FACTS ON HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Are there any visible signs that would tell a high cholesterol level in the blood? We can never tell who has it by just merely looking at the person. I have mentioned to a friend that I have a high cholesterol level in my blood. She laughed at me and said that it doesn’t show. Just to give you an idea, I’m neither underweight nor overweight, had maintained my ideal body weight and I don’t feel any unusual either. But my cholesterol level is high!
We usually associate high cholesterol level to being overweight and having a big physique which is also true, but not always the case. We sometimes find out that we have it, after a routine blood test, just like mine. Others could feel something and show signs of abnormalities in their bodies which lead them to consulting their doctors.
As a result of continuous high cholesterol level in the blood and left unattended, build up of this fatty substance causes narrowing of the blood vessel walls. Our body can identify something that is not normal and tends to show signs.
One condition in which the pressure of blood increases as it flows to the narrowed blood vessel due to atherosclerosis is called hypertension or what we commonly hear as high blood pressure. If this pressure stays high over time, it can cause damage to other organs of the body.
Pressure in the blood can be best measured with the use of an apparatus called sphygmomanometer.
How to read blood pressure?
There are 2 kinds of pressure in the blood:
- Systolic pressure = the pressure of blood as the heart contracts. Normal ranges between 90-140 mm Hg
- Diastolic pressure = the pressure of blood as the heart relaxes. Normal ranges between 60-90mm Hg
When to seek medical advice?
If you are experiencing one of these conditions, it is very important to get checked by your doctor:
- Borderline hypertension = reading at 140/90 mm Hg, whether accompanied with signs or not.
- Hypertensive urgency = systolic BP > 200 mm Hg and diastolic BP > 120 mm Hg.
- Hypertensive emergency = diastolic BP > 140 mm Hg with evidence of acute organ damage.
Signs and Symptoms of high blood pressure:
- Headache ( usually upon waking up in the morning)
- Visual disturbances
- Tachycardia- faster heart rate of ( >100 beats per minute)
- Bradycardia – slower heart rate (<60 beats per minute)
Complications of high blood pressure:
- Heart failure – a condition where a heart enlarges and get weaker and leads to inability of the heart to pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs.
- Kidney Failure- narrowing of the blood vessels in the kidney.
- Aneurysm- abnormal bulge in the arterial wall. Common sites for aneurysms are the arteries from the brain, legs, intestines and spleen.
- Stroke- narrowed arteries and limited blood supply to the brain.
- Amputation of legs- when the arteries are narrowed and limited blood supply to the legs.
- Blindness- when the blood vessels in the eye burst and bleed.
The sooner you found out that you have a high cholesterol level in your blood, lower your cholesterol level the soonest possible to avoid developing high blood pressure and prevent much more serious complications.