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High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries.
Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all the tissues and organs of the
body. High blood pressure does not mean excessive emotional tension, although emotional
tension and stress can temporarily increase blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is below
120/80; blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called "pre-hypertension", and a blood
pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high.

 
   
One of the most dangerous aspects of hypertension is that you may not know that you have it.
There are generally no symptoms of high blood pressure, so you usually don't feel it. In fact,
nearly one-third of people who have hypertension don't know it. The only way to find out if you
have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is
especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for,
including:

` Severe headache
` Fatigue or confusion
` Vision problems
` Chest pain
` Difficulty breathing
` Irregular heartbeat
` Blood in the urine
` Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears

If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You could be having a
hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Untreated hypertension can lead to serious diseases, including stroke, heart disease, kidney
failure and eye problems.

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The degree to which hypertension can be prevented depends on a number of features including
current blood pressure level, sodium/potassium balance, detection and omission of
environmental toxins, changes in end/target organs (retina, kidney, heart, among others), risk
factors for cardiovascular diseases and the age at diagnosis of prehypertension or at risk for
hypertension. A prolonged assessment in which repeated measurements of blood pressure are
taken provides the most accurate assessment of blood pressure levels. Following this, lifestyle
changes are recommended to lower blood pressure, before the initiation of prescription drug
therapy. The process of managing prehypertension according the guidelines of theBritish
Hypertension Society suggest the following lifestyle changes:

Î Weight reduction and regular aerobic exercise (e.g., walking): Regular exercise
improves blood flow and helps to reduce the resting heart rate and blood pressure.
Î Reducing dietary sugar.
Î Reducing sodium (salt) in the body by disuse of condiment sodium and the adoption of a
high potassium diet which rids the renal system of excess sodium. Many people
usepotassium chloridesalt substitute to reduce their salt intake.
Î Additional dietary changes beneficial to reducing blood pressure include the DASH
diet (Ôietary pproaches to top ypertension) which is rich in fruits and vegetables and low-
fat or fat-free dairy products. This diet has been shown to be effective based on research
sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. In addition, an increase in
dietarypotassium, which offsets the effect of sodium has been shown to be highly effective
in reducing blood pressure.
Î Discontinuing tobacco use and alcohol consumption has been shown to lower blood
pressure. The exact mechanisms are not fully understood, but blood pressure (especially
systolic) always transiently increases following alcohol or nicotine consumption. Abstaining
from cigarette smoking reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack which are associated with
hypertension.
Î Vasodialators such as niacin.
Î Limiting alcohol intake to less than 2 standard drinks per day can reduce systolic blood
pressure by between 2-4mmHg.
Î Reducing stress, for example with relaxation therapy, such as meditation and
other mindbody relaxation techniques, by reducing environmental stress such as high sound
levelsand over-illumination can also lower blood pressure. Jacobson's Progressive Muscle
Relaxation and biofeedback are also beneficial, such as device-guided paced breathing,
although meta-analysis suggests it is not effective unless combined with other relaxation
techniques.
Î Increasing omega 3 fatty acids can help lower hypertension. Fish oil is shown to lower blood
pressure in hypertensive individuals. The fish oil may increase sodium and water excretion.