Physician's Guide on How to Keep Your Blood  Pressure in Check - Infiuss Health

Physician's Guide on How to Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, simply means the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is higher than it should be. This contact force can lead to damage over time.

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Dr. Peace Chikezie

09 Feb 2024

Table of Content

  • Introduction

  • How to understand your blood pressure

  • Causes of increased blood pressure 

  • How to manage your high blood pressure 

  • Be a part of the solution 

  • FAQs


Introduction

Would you like to know more about your hypertension? It's important to understand this condition and take the right steps to manage it properly. This guide is here to help you. 

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, simply means the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is higher than it should be. This contact force can lead to damage over time.

Now, hypertension is incredibly common. 

While it often doesn't cause immediate symptoms, the long-term consequences are significant. Uncontrolled hypertension increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and other serious health problems.

The good news is, you can manage hypertension. This guide has been designed to help you understand what's going on and how you can play an active role in your health.

So, let's discuss.

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How to understand your blood pressure

Okay, let's break down your blood pressure numbers:

The Two Numbers

Your blood pressure reading has two important numbers:

  • Systolic: This measures the pressure when your heart contracts (pumps).

  • Diastolic: This measures the pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.

Understanding the Ranges

  • Normal: Systolic below 120mmHg & Diastolic below 80mmHg (ideal)

  • Prehypertension: Systolic 120-129mmHg OR Diastolic below 80mmHg (warning sign, requires lifestyle changes)

  • Hypertension: (higher readings)

    Stage 1: Systolic 130-139mmHg OR Diastolic 80-89mmHg (requires treatment, lifestyle changes crucial)

    Stage 2: Systolic 140mmHg or higher OR Diastolic 90mmHg or higher (requires medical attention and likely medication)

    Hypertensive Crises: Systolic above 180mmHg AND/OR Diastolic above  120mmHg.( see your doctor immediately)

Regular Monitoring

  • Home monitoring: Invest in a reliable home blood pressure monitor and take your readings regularly (the follow manufacturer's instructions).

  • Clinic visits: Schedule regular appointments with your doctor for professional readings and consultations.

Practical Tips

a doctor checking an elderly patient's blood pressure
  • Record your readings: Keep a log of your home readings, noting the date, time, and readings. This helps track progress and identify patterns.

  • Take readings correctly: Sit comfortably with your arm supported at heart level, avoid talking, and take multiple(maybe 3) readings to get an average.

  • Share your data with your doctor: Bring your log to appointments to discuss trends and adjust your management plan.

Now, think about it. 

Do you have a home blood pressure monitor? Have you been recording your readings? 

Knowing these details will help you and your doctor understand your situation and tailor a plan accordingly.

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Causes of increased blood pressure

The cause of your high blood pressure depends on the type. There are two main categories or types of hypertension:

1. Primary (Essential) Hypertension: This is the most common type, affecting about 90-95% of cases. The exact cause is unknown, but it's likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

2. Secondary Hypertension: This type arises due to another underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Kidney disease

  • Thyroid problems

  • Sleep apnea

  • Certain medications: Some medications like steroids can have blood pressure elevation as a side effect.

How to manage your high blood pressure 

The key to effectively managing your high blood pressure involves combining lifestyle changes with medication to optimize your results.

Lifestyle modifications

unhealthy diet to avoid in hypertension

The right lifestyle/ habits can help you lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health:

  • Healthy diet: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein, while limiting saturated and unhealthy fats, sodium, and added sugars.

  • Regular physical activity: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or dancing are great options. 

  • Weight management: If you're overweight or obese, even modest weight loss can significantly impact your blood pressure. 

  • Smoking cessation: Quitting smoking is one of the single most important steps you can take for your health, including lowering blood pressure. 

  • Moderate alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure. Limiting alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men can make a difference.

  • Stress management: Chronic stress can contribute to hypertension. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature can help manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

Medication Options for Hypertension: What to Know

While lifestyle changes are crucial, sometimes medication becomes part of the equation to manage your hypertension effectively. Here's a practical guide:

When might medication be considered?

  • If your blood pressure remains high despite consistent lifestyle modifications.

  • If you have other health conditions that increase your risk of complications from hypertension.

  • If your blood pressure falls into a category requiring medication according to your doctor's assessment.

hypertensive patient taking medications

Types of medications

  • Diuretics: Help your body remove excess fluid, reducing blood pressure.

  • ACE inhibitors or ARBs: Relax blood vessels and make it easier for blood to flow.

  • Calcium channel blockers: Relax blood vessel muscles, lowering blood pressure.

  • Beta-blockers: Slow heart rate and reduce the force of heart contractions, lowering blood pressure.

  • Other medications: Depending on your specific needs, other types of medications might be used.

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Important points to remember

Before your appointment
  • Gather information: Make a list of your current medications, allergies, and any side effects you've experienced with previous blood pressure medications.

  • Know your numbers: Track your blood pressure readings at home to provide your doctor with a clearer picture.

  • Prepare your questions: Write down any concerns or questions you have about medication, including potential side effects, interactions with other medications, and lifestyle adjustments needed.

During your appointment
  • Discuss your goals: Share your desired blood pressure range and any lifestyle limitations that might impact medication choices.

  • Be honest about your concerns: Don't hesitate to express any anxieties you have about taking medication or potential side effects.

  • Ask about different options: Inquire about various medication types, their mechanisms of action, and potential side effects for each.

  • Clarify instructions: Understand the dosage, frequency, and timing of medication intake, and whether it should be taken with or without food.

  • Seek clarification on refills and Know how to get medication refills and schedule regular check-ups to monitor progress and adjust treatment as needed.

Be a part of the solution

Your insights matter. By taking a few minutes to complete this short questionnaire, you can help researchers and AI developers understand your needs and experiences better and create the best solution for you and others like you. 

Remember:

  • Your answers are confidential and anonymous.

  • The questionnaire takes just a few minutes to complete.

  • Every voice counts – yours included!

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FAQs

1. Can high blood pressure cause seizures?

While uncommon, uncontrolled high blood pressure can contribute to a condition called eclampsia, which can cause seizures in pregnant women. However, in most cases, high blood pressure alone wouldn't directly trigger seizures. It's crucial to discuss this concern with your doctor to rule out other potential causes and ensure proper management of your blood pressure.

2. Does masterbation lower blood pressure?

There's no conclusive evidence that masturbation directly lowers blood pressure. While temporary arousal can cause minor fluctuations, it's unlikely to have a lasting impact. Focus on proven strategies like maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and managing stress for effective blood pressure control.

3. Can high blood pressure cause miscarriage?

Uncontrolled high blood pressure, especially pre-existing or diagnosed during pregnancy, can increase the risk of miscarriage. This is why regular prenatal care and blood pressure monitoring are crucial. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly reduce this risk.

4. Will high blood pressure cause ringing in the ears (tinnitus)?

High blood pressure might contribute to tinnitus in some cases, but it's not always the direct cause. Other factors like ear infections, head injuries, and even certain medications can also play a role. If you experience tinnitus, consult your doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

5. Does ear infection cause high blood pressure?

It's doubtful for a typical ear infection to directly cause high blood pressure. However, severe or untreated ear infections can potentially lead to complications that indirectly affect blood pressure. If you have concerns, always consult your doctor to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment of the ear infection and address any potential blood pressure issues.

6. Can you take blood pressure medicine while fasting?

The recommendation for taking blood pressure medication with or without food depends on the specific medication. Some medications work best on an empty stomach, while others might require food to prevent stomach upset. Always follow your doctor's specific instructions regarding your medication and timing.


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