EVERY FIFTH ADULT IN THE WORLD HAS ARTERIAL HYPERTENSION , and many do not even know about it. Arterial hypertension (which is often mistakenly called hypertension) may not have symptoms, and the myth that only older people complain of high blood pressure interferes with the diagnosis out of interest. Age does affect the incidence, but everyone can be at risk, regardless of the year of birth. We figure out where arterial hypertension comes from, how it threatens and how to prevent it.
Where does it come from
In most cases, it is impossible to say unequivocally why arterial hypertension appeared. On the one hand, there is a genetic predisposition to it, on the other hand, lifestyle factors play the main role in its development. For example, due to excess weight and obesity, the heart has to give more blood to the body, and this increases the pressure on the vessels. Due to a passive lifestyle and lack of movement, an untrained heart cannot cope with the stress. Alcohol interferes with the work of the heart, and smoking temporarily constricts blood vessels and generally affects their condition.
Stress also has a negative effect on blood vessels. An increase in blood pressure is a natural reaction to anxiety, and after worries, you must definitely rest and come back to normal, but this does not always work out. In addition, if stress causes you to overeat, smoke or relax with alcohol, then it attracts additional risk factors. Sometimes arterial hypertension develops due to other diseases : adrenal tumors, kidney disease, thyroid problems; it happens that high blood pressure is noted only during pregnancy. The pressure may rise even when breathing stops during sleep, as is often the case with snoring.
It is believed that older people complain of high blood pressure – but this is more likely due to the fact that with age, concomitant diseases make themselves felt, according to the symptoms of which you can also notice arterial hypertension. Age is indeed a risk factor for this disease, and one of the main ones. But it is impossible to say exactly what age is considered dangerous. Different manuals talk about a span of 45 to 65 years. According to WHO, the risk increases sharply after 50 years, when the diagnosis of arterial hypertension can be established in every second person; between the ages of 25 and 50, one in ten has such a risk. This is a lot, especially considering the absence of any symptoms, which does not allow diagnosing the condition in time.
How to spot it
It is often impossible to understand from how you feel that your blood pressure has increased. If the numbers are high, then a headache may occur, but the initial stages of hypertension usually go away without symptoms. Sometimes dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, nosebleeds appear – but it is not always clear what the reason is, because such manifestations can accompany the usual stress and fatigue. It is impossible to guess whether the pressure is a problem, the only reliable test is to measure it with a tonometer, but there are some nuances here.
Since blood pressure can also rise in healthy people, there are rules for measuring it – and they boil down to the elimination of any stimuli. Half an hour before the procedure, you can not drink anything invigorating, even tea, or smoke, because nicotine strongly narrows blood vessels and distorts the picture of the study. Before measuring, you need to calm down, sit for five minutes, do not talk and relax, without being distracted by the TV or phone screen. Of course, at a medical examination, when you need to go around a dozen offices, run around the floors and stand in line, and have time for everything before lunchtime, blood pressure measurements are unlikely to be reliable – especially if you are worried at the sight of a white coat.
Those who are at risk should visit a doctor at least once a year and check their blood pressure, but at the same time make sure that the rules for such measurement are followed. If at the reception it turns out that the indicators speak of a disease, it is worth buying a home tonometer. True, you should not get too carried away with measuring the pressure at home: this will not give the necessary information for the doctor, but it can lead to psychological dependence, the so-called neurosis of the obsessive measurement of pressure .
How to treat and prevent
Arterial hypertension is treated, often without medication, but simply through lifestyle changes. If it is obvious which risk factors contributed to the development of the disease, then first of all it is necessary to eliminate them. Those who smoke should give up this habit, those who are obese should lose weight, those who exercise little should start exercising. The recommended diet is the usual principles of good nutrition: you can eat a lot of vegetables, you can not eat foods of unknown origin with trans fats and sugar in large quantities. The difficulty, perhaps, is only in limiting the amount of salt – no more than 2300 (or better not more than 1500) mg of sodium is allowed per day , that is, a teaspoon of salt. It is very easy to exceed this amount if you remember that almost all ready-made foods already contain salt.
Unfortunately, this is not always enough: blood pressure can also increase in eating athletes. In such cases, special medications are prescribed to keep hypertension under control. Many of them need to be taken every day, for life – and this is another reason why the disease is still progressing, because not everyone understands the importance of constant medication. A very common mistake is to take pills only when the pressure rises, and when it has returned to normal, stop. In fact, they need to be taken continuously to keep blood pressure at a normal level, otherwise the hypertension will return.
As for prevention, this is again the good old healthy lifestyle. It is worth everyone to move regularly, quit smoking and switch to a healthy diet, even without measuring blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle, no matter how boring it may seem, saves you from many risks. And if one of the relatives lives with arterial hypertension, then such a lifestyle becomes mandatory, there are no other options for prevention yet.