Being diagnosed with high Blood Pressure is a reality that affects millions of people around the world. In most cases, some kind of medication will be part of the plan to reduce that pressure. Also known as ‘anti-hypertensive’ medicine, these tablets can work in a number of different ways. There are also different medications that can help to control this condition. This article will look at what is actually meant by the term ‘high blood pressure’ and also how blood pressure tablets can benefit your health. To round things off, we’ll also suggest other ways to control your blood pressure by altering your lifestyle in a positive manner.
What is blood pressure?
Essentially, when your heart beats, it is pumping blood all around your body in order to charge it with both oxygen and energy. The moving blood will then push against your blood vessels as it travels around the veins and arteries. The amount of strength that the blood is pressing against the walls of your blood vessels is known as blood pressure. This is measured and if it reaches a certain level, it is diagnosed as high blood pressure. When it reaches this level, it can damage your arteries, your heart and other vital organs. Heart attacks and even strokes are the results of high blood pressure that have not been treated or diagnosed. Thankfully there are a number ways to control and even reduce high blood pressure but positive diagnosis is critical to a successful treatment.
High or Low
Your blood pressure is measured in a unique way known as millimetres of mercury. You’ve probably already experienced the arm band and the way that it tightens around your upper arm. The results are usually written in two numbers and they relate to mmHg. Typically, a healthy blood pressure will be 120/80mmHg. The higher number is your systolic blood pressure level and the lower number is the diastolic blood pressure level. Systolic relates to your heart beating at its highest and the diastolic will be the resting heart beat level. High blood pressure is known as hypertension but if your blood pressure is too low, this is known as hypotension. Those with high blood pressure are at danger of having a heart attack, however low blood pressure isn’t always a good thing to be diagnosed with. If you are walking around with a BP of 90/60mmHg and feel perfectly fine, then you probably do not have a cause for concern. But if you are feeling dizzy and nauseous quite often, you really should speak to your doctor as soon as possible because it may be the result of another illness such as diabetes.
How high blood pressure affects your body
High blood pressure will put an extra strain on your blood vessels and your heart and will increase the risk of you developing serious health problems. For example, it can affect your whole body in a number of different ways:
- Your limbs can be affected by something known as peripheral arterial disease. This is very serious and can have a devastating effect on your legs.
- Your brain can also be affected by high blood pressure, it is one of the main causes of strokes and this in turn can lead to various forms of dementia.
- Your kidneys can be affected by high blood pressure and develop a number of debilitating diseases.
- Your heart is probably the main target from high blood pressure because of the damage that can be caused to the whole organ. Heart attacks and overall failure of the heart itself are no laughing matter.
BP Tablets and how they can help
If you are unfortunate enough to have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, help is at hand. There are a number of proven high blood pressure tablets that can help you to control this potentially fatal condition. They work by lowering your blood pressure but are by no means the only way to do this. We will discuss the lifestyle changes in the next paragraph and these should be combined with the recommended high blood pressure medicine for the best results. As with most types of medicine, blood pressure tablets come in a number of guises and they work in different ways. Here we break them down into the main groups and discuss how they work in different ways for the same end result:
- Diuretics – These are usually the first type of blood pressure medicine that your doctor will prescribe when you are diagnosed. Diuretics work by actually assisting your kidneys in removing excess salt and water from your body. This reduces the amount of blood that is circulating in your body and as a result, the blood pressure is also reduced effectively. These are also known as water pills and are known by a number of brand names including Lozol, Lasix, Midamor and Mykrox. They can be taken alone or combined with other diuretics depending on how your doctor decides to treat your high blood pressure.
- Beta-Blockers – This type of medicine is designed to slow down your heartbeat in a safe manner. By reducing the amount of times that your heart beats, it also manages to reduce the blood pressure effectively. However, Beta-Blockers can have side effects that include headaches and nausea and are not for everybody. Common brands are Coreg, Visken and Sectral.
- ACE inhibitors – Also known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, this group of high blood pressure tablets work by stopping your body from producing a hormone that is known as angiotensin II. This actually tightens the blood vessels in the body and can make it harder for the blood to flow through. Bu reducing this hormone, your blood can flow through easier and your blood pressure is effectively reduced. Known brands of this medicine are ramipril, Capoten and Vasotec.
- Calcium Channel Blockers – These are sometimes called CCBs and they also work in a similar fashion to ACE inhibitors as they prevent the blood vessels from tightening too much. They manage this by stopping calcium from getting into the blood vessels and your heart. Blood then flows far easier and your overall blood pressure is lowered as a result. Brands such as Calan, Sular, Norvasc and Cardizem make up the retail names of this type of blood pressure medicine.
Common symptoms of high blood pressure
So what happens if you rarely visit your doctor and never check your blood pressure at home? How can you tell if your blood pressure is okay? Well, if you are not overweight, eat well and take regular exercise, you will probably be okay for the main part. However, being overweight and rarely exercising is not exclusive to having high blood pressure. We’ll look at a few known symptoms next and if you feel that they seem a little too familiar, get yourself down to the doctor’s surgery sooner rather than later because it is way better to be safe than sorry!
- Vision issues
- Chest pains
- Blood in your urine
- Breathing problems
- Vision issues
- Pounding in your ears, neck or chest
The bad news is that is sometimes difficult to know that you have possible high blood pressure even if some of these symptoms appear. That is why it is always best to speak to your doctor if you have any doubt whatsoever. Around 25% of all adults have high pressure and the lucky ones are those who are already aware and are doing something about it.
Change your lifestyle
The chances are that if you can identify what has actually caused your blood pressure to be high, you can also do something to remedy your condition as well as taking the recommended medicine. Being overweight or even obese is one of the main causes of high blood pressure and drinking too much coffee with also have a negative effect. Smoking is right up there as well and having problems sleeping can also be a sign that you are suffering. One of the problems with taking blood pressure medicine is the side effects and whilst they can lower your pressure, you might decide that you’d rather not be taking the same medicine for the rest of your life. After all, who wants to deal with a dry mouth, skin rash, cold hands and feet just because you couldn’t be bothered to change your lifestyle? Here are five proven ways to do exactly that and they are all reachable goals so long as you are serious about facing them head on:
- Exercise more frequently – This doesn’t mean that you should start training for the next Olympics but rather that you start to take regular and manageable exercise sessions. Try to aim for 30 minutes of exercise around 5 times and week and see how that fits into your routine. Most of us can manage that without too much upheaval.
- Cut down on alcohol – aim for around 2-3 units per day and avoid binge drinking sessions as they will only make matters worse.
- Five a day – You should be getting around 5 portions of fruit or vegetables as part of your daily diet. Fried vegetables do not count and try to eat a few raw portions if you can manage. In fact, forget about 5; why not aim for 8 or even 10 instead?
- Salt is bad – that is a fact and the sooner you start to cut sodium out of your diet, the better. Salt will raise your blood pressure and by avoiding processed foods, you will start to reduce the amount in your body pretty quickly.
- Lose weight – Well this pretty much goes without saying and if you start to pay heed to the other four recommendations, this one should come fairly quickly. Being overweight will add a lot of pressure on your heart and arteries and can have a devastating effect eventually.
So there you have it, we’ve discussed the types of blood pressure medicine available from your doctor and how they can manage and reduce your high blood pressure effectively. Please remember to combine this treatment with an altered lifestyle as discussed in the last paragraph and your high blood pressure could soon be a thing of the past.
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