What is Hypertension?
High blood pressure, also called “hypertension,” is a serious medical condition. This condition happens when the pressure of the blood pumping through your arteries is too powerful. High blood pressure usually does not cause symptoms. Long term high blood pressure, however, is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss, and chronic kidney disease.
High blood pressure is a common, chronic (ongoing) health condition. It affects adults of all ages, but especially those over age 65. A study done in India in 2014 which stated a systematic review and meta-analysis which stated that Overall prevalence for hypertension in India was 29.8% in which about 33% urban and 25% rural Indians are hypertensive.
How is blood pressure measured?
Usually the Blood pressure is measured in terms of systolic and diastolic pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). According to the AHA (American heart association) these are the ranges of blood pressure
mm Hg (upper #)
mm Hg (lower #)
|Normal||less than 120||and||less than 80|
|Prehypertension||120 – 139||or||80 – 89|
|High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
|140 – 159||or||90 – 99|
|High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
|160 or higher||or||100 or higher|
(Emergency care needed)
|Higher than 180||or||Higher than 110|
Major risk factors for developing high blood pressure or hypertension:
Family history:. High blood pressure often runs in families. It accounts for 2 to 3 percent of all cases. Various researchers have identified many genes and other mutations associated with high blood pressure.
Old age: Age is the major risk factor of hypertension. Blood pressure increases with age in both men and women. The risks for high blood pressure increases in men over age 45 and women over age 55.
Gender related: males are more prone to hypertension then female.
Obesity: About a third of patients with high blood pressure are overweight. Even moderately obese adults have double the risk of hypertension than people with normal weights. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for high blood pressure when they reach adulthood.
Life style Factors (Lack of physical activities, poor diet and too much of salt intake, overweight and obesity, stress, sleep apnea (less sleep), alcohol and smoking) are some of the life style habits which increases the risk of developing hypertension or high blood pressure problems.
Some of the Secondary hypertension is caused by pre-existing problem like:kidney abnormality(The kidneys normally regulate the body’s salt balance by retaining sodium and water and excreting potassium. Imbalances in this kidney function can expand blood volumes, which can cause high blood pressure), Narrowing of arteries or structural abnormality of the aorta (the large blood vessel of heart) which increase the blood pressure , Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism (Overactive thyroid gland) or Pregnancy can also cause hypertension.
What are the Signs and symptoms related to hypertension?
There’s a common misconception that people with high blood pressure, also called HBP or hypertension, will experience Signs such as nervousness, sweating, difficulty in sleeping or facial flushing. The truth is that HBP is largely a symptomless condition.
Everybody needs to keep a check on their blood pressure, and also to control high blood pressure from developing. when blood pressure readings goes up to dangerously high levels (systolic of 180 or higher OR diastolic of 110 or higher) may obvious symptoms occur. This high blood pressure is known as hypertensive crisis, and emergency medical treatment is necessary.
In addition to extreme readings, a person in hypertensive crisis may experience Severe headaches, Severe anxiety, Shortness of breath, Nosebleeds.
What are the complications associated with hypertension?
The higher the level of BP, the more likely that various cardiovascular diseases will develop prematurely through acceleration of atherosclerosis. If untreated, about 50% of hypertensive patients die of coronary heart disease or congestive heart failure (CHF), about 33% of stroke, and 10% to 15% of renal failure. So, it is better to control and make a check on your blood pressure until it’s too late.
Coronary Artery Disease: High blood pressure contributes to the thickening of the blood vessel walls, which can cause or worsen atherosclerosis (accumulated deposits of cholesterol in the blood vessels). The end result is coronary artery disease (CAD), also called ischemic heart disease, which increases the risk for angina (chest pain), heart attack, stroke, and death. High blood pressure is the most common risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Heart Failure: High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload. Over time, this can cause the heart muscle to thicken. As the heart pumps against elevated pressure in the blood vessels, the left ventricle becomes enlarged and the amount of blood pumped by the heart each minute (cardiac output) goes down, a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). Without treatment, this can lead to heart failure.
Cardiac Arrythmias: High blood pressure increases the risk for cardiac arrhythmias (disturbances and irregularities in heartbeats). Arrhythmias include Atrial fibrillation, premature ventricular contractions, and ventricular tachycardia.
Stroke: About two-thirds of people who suffer a first stroke have moderate elevated blood pressure (160/95 mm Hg or above). Hypertensive people have up to 10 times the normal risk of stroke, depending on the severity of the blood pressure in the presence of other risk factors. Hypertension is also an important cause of so-called silent cerebral infarcts, or blockages, in the blood vessels in the brain (mini-strokes) that may predict major stroke or progress to dementia over time.
Dementia: Isolated systolic hypertension may pose a particular risk for dementia (memory loss).
Pregnancy and High blood pressure: Many women who are likely to develop hypertension when they are older have their first elevated blood pressure readings during pregnancy. Severe, sudden high blood pressure in pregnant women is one component of a condition called preeclampsia (commonly called toxemia) that can be very serious for both mother and child. These women often require antihypertensive medications during pregnancy and closer monitoring of themselves and the fetus. Continued hypertension after the pregnancy is also not uncommon.
Diabetes and kidney disease: People with diabetes or chronic kidney disease need to reduce their blood pressure to 130/80 mm Hg or lower to protect the heart and help prevent other complications common to both diseases.In AktivOrtho there were many clients having high blood pressure and by doing the dietary changes and doing cardio-exercises they have maintained their optimal blood pressure but hypertension is a silent feature people don’t recognized they are suffering from a hypertension problem until they end up into any complications like heart attack , stroke or any other complications. In AktivOrtho there are many cases of stroke, haemorrhage, migraine and their primary cause was high blood pressure (hypertension) and some of them are rehabilitated with the good recovery and others are undergoing neuro-rehabiliation and metabolic balance diet program.
So it’s necessary to check on your blood pressure as early as possible so to reduce the risk of complication caused by hypertension.
What are the Solutions for hypertension?
There are mainly three components for reducing the hypertension which includes life style changes (like change in the diet, reducing the salt intake , reducing the alcohol , having good balance diet ); medical management and then exercises (aerobic and strength training ). The most effective method to reduce blood pressure and to maintain is by doing exercises and change of life style. Exercise not only improves the workings of the cardiovascular system, but can lower blood pressure as well. The key to maximizing the benefits of exercise is to follow a well-designed program that you can stick to over the long-term.
1. Life style change
Reduce Salt intake:-An important part of healthy eating is choosing foods that are low in salt (sodium chloride) and other forms of sodium. Using less sodium is key to keeping blood pressure at a healthy level.
High consumption of vegetables and fruits and low-fat – people with risk of high blood pressure are advised to minimize intake of saturated fat and total fat and to eat whole-grain, high-fibre foods. Eating a healthy diet, including the DASH diet which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.”
Reducing weight and maintaining it - Hypertension is closely correlated with excess body weight and weight reduction is followed by a fall in blood pressure
Reduce alcohol consumption Alcohol can have a serious long-term effect on blood pressure and research has shown that heavy drinking can lead to increased risk of hypertension for both men and women
Stress reduction - Avoiding sources of stress, where possible, and developing healthy coping strategies for managing unavoidable stress can help with blood pressure control, especially as many people turn to alcohol, drugs, smoking and unhealthy foods or overeating to cope with stress.
2. Most important is to do Regular physical exercise - “hypertensive patients should participate in at least 30 min of moderate-intensity dynamic aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, cycling or swimming) on 5 to 7 days a week” to reduce the blood pressure .
3. Other solution includes Drugs to Treat High Blood Pressure: Diuretics, Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers, Alpha-blockers, Alpha-agonists, Renin inhibitors, Combination medication. There are many drugs to reduce the blood pressure but Ask your doctor prior to take any medicine.
How to go and the right way of doing exercises for hypertension?
THE FIRST STEP Before you begin an exercise program, take a fitness test, and then increase your level of activity. Before starting the exercises do warm up for 5- to 10-minute which helps your body get moving and helps prevent injury.
A well-rounded physical activity program includes aerobic exercise and strength training exercise, but not necessarily in the same session. This blend helps maintain or boost cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and overall health and function.Regular physical activity will provide more health benefits than sporadic, high intensity workouts, so choose exercises you are likely to enjoy and that you can incorporate into your schedule.
1. Aerobic exercises: By a research done in 2001 by Whelton showed that Aerobic exercises helps in reducing blood pressure .It is recommended that least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (working hard enough to break a sweat, but still able to carry on a conversation) for 5 days per week, or 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week. Combinations of moderate- and vigorous intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation.30 minutes a day of brisk walking – significantly contributes to longevity (long life). Even a person with risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes or even a smoking habit can gain real benefits from incorporating regular physical activity into their daily life. Common aerobic exerciseswhich people should do to reduce their blood pressure: Walking, Running Stair climbing, Cycling, Rowing, Swimming.
2. Strength training should be performed a minimum of 2 to 3 days each week that target all Major muscle groups. This type of training can be accomplished by using body weight, resistance bands, free weights, medicine balls or weight machines.
Things to remember before staring the strength training are :_
Learn and use proper form. During weight training, a person should use proper form and technique as it reduces the risk of injury.
Don’t hold your breath. Holding your breath during exertion can result in dangerous spikes in blood pressure. Instead, breathe easily and continuously during each exercise.
Lift lighter weights more times. Lifting heavy weights require more strain, which can cause hypertension. It is advisable that you can challenge your muscles with lighter weights by increasing the number of repetitions you do.
Listen to your body. If you become severely out of breath or dizzy, or if you experience chest pain or pressure then you need to stop your activity right away.
Monitor your progress: The only way to detect high blood pressure is to keep track of your blood pressure readings.
Recent evidences, developments or solutions which helps in reducing the blood pressure
Folic acid supplementation and hypertension medication combined reduced the risk of a first stroke among adults with high blood pressure.
A new study suggests that a form of acupuncture may benefit patients with high blood pressure and lower their risk of stroke and heart disease.
Yogurt may have a beneficial effect on women’s blood pressure, especially when part of a healthy diet.
Young adults with mild cases of high blood pressure may want to steer clear of coffee, as new research suggests drinking the beverage could increase the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks in this population.
Inputs by Gundeep Singh, Occupational Therapist, AktivOrtho.