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High Blood Pressure is Nothing to Play With

If your doctor tells you that you need to follow a treatment plant to bring down your blood pressure numbers you had better be listening because this is a matter of life and death. High blood pressure (HBP), also known as hypertension, can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and even kidney failure. All of these are preventable with proper and early treatment.

1 out of every 3 adults suffers from HBP. They may have no signs or indications that anything is wrong, but if left alone without proper care to manage and bring down the blood pressure it can do damage to other organs of the body.

What is blood pressure?

When you hear your nurse or doctor discuss your vital signs, one measure you will hear about is blood pressure. What this means is they are measuring the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps your blood.

You may look at the chart and wonder what the numbers mean. You may see a number like 140/80. The top number (140) is the systolic number that indicates the pressure when your heart is beating while it’s pumping blood. The lower number (80) is the diastolic number which indicates the heart at rest between beat.  A health blood pressure would be in the normal ranges below 120(systolic) and below 80(diastolic).

Prehypertension is a term doctor’s use when explaining that the patient has not developed HBP but may still do so if they do not do anything to prevent it from happening. If your numbers are between 120-130 systolic or 80-89 diastolic you are said to have prehypertension.

There are two stages doctors use when diagnosing high blood pressure.

Stage One: Systolic is 140-159 or diastolic is 90-99

StageTwo:  Systolic is 160 or higher or diastolic is 100 or higher.

The stage a person is diagnosed is related to the higher number, so if the systolic pressure is 160 over 80 you are said to have stage two hypertension. If your numbers are 120 over 95 you are said to have stage one hypertension.

Are you stuck with your numbers?

No, you are not stuck with your numbers. If you make healthy lifestyle changes, get ongoing medical care and follow the treatment plan you can get your blood pressure to safer ranges.

If you have other health conditions such as chronic kidney disease or diabetes your health blood pressure will be different than for a person who does not have those health issues. For a diabetic or person who has chronic kidney disease, a blood pressure of 130/80, though 140/80 is ideal. Managing blood pressure while dealing with diabetes is challenging but it can be accomplished with good medical care and a plan for healthy living.

What can happen without proper care?

Without proper care a person can cause themselves a world of pain in the hospital. There are two levels of that rate the level of potential damage related to untreated high blood pressure when the numbers become dangerously high.

Hypertensive Urgency:

The blood pressure spikes to dangerously high levels but does not result in damage to organs in the body because the blood pressure was safely brought down within a few hours with the aid of blood pressure medications.

Hypertensive Emergency:

The blood pressure is so high that damage to organs can occur. High blood pressure must be brought down as quickly as possible with IV medication and will require intensive care in a hospital. Although this form of hypertension is rare it can and does happen to patients who do not attempt to make any healthy changes in their lives nor do they follow their prescribed treatment plans.

The symptoms for a hypertensive emergency may include:
• Headache and blurred vision
• Mental confusion
• Seizure
• Increased or more intense chest pain
• Increasing shortness of breath
• Swelling or edema of body tissues ( fluid buildup in tissues)

If you do not follow medical advice you may incur damage to vital organs within the body. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to urgent or emergency medical care. The potential for damage to bodily organs is alarming and totally preventable. Some of the damages that are preventable with the right medical care are:
• Changes in mental state
• Bleeding in the brain that can be a stroke
• Heart failure
• Chest pain
• Heart attack
• Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)
• Aneurism ( aortic dissection or separation)
• Eclampsia in pregnant women

Totally preventable condition

Some things happen to the body even with the best lifestyle, diet, exercise and medical care. People can be born with medical conditions that are life long and no amount of treatment will change it. But, by and large, high blood pressure is totally preventable and treatable. Annual physicals can monitor changes to general health and retain a record of your vital signs. Any marked change will alert the doctor to check you closer for medical conditions he can treat to help you live a healthy life. If your doctor discovers that you have developed prehypertension and he prescribes a treatment plan to get your number back within normal ranges, it is up to you to follow through.

How you manage your health when you are on your own is what it really comes down to. Your doctor can lead you, but you have to decide to follow.

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