11/03/2021 / Heart & Vascular
Elevated blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a chronic condition in which the blood pressure against the arterial walls is continuously high. The normal blood pressure of a healthy adult is 120/80 mm Hg. When it exceeds 140/90 mm Hg, it is called hypertension, and if it reaches above 180/120 mm Hg, the condition becomes severe and requires immediate intervention. Usually, patients suffering from hypertension are prescribed antihypertensive medications (such as prinzide) to check their blood pressure. The abnormal increase of blood pressure can occur when someone abruptly stopped taking their medications or due to poorly managed blood pressure.
High blood pressure is also called the silent killer as it has no obvious clinical symptoms. However, when the blood pressure has severely elevated, the patient may suffer from headache, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, flushed face, chest pain, and loss of balance.
Many factors can contribute to increased blood pressure such as too much salt in the diet, being overweight or obese, smoking, lack of physical exercise, alcohol consumption, stress, sleep deprivation, etc.
There are two types of high blood pressure crises- hypertensive urgency and hypertensive emergency. Both of these are characterized by elevated blood pressure but in case of hypertensive emergency, the increased blood pressure may cause organ damage (including eyes, brain, blood vessels, kidney, and heart) whereas, in hypertensive urgency, no signs and symptoms of acute organ damage are observed. Such patients' blood pressure must be lowered immediately to stop the progressive damage of the target organs.
Immediate medical intervention is needed for the patients suffering from a hypertensive emergency to prevent organ damage. In such situations, the first and foremost medical treatment is to provide the drug labetol (an adrenergic receptor) through intravenous injections or oral ingestion. This drug helps in decreasing the blood pressure by causing dilation of the blood vessels and does not compromise with the cerebral blood flow. Other vasodilators such as nitroglycerin and nitroprusside are also used to manage hypertensive emergencies.
However, it should be noted that a slow and steady approach is required to lower down the blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure too quickly is dangerous as the blood vessels carry blood to all the vital organs of the body including the brain. A sudden drop of blood pressure may stop the blood flow up to the brain, thereby disrupting the continuous flow of nutrients (mainly glucose) and oxygen to the brain. This can lead to a stroke or even permanent brain damage.
Certain home remedies can also help in lowering down the blood pressure which is helpful before the medical help arrives. These are:
The patient should stay calm and composed. This might be difficult for the patient but staying calm can actually lower down the blood pressure. It is advised to the patient to sit down in a relaxed position and take a few deep breaths, hold them for few seconds and then release it.
A small cup of chamomile or hibiscus tea is found effective in lowering down the elevated blood pressure quickly. Though, coffee and black tea should be avoided.
If the patient has already been prescribed any antihypertensive medicine, it should be taken immediately.
A piece of dark chocolate can help in lowering the blood pressure by making the patient calm as it triggers the release of the endorphin hormone.
Berries (such as blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) help improve the blood pressure as they are loaded with polyphenols which are great for the heart.
Lying down on the bed also helps in lowering down the blood pressure because when a person lies down, his heart and head becomes aligned, so the heart does not have to exert excessive pressure to make the blood reach his head. This reduces the load on the heart and thereby decreases the blood pressure.
A minimum of six hours of uninterrupted sleep is required by an individual for the normal functioning of the body. Sleep also helps in regulating the stress hormone, hence lowering down the blood pressure naturally.
Acquiring a healthy lifestyle can help in lowering down the blood pressure over time and does not allow a medical emergency to occur. Some simple yet effective recommendations are:
Exercising daily for at least thirty minutes helps in getting the blood pressure under control.
Too much salt in a person’s diet is a major cause of hypertension. The daily salt intake should be less than 2 grams to keep the high blood pressure checked.
Liming alcohol intake (not more than one or two drinks per day) also helps in lowering down blood pressure over time.
Stress reduction must be a priority for managing high blood pressure as being stressed is directly linked to elevated blood pressure. Walking outside in the garden, listening to relaxing music, taking a warm shower, etc. helps in reducing stress.
Elevated blood pressure is an emergency condition, so one should not try to immediately lower down the blood pressure on its own and medical help should be called as there is no fast and safe way to lower down hypertension.
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