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What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like?

What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like?

It is possible to have high blood pressure for months or even years and remain unaware that you are suffering from this chronic condition.

There are two types of high blood pressure. The first is primary hypertension (also known as “essential hypertension”) whereby a person has high blood pressure that worsens over time with no apparent underlying cause. This is usually attributable to genetic factors.

The second type, secondary hypertension, occurs as a result of another disease or condition. It may be due to kidney disease, diabetes and autoimmune conditions such as lupus.

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Why it’s important to measure your blood pressure regularly

If you have high blood pressure you should take steps to improve your health. High blood pressure puts you at risk for a range of illnesses and conditions such as stroke and heart disease. It may also point to an underlying health problem that requires urgent treatment.

It is, therefore, important to monitor your blood pressure. Take it every month using a home monitoring device and be sure to attend regular check-ups as directed by your physician.

What does your reading mean?

Look at the table below to interpret your blood pressure reading.

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    What to do if you have high blood pressure

    If you have a high reading, it is important that you make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. If the top number is 180 or higher or the bottom number is 110 or above, you must call an ambulance because such high readings indicate a medical emergency known as hypertensive crisis.

    Aside from high blood pressure readings, symptoms include nosebleeds, a bad headache, and dizzy spells. As a hypertensive crisis is rare, you should always take a second reading before calling for help. If you are sure that your reading is dangerously high, seek help without delay. Hypertensive crisis can result in damage to the lungs, swelling in the brain, and seizures.

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    How to control your blood pressure

    If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend one or more forms of treatment. Potential interventions include medication, weight loss and dietary changes.

    • The Dash Diet

    One of the best ways to prevent and manage high blood pressure is to eat a healthier diet. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is often recommended to patients with high blood pressure. It entails reducing levels of cholesterol and sodium.

    There is a strong emphasis on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grain foods. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is also recommended as part of a DASH diet as it is believed to have a protective effect on the cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Those following this diet are also advised to avoid red meat, excess alcohol and coconut oil.

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    • Exercise regularly

    It is also important to exercise regularly. Cardiovascular workouts three times a week between 30 and 60 minutes per session will improve your overall health and help lower your blood pressure. Exercise is also a good way of relieving stress, which may be another factor contributing to high blood pressure.

    • Medications

    If lifestyle modifications do not work, there are several different types of medications that a doctor may prescribe to lower high blood pressure.

    Diuretics, also referred to as “water pills,” are used to remove excess levels of sodium. Beta-blockers may be recommended as a means of slowing the rate blood passes through the veins. Alpha blockers may be employed to help blood flow more freely by preventing the usual mechanism by which the nerves in the body constricts the blood vessels.

    These medications, together with lifestyle adjustments, can help the majority of patients get their blood pressure under control. So if you suspect you have high blood pressure, make an appointment to see your physician today.

    Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

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    Jay Hill

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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