Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
February 5, 2021
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a common affliction that affects millions of Americans. Hypertension is when the force of blood against the artery walls is consistently too high. In short, blood pressure references the amount of pressure in the largest arteries of the heart.
45% of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and many don’t even know they have it.
Chances are, someone you know is struggling with this condition. Unlike many other health issues, thankfully, this one is treatable. This article will describe what hypertension is, what causes hypertension, hypertension symptoms, and the best treatment, plus how to get it.
There are five different blood pressure ranges:
The table below delineates them:
|Normal blood pressure||120/80 or less||120/80|
|Elevated||120-129 over less than 80||122/77|
|Hypertension stage 1||130-139 over 80 to 89||134/86|
|Hypertension stage 2||140-149 over 90+||145/100|
|Hypertension crisis (seek medical help immediately)||Higher than 180 over higher than 120||182/125|
Your blood pressure may temporarily rise due to exercise, anxiety, or drinking coffee, and it is normal for blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day.
What is concerning is when blood pressure is constantly high. There are two categories of hypertension, primary and secondary.
Many people don’t know the cause of their high blood pressure, which classifies their hypertension as primary. Primary, or essential, hypertension tends to develop gradually over many years and is the most common form.
By contrast, secondary hypertension is when you have a root cause for the condition. It tends to appear suddenly and causes higher blood pressure than primary hypertension.
Some of these causes could be:
High blood pressure usually does not have any signs or symptoms, and many people are unaware they are living with the condition.
While rare, dangerously high blood pressure levels may have the following symptoms:
Although these symptoms may arise in few people, they will not appear until blood pressure has reached an alarmingly high level. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer” because it usually has no warning signs, and most people do not know they have it.
The only way to know for sure if you have hypertension is to check blood pressure levels.
Monitoring your blood pressure either at home or through a doctor is crucial to catching hypertension before it has long term effects. Thankfully, most people get their blood pressure taken at routine doctor’s appointments.
Treating hypertension as soon as it is discovered is extremely important. If your blood pressure is at a high level over time, it means your heart is working extra hard to pump blood. This could lead to a myriad of health problems.
If left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to irreversible damage in organs like your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
If untreated, hypertension can lead to
If you discover you have high blood pressure, it is not too late. There are many steps that can be taken to get your blood pressure back to healthy levels. You will likely need a combination of medication and life-style changes.
Read on to learn about different hypertension medications.
When it comes to finding the best treatment for high blood pressure, many doctors will opt for medication. This can help lower your blood pressure until you apply lifestyle changes.
There are several different medication options available. Your doctor may prescribe you one or a combination of drugs, depending on your specific condition.
Here are some of the most commonly prescribed medications to treat hypertension.
Diuretics are one of the most popular drugs for high blood pressure. Also known as water pills, they help your kidneys eliminate excess water and sodium. This is often the first type of medication given to those with hypertension, especially if caught in the earlier stages.
If diuretics don’t lower your blood pressure enough, medical professions will suggest adding another medication in addition to what you’re already taking.
Some of the popular types of diuretics are:
Our heart is a big muscle, and when we ingest calcium, it affects all the muscles in the body. Calcium channel blockers are used to bolster the muscles in your circulatory system. Depending on which one you’re prescribed, it can lower your heart rate. These are usually prescribed to those older than 65.
Some of the popular types of calcium channel blockers are:
These are used to relax the blood vessels and do so by blocking a natural hormone, angiotensin, that narrows blood vessels. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are often prescribed to people who may have kidney issues in addition to hypertension.
ACE inhibitors include drugs like:
Also known as ARBs, angiotensin II receptor blockers are similar to ACE inhibitors. They’re both the preferred medication for those with chronic kidney issues. ARBs work by relaxing the blood vessels and inhibiting angiotensin’s effects in the body instead of blocking its formation like ACE inhibitors.
Two commonly [prescribed ARBs are:
You can pair your prescription with a lifestyle change to perhaps eventually stop taking medications entirely. If you were diagnosed with hypertension but your doctor didn’t prescribe any medications, they may suggest some of these hypertension treatments that you can do at home.
Online doctors are an increasingly popular resource that anyone can use to get a professional consultation. Telemedicine is a convenient, affordable way to get the help you need.
Speak to a board-certified doctor and get medication for hypertension in 15 minutes through our trusted telehealth partner PlushCare.
Click here to book an appointment with a doctor.
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