High blood pressure can often go undetected before it’s too late. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can reduce the risks!
- Hypertension symptoms often go under the radar. However, with regular blood pressure checks you can ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.
- A simple blood pressure reading is the first line of diagnosing and treating chronic hypertension.
- Depending on the underlying cause and other influences, your medical practitioner can advise a suitable treatment plan for your high blood pressure.
Hypertension is often called a “silent disease” because it has no apparent symptoms. It results from persistent high blood pressure caused by resistance in narrowed blood vessels.
Hypertension is prevalent, and nearly 50% Of all U.S adults meet the criteria.
According to Paul K. Whelton (MB, MD, MSc, FAC), this means most people have
“Already doubled [their] risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure.”
Nevertheless, the condition harms the body and can lead to issues like a cardiovascular disease if untreated.
Early detection is crucial, and taking your blood pressure regularly can help track significant changes.
If you have a family history or your blood pressure has been consistently above average, you must check it regularly. Screening is advised for all adults over 18.
An Overview of Hypertension
The onset of hypertension usually occurs over the years. Since there are no physical signs of the condition, your organs and vascular system are susceptible to damage.
Here’s a quick sneak peek of the blood pressure chart:
mm Hg [upper #]
mm Hg [lower #]
Normal Blood Pressure
Less than 120
Less than 80
Elevated Blood Pressure
Less than 80
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension STAGE 1
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension STAGE 2
Consult your doctor immediately
Higher than 180
Higher than 120
There are two types of hypertension diagnosis:
Primary or essential high blood pressure
This form of hypertension is the most common. Natural causes like genes, aging, race, and unhealthy lifestyle choices like lack of regular exercise, alcoholism, and obesity cause it.
Secondary high blood pressure
Underlying conditions and medication usually cause this type of hypertension. It is more severe and is caused by kidney, thyroid, and adrenal gland problems, sleep apnea, use of illegal drugs, and endocrine tumors.
We have a detailed guide on hypertension if you’d like to learn more about the condition.
How is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?
The standard devices for measuring blood pressure include a sphygmomanometer, stethoscope, valve, dial, cuff, and pump. A local pharmacy, doctor, or home BP monitor can help measure these for you.
Taking a blood pressure reading is all you need to diagnose hypertension. This is usually checked during annual check-ups and appointments, but you always ask your medical care provider for one.
If your doctor suspects your blood pressure is too high, you might be asked for a follow-up.
It takes multiple readings before hypertension is diagnosed. This is because external influences like stress during an appointment and the time of day affect blood pressure.
If your blood pressure doesn’t return to standard, further diagnostic tests will be performed to rule out any other conditions. Examples include:
- Blood tests for cholesterol
- EKG or ECG electrocardiogram
- Heart or kidney ultrasounds
Your doctor might also recommend using a home blood pressure monitor several times daily. Take two readings, one minute apart, to calculate an average blood pressure level.
These tests will help your medical practitioner determine your hypertension’s cause and potential damage.
In addition to tests
Your doctor must also consider other factors such as medical and family history, risks, and lifestyle. For instance, smoking, heart problems, diabetes, and genetics can increase the likelihood of hypertension.
Try to be honest with your medical provider to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Treating Chronic High Blood Pressure
Your treatment plan will evolve as your hypertension does.
Medication for chronic hypertension
It can take time to determine the right combination of medications for you. First-line blood pressure-lowering drugs include:
Diuretics or Water Pills
These tablets remove excess sodium from your system, lowering fluid levels. In addition, combination pills containing diuretics and other medication for hypertension are commonly prescribed.
These prohibit the body from producing the Angiotensin II hormone, which regulates blood pressure. Consequently, your vessels don’t constrict.
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
To prevent the Angiotensin II hormone from binding with receptors, doctors prescribe ARBs. Like ACE inhibitors, they also prevent vascular constriction.
Calcium Channel Blockers
By blocking calcium from entering heart muscles and blood vessels, these drugs help your cardiovascular system relax.
Before considering the medications above, discussing the potential risks and side effects is essential. Some drugs should be avoided at all costs while pregnant or can interfere with other ongoing treatments, so ensure to disclose these details to your doctor.
The Bottom Line
If you have been diagnosed with chronic hypertension, the best course of treatment will differ for each patient. Factors like the nature and extent of your hypertension and prescription medication contribute to any recommendations.
Making minor lifestyle adjustments may be all it takes to control and even reverse high blood pressure without medication. Regular blood pressure checks are recommended to ensure you are on the right track for a healthy life.