While everyone has pressure in their lives, some are under far more severe pressure than others.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition in which the stress that your blood exerts on the interior of your blood vessels is significant enough to pose potential health risks over the long term. Hypertension can present in a variety of ways, and many have no symptomology at all.
Shortness of breath
It is important to note that none of these can point directly to hypertension, but if the pressure is severe enough to have symptoms, it can mean that the pressure is elevated enough to pose significant risk.
Luckily, a hypertension diagnosis can be as simple as taking your blood pressure! Blood pressure should be taken during any routine medical exam, and can even be accepted at many pharmacies, either by machines or by the pharmacist. If your pressure is over 130/80 or 120/90, you should contact a doctor about the possibility of hypertension. They will be able to take an accurate measurement and further educate you on the management of the condition.
Often, hypertension has no underlying cause and is simply something that develops over time. However, there are a few conditions that can lead to hypertension:
Problems with the adrenal gland and/or thyroid
There are even occurrences of hypertension with pregnancy.
Hypertension can have several severe conditions associated with it:
Vessel disease in eyes and kidneys
Hypertension can even cause memory problems and dementia.
It is possible to live a happy, healthy, and long life with hypertension, but only with proper management. Severe hypertension can be maintained with a variety of medications:
Diuretics – By keeping fluid levels in the body down, diuretics ensure blood pressure does not stay elevated
ACE inhibitors or ARBs- Help to relax blood vessels by preventing the formation or action (respectively) of a natural chemical that narrows blood vessels, ensuring they stay open
Calcium channel blockers – Also aid in the relaxation of blood vessels
While medicine can often be very useful in maintaining healthy blood pressure, as with most conditions, a healthy lifestyle can keep blood pressure as well. Eating a healthy diet that is low in salts can aid in reducing blood pressure. Regular physical activity and maintenance of a healthy weight will also keep hypertension at bay. Finally, keeping alcohol intake to a minimum is an excellent way to reduce the risk of hypertension. Here at Thrive, our certified Functional Medicine (IFM) providers are accustomed to treating complex and intertwined health issues like hypertension from a functional and preventative standpoint. Allow Thrive to play an integral part in your journey to optimal health and wellness in 2019!