Some of the ways in which a person can prevent hypertension are as follows:

Manage weight:

Being obese or overweight can make a person more likely to develop hypertension. It gets difficult to maintain proper blood circulation when a person becomes obese, this puts extreme pressure on the heart to work more hard, and as a result, the blood pressure increases.

Having extra weight in the body is an invitation to various health complications which can risk an individual’s life.

Medical professionals often advise people to lose excess weight in the body in order to prevent hypertension and other diseases.

Exercise regularly:

Medical researchers estimate that even doing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise on a regular basis can lower the risk of hypertension.

Exercising helps strengthen the muscles in the body and makes the heart work more efficiently.

A strong and efficient heart can help in pumping more blood with less effort and lower the force against the arteries. If one exercise regularly it can help lower the heart rate and blood pressure can rise again.

Also Read: Age Is Not the Only Risk Factor of High Blood Pressure

Mental health:

People who stress or overthink a lot are more likely to experience high blood pressure levels.

There is a scientific study that suggests that staying more stressed in life could lead to the body producing a surge of hormones which can increase the blood pressure and cause the heart to beat faster than usual.

One may consult a mental health expert like a psychologist to deal with issues like stress, anxiety, and depression.

Blood pressure monitoring:

Hypertension is a chronic illness that does not show any prior symptoms and develops slowly. That is why medical professionals recommend people to always get a full body check-up done every once a year at least.

People who have been diagnosed with hypertension should make it a habit to monitor the readings at regular intervals as advised by the doctor.

Taking this precautionary measure can help avert the risk of medical complications like a stroke or heart attack.

Avoid smoking:

Smoking is injurious to health and can cause life-threatening diseases like lung cancer and various heart diseases.

If one smokes excessively, it can cause the blood vessels to become thick and narrowed, due to which the chances of clot formation in the bloodstream also increase.

The presence of a chemical substance called nicotine in cigarettes makes a person experience increased heart rate and blood pressure. Quitting smoking can significantly help prevent hypertension and other chronic diseases.

Avoid alcohol intake:

Taking in excessive amounts of alcohol is injurious to health and can cause severe medical complications.

Alcohol increases blood levels of the hormone called renin, which leads to constricted blood vessels and results in increased blood pressure. Alcohol consumption affects the body in various different ways and can deteriorate both physical and mental health if taken consistently.

One should try to limit the intake of alcohol as much as possible.

BOTTOM LINE:

Getting diagnosed with hypertension is not a death sentence. One can still live a healthy and long life by taking the right steps to manage the disease. One should always get regular health checkups done so that such diseases can be identified in the infancy stage.

Medical experts often recommend a healthy nutritional diet, maintaining physical fitness and avoiding any unhealthy lifestyle habits to live a comfortable life. Hypertension can be treated with medication like Doxazosin (Doxacard), Amlodipine (Amlip), Lisinopril + Hydrochlorothiazide (Cipril-H).

However, one should be cautious enough to consult a doctor beforehand and know all the possible side effects of the medication

Author Image
Julain Carter is mental health expert for Goodrxmedicine.com. He is an experienced clinical mental health counsellor with recognition in cognitive behavioural therapy. Julian’s sharp behavioural observations reflect in both his personal and professional life.