Valisure intern Karine Bruce-Doe is a rising senior at NYU where she is an Economics major and a Business minor.
With the rise of health concerns due to COVID-19, people have been cognizant of what level of risk they could possess. People with hypertension (HTN), or high blood pressure, fall under the high-risk category because they are more likely to have a stretched heart or experience some other structural change in the heart due to being overworked; and since the heart in these individuals already has to work harder than normal to pump blood, a respiratory infection puts even more strain on it and exacerbates COVID-19 symptoms.
This begs the question “what are the symptoms of high blood pressure?”
Busting The Myths of High Blood Pressure
It is often believed that dizziness, facial redness, and blood spots in the eyes are indicators of high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association’s determinations, a weak association between these symptoms and high blood pressure is present, but there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the validity of their relationship.
- Myth 1: Dizziness. It is not a symptom of high blood pressure, but some people with the illness may experience this sensation as a result of blood pressure medications or a lurking stroke, which is closely related to HTN.
- Myth 2: Facial redness. High blood pressure and facial redness are correlated but do not share a causational relationship. External forces such as extreme weather, sun exposure, alcohol, exercise, stress, skin-care products, and hot foods and drinks can temporarily raise blood pressure and trigger redness in the face; however, the facial redness is not caused by the increase in blood pressure levels.
- Myth 3: Blood spots in the eyes. Also known as subconjunctival hemorrhages, they are common in people who have diabetes and/or high blood pressure, but not necessarily caused by those diseases.
Because high blood pressure technically does not have affiliated physical symptoms, it is often referred to as a “silent killer”.
How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones
1) Know your family history.
Did your parents or grandparents have high blood pressure? Let your doctor know if the answer is yes.
2) Know your blood pressure numbers and what they mean
Regularly monitoring your blood pressure with a blood pressure kit is one way to have a general idea of what your blood pressure is. However, HTN should not be self-diagnosed; you should be examined by a physician if you are concerned about having abnormal blood pressure levels.
Verbally, your doctor or their technician will say 115 over 70.
Systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading, represents the pressure on your arteries when your heart contracts; the normal blood pressure ranges from 90-119 mmHg. Diastolic blood pressure, or the bottom number, represents the pressure when your heart is in between beats and how much blood is pushed out; the normal blood pressure ranges from 60-79 mmHg. While it is important for both numbers to be in a healthy zone, it is even more important for the bottom reading to be normal. If it is high, it means blood might not be carried effectively and receive enough oxygen. This can lead to blood clots, and potentially tissue death or a stroke.
What can I do to reduce my high blood pressure?
If you have high blood pressure, regularly exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and minimizing stress are the best ways for you to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Valisure provides high blood pressure patients with a variety of batch-validated medications that can be ordered by a doctor or other prescriber.