Hypertension (High BP): Symptoms & How to Control

May 18, 2022

Blood Pressure is the force with which the blood flows in the arteries. Every time the heartbeats, the blood is pushed into the arteries to circulate in our body. The blood circulating exerts pressure on the walls of arteries. When this pressure is measured, it is called blood pressure. Blood pressure gives valuable information regarding the working of the heart and also about the condition of arteries in the circulatory system. Blood pressure is recorded in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Blood Pressure is recorded using a manual or digital monitor. Blood pressure is usually written in two numbers. The first number or the number written on top is the Systolic blood pressure and the number written second or below is diastolic blood pressure. As age progresses, the blood vessel usually becomes stiff and the blood pressure increases.

Although having a blood pressure of 120 (systolic) /80 (diastolic) is ideal. Different guidelines suggest slightly different values and your doctor will determine what BP target is most suitable for you, keeping in mind your age, the other comorbid conditions, and your other profile.

What is most important is to get your BP checked on repeated occasions and make sure it is in the target range individualized for you by the doctor.

Hypertension can be PRIMARY or SECONDARY. In people diagnosed with hypertension, if secondary hypertension is suspected, some other tests may be required to look for the cause of secondary hypertension and if the cause is found, and is a correctible cause, then in most cases, the hypertension is completely reversible.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

Age, Food, State of mind, and body weight, genetic predisposition can all causes hypertension. Your doctor will evaluate you to find out the cause of hypertension in you. The common causes are:-
• Sedentary Lifestyle
• Being Over Weight
• Excessive stress
• Smoking and tobacco use
• Alcohol consumption
• High salt diet
• Family History
• Lack of physical Activity


Hypertension can present with a wide variety of symptoms to no symptoms at all. Patients may directly present with symptoms of end-organ damage. That’s why it’s very important to regularly get checked and screen for hypertension. The other common symptoms of hypertension are:

• Headache
• Fatigue
• Blurry of vision
• Dizziness
• Bleeding from the nose
• Shortness of breath

Some women can have hypertension during pregnancy which then leads to many complications in pregnancy. It is therefore very important for pregnant women to routinely get their BP checked at every visit and more often as advised by the doctor.

Effects of uncontrolled BP (Hypertension)

If hypertension remains uncontrolled, it can cause problems in the blood supply to various vital organs and cause organ failure. Having Controlled Hypertension can lead to:

• Stroke
• Heart attack
• Kidney failure
• Eye damage
• Heart failure
• Dementia

And many more complications which otherwise could be avoided with proper control of Blood pressure. Uncontrolled Hypertension is a major Public Health problem.

As per the data provided by World Health Organization:

• An estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have Hypertension most (two-third) living in middle and low-Income countries
• An estimated 46% of adults with hypertension are unaware of the fact that they have high BP (Hypertension)
• Less than half (42%) of adults with hypertension are actually diagnosed and treated
• Only approximately 1 in 5 patients with hypertension have their BP in control
• Hypertension is a major cause for premature death worldwide

Prevention and control of Hypertension

• Taking medication regularly, following up with the doctor, and making changes as advised (by the doctor)
• Diet – eat diet rich in fibre and low in sodium and fat
• Personalised recommendations can be found by looking up for DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
• Try to fill one half of your plate in very meal with fruits and vegetables, thereby increasing their intake
• Eat low fat, Eat low sodium diet
• Avoid fried and processed foods
• Weight loss and physical activity
• Prepare a personalized weight loss and exercise plan customized for you with the help of your doctor keeping in mind your medical condition
• Generally, at least 30 minutes of physical exercise is recommended per day. Walking, swimming and cycling are all good activities.
• Keep your diabetes and cholesterol levels under control
• Get screened often for complications of hypertension as advised by your doctor
• Don’t use products containing tobacco and nicotine
• Stop smoking. Even E-Cigarettes are not allowed
• Don’t consume alcohol in any form
• Get adequate good quality sleep
• Practice meditation and yoga
• If you are on medication for hypertension, contact your doctor before you take any other medications

Remember that controlling blood pressure is a lifelong commitment and you may have to visit the doctor often. If your BP recordings are fluctuating, your doctor may ask you to go for ambulatory BP monitoring. Hypertension has been found to be one of the most common comorbidities associated with COVID-19 and its complications although a causal relationship between hypertension and COVID has not been established.

It is unclear whether uncontrolled blood pressure is a direct risk factor to acquire covid. But it is a known fact that having controlled hypertension definitely helps to decrease the disease burden even though there may not be a direct relationship to susceptibility and many organizations across the globe have pressed on this fact. In summary, uncontrolled hypertension like diabetes is one of the most common causes of multiple organ failure and morbidity. If detected early, and controlled appropriately, a lot of precious lives can be saved and unnecessary suffering can be prevented.



By Dr Haroon
Dr Haroon is a consultant of Internal Medicine at KMC Hospital, Mangaluru
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