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High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) affects millions of people and, according to the World Health Organisation, is believed to be responsible for 12.8% of the world’s deaths. High blood pressure is associated with cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and issues with eye health and because not many people are aware they have it until they develop other problems, it is also known as the ‘silent killer’.
High blood pressure can affect both men and women and it is when the blood flow pumped through the heart that would normally pass through your blood vessels starts applying abnormal pressure. This could be because arteries lose elasticity as we age or due to other constrictions.
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"High blood pressure medications are usually recommended along with lifestyle alterations to keep blood pressure under control."
- Manufactured byRamipril
- Ramipril is a prescription treatment for high blood pressure. It is a type of ACE inhibitor and is clinically proven to help lower high blood pressure. This in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular complications occurring. Ramipril, branded as Zestril, is a daily medication which is designed to be a long-term treatment.
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- Manufactured byAmlodipine
- Amlodipine is a treatment for hypertension that is clinically proven to be safe and effective. It is a calcium channel blocker that reduces pressure on the cardiovascular system in order to improve blood circulation around the body. It is a daily, long-term treatment that is only available on prescription.
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- Manufactured byLisinopril
- Lisinopril is a type of high blood pressure treatment known as an ACE inhibitor. It can help lower blood pressure by widening blood vessels to make the flow of blood around the body easier. This reduces pressure on the cardiovascular system, which in turn lowers the risk of associated health complications.
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- Manufactured byBendroflumethiazide
- Bendroflumethiazide is a thiazide diuretic treatment for hypertension, otherwise known as a "water pill". It works to reduce water volume in blood plasma in order to reduce the pressure that is put on the cardiovascular system. It is a clinically proven treatment with a relatively low risk of side effects.
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Many people don't always know that they have high blood pressure until they start to develop health problems as a result of it. Symptoms of the condition itself may include blurred or double vision, nosebleeds and shortness of breath or constant headaches. It is important that you arrange to see your doctor if you experience of these symptoms. However, not everybody will experience symptoms; therefore it's important that adults get their blood pressure checked regularly.
Early detection is vital and depending on your blood pressure levels, you may only need to make a few lifestyle changes to improve your condition. An ideal blood pressure reading is considered to be below 120/80mmHg, but 130/120mmHg is also normal. A blood pressure reading of 140/90mmHg or higher, on multiple occasions, is usually cause for concern. If your blood pressure is high, a doctor will normally take a few readings over a period of time to eliminate factors, such anxiety or the white coat effect. A blood pressure kit to monitor your blood pressure at home may also be recommended.
Blood pressure is classified by doctors as either primary or secondary. Primary is when there is no underlying health condition that is causing an increase in blood pressure, however there are certain risk factors that has been associated with the development of primary blood pressure. These factors could be age, genetic predisposition, ethnicity, lack of exercise, regular high consumption of alcohol, smoking, stress, a diet containing foods high in salt and caffeine and being overweight.
Secondary blood pressure is generally diagnosed when the rise in blood pressure measured is as a result of another disease. Conditions which can cause a rise in blood pressure are kidney disease, diabetes, Cushing's syndrome, lupus and other conditions that affect body tissue. Taking oral contraception, recreational drugs, herbal products and pain killers like ibuprofen can also contribute.
The strain caused by high blood pressure and the heart and arteries can ultimately lead to conditions such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, kidney failure, eye problems, embolism(blood clot or air bubble in arteries causing obstruction), aneurysm (when blood vessel walls rupture and cause internal bleeding)and atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries). There is also some research that suggests that high blood pressure may increase the effects of dementia in some people.
People who are at an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure such as those who are overweight, have family with high blood pressure, are from Caribbean or African descent, who follow a diet high in salt, drink a lot of coffee, are over 65, don't exercise enough, don't follow a balanced diet, smoke or consume large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis should have regular check-ups with their doctor and need to consider making some lifestyle adjustments.
Giving up smoking, learning to relax, losing weight, reducing salt and alcohol intake and becoming more active can all reduce the likelihood of developing high blood pressure or help to control blood pressure if it is already a problem.
If your blood pressure is already high, a doctor may choose to prescribe a blood pressure medication to help keep your blood pressure under control. These treatments are usually long term and you may have to take a combination of treatments for the best results. Some of the treatments prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure are:
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors - This type of medication helps relax blood vessels to facilitate blood flow better and can also reduce the amount of water in the blood, reducing the volume of plasma travelling through your blood vessels. This type of medication is usually recommended to patients in their 50s.
Calcium channel blockers - Calcium blockers work to widen arteries by preventing calcium from entering the muscle cells that line blood vessels. This is because the smooth muscles in arteries need calcium to contract and narrow. They are recommended for people to use in their 50s and are particularly effective in those of African or Caribbean descent.
Diuretics - Remove excess water and salt from the body through urine, often used in combination with other medications.
Alpha-blockers - Alpha blockers also work by allowing blood vessels to relax, however it's normally recommended when other treatments that do the same haven't worked.
Beta – blockers - Causes the heart to beat more slowly, reducing pressure on the arteries and heart. They are mostly recommended when other high blood pressure treatments have not been effective.