High blood pressure or Pulmonary hypertension sends increased blood pressure to the arteries which are the blood vessels that transport blood from one organ to another. In some situations this hypertension can be normal but when it last a long time (i.e becomes chronic) it can be dangerous for the person’s health. Hypertension can then become a risk factor for other illnesses developing. In this article we will look at the causes, symptoms and possible treatments for pulmonary hypertension.
Causes of pulmonary hypertension
According to the World Health Organisation, 40% of adults more than 25 years old showed signs of pulmonary hypertension in 2008 worldwide. These figures only continue to increase. Hypertension is characterised by high blood pressure in your arteries. When a person suffers from hypertension their blood vessels are put under constantly high blood pressure.
Hypertension can have multiple causes and factors. They can be organised into different categories:
- Social Factors: Globalisation, Urbanisation, Old age, Financial situation, Education, Housing,
- Behavioural risk factors: Over-consumption of alcohol, Smoking, Bad Diet, Lack of physical activity.
- Cardio vascular illnesses: Myocardial infarction, Stroke, Heart failure;
- Metabolic risk factors: Obesity, Diabetes, Insomnia.
Genetic and psychological factors should also be taken into consideration. In fact stress can aggravate the situation and can induce the development of pulmonary hypertension. When you are stressed or in a stressed state your blood pressure increases and then decreases when the stressful element has disappeared. However if you are constantly under stress your blood pressure won’t decrease and you could risk developing a chronic pulmonary hypertension.
There is also the phenomenon known as the “white blouse effect” which is when a patient’s blood pressure increases when they are in front of a doctor. During pregnancy, women can also suffer from hypertension. This condition will go away after the birth of their child.
What symptoms can be expressed by hypertension?
Pulmonary hypertension is difficult to detect. In fact it is asymptomatic which means that no symptoms are revealed. However when hypertension is particularly high or over a long duration some of these signs can be detected:
- headaches (migraines)
- extreme tiredness
- vertigo or dizziness
- bleeding noses
- racing heart beat
- pins and needles in your hands and feet
How can you measure your pulmonary hypertension?
Pulmonary tension is measured in millimeter of mercury or mmHg. You can usually have two figures that represent this measure, such as the normal blood pressure which is 120/80.
- 120 mmHg represents the systolic pressure, it is when the heart contracts and sends the blood to the different organs of the body;
- 80 mmHg is the diastolic pressure, which is the lowest pressure in the blood vessels at the end of the heartbeat.
Hypertension is when your systolic pressure is more than 140 mmHg and the diastolic pressure is more than 90 mmHg. Although blood pressure can go above normal levels while exercising or during periods of stress without any repercussion. However a prolonged period of having an abnormally high blood pressure can damage your arteries. Hypertension is therefore something that you should watch out for carefully.
High blood pressure can have three defined stages according to the French High Health Authority. They will then be measured by the health specialist according to their systolic and diastolic values:
- Stage 1: systolic pressure between 140 and 159 mmHg and / or diastolic between 90 and 99 mmHg;
- Stage 2: systolic pressure between 160 and 179 mmHg and / or diastolic between 100 and 109 mmHg;
- Stage 3 (or severe): systolic pressure greater than 180 mmHg and / or diastolic greater than 110 mmHg.
Be careful: Only a doctor or health professional can use these measurement to make a diagnosis. These values are only given as an example.
How to treat hypertension?
Treating high blood pressure is not very simple. After having been diagnosed, the person should immediately be seen to by a health specialist. They will be able to refer the patient to a treatment method and regular follow ups.
For some people can change in their way of life can improve there blood pressure. Less stress, a better diet, more exercise… all of these elements can help someone to regain a normal blood pressure.
If a change in lifestyle is not enough a doctor can prescribe an antihypertensive drug. This type of medication can reduce cardiac activity and allow blood vessels to dilate.
It is also important to note that self checks are recommended. In fact there are many portable tools that are available that allow you to keep check of your blood pressure at home.
There are also some natural ways to reduce hypertension, while also regularly self checking. You can drink beetroot juice or various infusions.