What is Hypertension?
High blood pressure, technically called hypertension, is when your blood pressure is too high. This condition is very common today, so if you suffer from it, you’re not alone. If you have hypertension, you may not notice any sudden symptoms, as the condition tends to develop gradually over time. Read on to find out more about blood pressure, hypertension symptoms and causes, and how Chinese Medicine can help.
Blood Pressure Readings:
The amount of blood being pumped through your blood vessels and the resistance to this pumping are measured as blood pressure. The narrower your blood vessels, the more resistance there is to blood flow, and the higher your blood pressure will be.
A blood pressure reading is measured using a pressure cuff and is made up of a top number (systolic pressure) and a bottom number (diastolic pressure). The systolic pressure is measured during the heartbeat, and diastolic pressure is the pressure between heartbeats. See the table below for healthy and unhealthy blood pressure readings.
Common symptoms of high blood pressure include:
- Blood spots in the eyes (may occur in serious cases)
Since hypertension develops gradually, it can take years before you experience obvious symptoms. So, the best way to check if you have hypertension is to get regular blood pressure readings with your doctor. This can be once or twice a year.
More serious symptoms like blood noses, chest pain, difficulty breathing, changes in vision, and headache can occur during a hypertensive crisis. This is when your blood pressure is dangerously high. If you experience or witness a hypertensive crisis, you must seek urgent medical attention immediately.
What Causes Hypertension?
Hypertension may be caused by different elements, depending on whether you have primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension. Essential hypertension is more common than secondary hypertension and can be caused by a combination of factors. These include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- High alcohol consumption
- Your age
- Genetic factors
Primary hypertension tends to develop slowly.
Secondary hypertension can occur more rapidly and may be more serious than primary hypertension. Kidney disease, congenital heart defects, thyroid problems, chronic alcohol consumption, obstructive sleep apnoea, adrenal gland problems, medication side effects, and illegal drugs can all contribute to causing secondary hypertension.
If you have high blood pressure, you may be at risk of complications including:
- Heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.
- Compromised memory, ability to learn, reason, and speak
This is because hypertension can damage your body even without showing obvious symptoms. If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to get an early diagnosis to have the best chance of preventing complications. Early treatment is ideal, as complications may be non-reversible.
How Can Chinese Medicine Help?
In most cases, hypertension can be treated simply through lifestyle changes. Keeping a regular exercise routine, maintaining healthy body weight, and consuming a healthy diet full of nutritious fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can all help to reverse hypertension. However, Chinese Medicine is also a great treatment option, especially when combined with positive lifestyle adjustments.
To treat your condition, a Chinese Medicine practitioner will first investigate the underlying cause of the disease. Often, imbalances or weaknesses in the major organs of our body can cause symptoms of the disease. For example, if your heart is weak, you may experience circulation problems like hypertension. That’s why Chinese Medicine uses effective treatments like acupuncture and natural herbal medicine, to energize and strengthen weaker organs. The great thing about Chinese Medicine is that your treatment can be adjusted to suit your own unique situation, based on your individual health and body.
Overall, hypertension is a condition that occurs when your blood pressure is too high. This condition usually develops slowly, so it’s best to get regular blood pressure readings for early diagnosis. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to dangerous complications including heart attack and stroke. But the good news is, that hypertension can usually be treated through lifestyle changes, as well as by Chinese Medicine.
Holland, K. (2021, October 27). Everything You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension
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