For how confusing hypertension can be, learning how to maintain a healthy blood pressure is surprisingly simple. As with other types of circulatory health, like cholesterol, the first step to lowering blood pressure is lifestyle change. “Whenever you’re dealing with hypertension, the first thing you need to deal with is lifestyle change,” Watnick explains. “Exercise is essential, weight control is essential. Eating a low-salt diet is quite important.” National guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. For seniors, exercise can involve simple changes to everyday routine, like walking more often and engaging in household chores. In addition to improving overall cardiovascular health and cholesterol, the presence of which can increase blood pressure by narrowing arteries, exercise can also help with weight loss.
As you age, prevention becomes even more important. Systolic pressure tends to creep up once you’re older than 50, and it’s far more important in predicting the risk of coronary heart disease and other conditions. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, may also play a role. Talk to your doctor about how you can manage your overall health to help prevent the onset of hypertension.
Dietary changes can help control blood pressure. One diet designed to promote lower blood pressure is known as the DASH diet. This stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet recommends eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, nuts, and fish. Red meat, saturated fats, and sweets should be avoided. The DASH diet can lower blood pressure within 2 weeks. It can also help to reduce your intake of sodium. The following is the DASH diet suggested daily intake:
A review of metformin use during pregnancy compared to insulin alone found good short term safety for both the mother and baby but unclear long term safety. Several observational studies and randomized, controlled trials found metformin to be as effective and safe as insulin for the management of gestational diabetes. Nonetheless, several concerns have been raised and evidence on the long-term safety of metformin for both mother and child is lacking. Compared with insulin, women with gestational diabetes treated with metformin gain less weight and are less likely to develop pre‐eclampsia during pregnancy. Babies born to women treated with metformin have less visceral fat, and it has been suggested that this may make them less prone to insulin resistance in later life.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). To reduce your risk of side effects (such as upset stomach), your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
“[Metformin] has been considered a first-line medication in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and it mainly acts by lowering the amount of glucose released by the liver,” says Minisha Sood, MD, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It also helps a hormone called insulin to work better by helping muscles use glucose in a more efficient manner. When insulin works better (and insulin sensitivity improves), a person’s insulin levels are lower than they would be otherwise.”
Generally the first sign of experiencing high blood pressure, the tension on the brain can cause a severe headache. These headaches can come in the form of just a dull throbbing to a debilitating migraine. The reason behind the headache is linked to the blood vessels in the brain, which swell due to the higher instance of blood in the system. This swelling then places pressure on sensitive areas of the brain causing pain to radiate throughout the head, in the temples and even down through the neck. Pain can be treating by taking ibuprofen or paracetamol, however these should not be taken too frequently.
The symptoms similar to symptoms of patients with hypertensive crisis are discussed in medieval Persian medical texts in the chapter of "fullness disease". The symptoms include headache, heaviness in the head, sluggish movements, general redness and warm to touch feel of the body, prominent, distended and tense vessels, fullness of the pulse, distension of the skin, coloured and dense urine, loss of appetite, weak eyesight, impairment of thinking, yawning, drowsiness, vascular rupture, and hemorrhagic stroke. Fullness disease was presumed to be due to an excessive amount of blood within the blood vessels.
Barreto notes that the ease of access to junk food and living off a fast-food diet leads to the higher obesity, which can result in high blood pressure. People are at greater risk for sleep apnea, kidney problems, heart disease, thyroid disease and developing tumors when they suffer from high blood pressure. He points out there are several ways to see improvement with high blood pressure numbers. One is to simply get moving. “Our society needs more emphasis on being active and consuming a healthy diet,” Dr. Barreto said.
Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition of the second half of pregnancy and following delivery characterised by increased blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. It occurs in about 5% of pregnancies and is responsible for approximately 16% of all maternal deaths globally. Pre-eclampsia also doubles the risk of death of the baby around the time of birth. Usually there are no symptoms in pre-eclampsia and it is detected by routine screening. When symptoms of pre-eclampsia occur the most common are headache, visual disturbance (often "flashing lights"), vomiting, pain over the stomach, and swelling. Pre-eclampsia can occasionally progress to a life-threatening condition called eclampsia, which is a hypertensive emergency and has several serious complications including vision loss, brain swelling, seizures, kidney failure, pulmonary edema, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (a blood clotting disorder).
Metformin can also cause impaired kidney and liver functions. This can happen if a patient takes an overly large dose of the drug, which can make it hard for the liver to process it. Kidneys will also be affected. In extreme cases, it is possible for the kidney and liver to fail completely, leading to a lot of complications in the patient. Be very careful about dosage when it comes to metformin.
“I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 16 and at the age 18, I was told I would never conceive a child let alone carry to full term because of my PCOS. I have been on metformin since then I am now 29 yrs old and just had my 3rd child all because of metformin. I’m not going to lie this medication has its ups and downs but I’ve learned over the years to take it 1hr before my meals and always on time never skip a dose. I am now dropping weight like butter and I am currently on microgestin for birth control methods”.
The cuff is placed around the upper arm and inflated with an air pump to a pressure that blocks the flow of blood in the main artery that travels through the arm. The arm is held at the side of the body at the level of the heart, and the pressure of the cuff is gradually released. As the pressure decreases, a health practitioner listens with a stethoscope over the artery at the front of the elbow or an electronic machine senses the pulsation. The pressure at which the practitioner (or machine) first hears a pulsation from the artery is the systolic pressure (the top number). As the cuff pressure decreases further, the pressure at which the pulsation finally stops is the diastolic pressure (the bottom number).
In the past, most attention was paid to diastolic pressure; but nowadays it is recognized that both high systolic pressure and high pulse pressure (the numerical difference between systolic and diastolic pressures) are also risk factors. In some cases, it appears that a decrease in excessive diastolic pressure can actually increase risk, due probably to the increased difference between systolic and diastolic pressures (see the article on pulse pressure). If systolic blood pressure is elevated (>140 mmHg) with a normal diastolic blood pressure (<90 mmHg), it is called "isolated systolic hypertension" and may present a health concern.