High blood pressure (HBP) usually does not cause any symptoms, whereas its complications do. So do not be surprised if your doctor says that you have high blood pressure
but you do not feel it.
When blood flows from the heart through the blood vessels, it generates pressure
against the blood vessels walls. Your blood pressure reading is a measure of this
Blood pressure readings are given in two numbers, such as 120/80, which is considered
as the average BP reading for adults. However, a slightly higher or lower reading
(for either number) is not necessarily abnormal.
Blood pressure readings above 140/90 are considered as high. The medical name for
high blood pressure is hypertension. By a conservative estimate between 40 and 50%
of all persons aged above 60 years have hypertension.
Because this disease is so common, everyone should have a BP test done once in six
Although some cases of hypertension are caused by other illnesses, these cases account
for a very few of the total number of patients with high blood pressure. This kind
of hypertension is referred to as “secondary hypertension” which is cured by treating
the original problem.
A majority of the cases of hypertension has no specific cause for it and hence cannot
be cured but can be controlled by continuous treatment
There are several risk factors for developing high blood pressure. These include
family history, smoking, overweight, alcoholism and high sodium (common salt) intake
along with low potassium and calcium intake.
Hypertension is also frequent in people with tense personality and during periods
of tension. Blood pressure is also known to go up in all people during periods of
stress or increased physical activity.
Treatment of high blood pressure is nearly life-long though the dose of drugs can
be reduced. Some people tend to believe that once BP is brought down to normal levels
treatment is no longer needed.
For mild hypertension, your doctor might recommend that you lose weight, eat less
salt, and do more exercise. It may be possible to lower your blood pressure simply
by making some of these changes in your daily habits. These changes are still required
even when drugs are needed to control your blood pressure. These changes may help
your medication work better.
Blood pressure medicines
There are different types of medicines your doctor may prescribe for you. Do not
be disheartened or discouraged if you are advised long-term drug therapy. Sometimes
you can take smaller doses after your blood pressure is under control, but you may
always need some treatment.
There are several types of blood pressure medicines. The common ones are those which
eliminate excess salt and water from the body (diuretics) and those which relax
and open up the narrowed blood vessels (beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel
Like all medicines blood pressure medicines have several side-effects. These include:
weakness, tiredness or leg cramps, impotence, cold hands and feet, depression, trouble
sleeping, slow or fast heartbeat, skin rash, loss of taste, dry cough, ankle swelling,
headache or dizziness and constipation. You should be aware of these symptoms and
consult your doctor if they bother you too much.
Points to Remember about high blood pressure
Though you may not feel sick, hypertension is a serious health problem and should
be treated by a doctor.
BP can be lowered with medicines and it will rise again if the medicine is not used
Try to take your medicine at the same time each day - for example, in the morning
after brushing your teeth or in the evening.
Weight loss, reduced salt and alcohol intake, and exercise may be helpful, but are
substitutes for drugs only with doctor’s recommendation.
High blood pressure can lead to many serious diseases including stroke, heart disease,
and kidney failure. You can reduce your risk of developing these problems by getting
proper treatment. Have your BP checked and if HBP is diagnosed, follow your doctor’s