People who keep track of their blood pressure are only often aware of the more frequent causes of high blood pressure, such as salt and stress. However, there are other contributing factors, such as a number of unknown foods, behaviours, and health conditions as well that can derail dedicated and consistent efforts to control high blood pressure or hypertension, a disorder that affects almost half of all adults globally.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. In layman's terms, it can be defined as the increased force that the blood exerts against the arterial walls. Ideally, blood pressure should be 120/80 mm Hg, in most cases. High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or 140/90 mm Hg, depending on the recommendations used. The brain, heart, kidneys, and blood vessels can all be harmed by high blood pressure. High blood pressure can sometimes lead to a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and renal failure if not diagnosed and treated properly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S, just one out of every four adults has been able to lower their blood pressure to the acceptable limits with the help of medication. A fact that is stressed by experts over and over again is that it's critical to keep blood pressure within the suggested range of 120/80 (mm Hg). Hypertension, especially when on the higher side, can raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, both of which are leading causes of death globally.
What causes Hypertension, and how does frequent medication play a part?
High blood pressure has many reasons, including genetics, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and some medical problems. Blood pressure can also be raised by certain drugs that are consumed to treat a variety of ailments. Several studies have shown that blood pressure can be raised by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as Ibuprofen (Advil) and Naproxen (Aleve). According to a new study published in the journal of the American Heart Association, regular use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful. The journal states that the continuous use of these drugs citing pain can be highly harmful to blood pressure levels.
Decongestants, which relieve stuffiness by constricting blood vessels and reducing swelling in the nose, are other over-the-counter medicine variants to be wary of. This can also cause an increase in blood pressure. As a result, it is not recommended to use them on a regular basis.
Checking blood pressure and understanding where one is on the blood pressure spectrum is critical to understanding where one stands in terms of imminent risks related to blood pressure. With the help of a cuff-style biceps monitor, one can even check that at home. If a deviation is observed, a Doctor can be consulted on what might have triggered it, and what is the best approach to control it - whether through drugs, lifestyle modifications, or both, is also critical.
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(The article is contributed by Dr K.Jayanthi, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, SIMS Hospital, Chennai)