Updated: 2019, Apr 1

Hypertension And Water Retention: Types, Causes And More

By - Reviewed by CHD Team

Many Americans suffer from hypertension. With low physical activity and a poor diet, individuals across the nation develop this medical condition. If the medical problem is left untreated, it can cause heart problems and cardiac arrest. It can also cause non-life threatening symptoms like water retention and dizziness.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is commonly known as high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure levels are 120/80. The first number represents the highest blood pressure in the arteries while the second number represents the minimum amount of blood pressure. If the blood pressure is 140/90, it is considered high blood pressure or hypertension. As blood travels through the body, it is pumped through the arteries by the heart. Blood pressure describes the amount of force needed to pump it. If the heart has to use more force, it can cause renal failure, stroke, heart attack or an aneurysm.

What are the Types of Hypertension?

While 120/80 is normal blood pressure, anything that is higher than 140/90 is high blood pressure. In addition, blood pressure levels between normal and 139/89 is known as prehypertension[1]. This indicates that the individual has a high risk of developing high blood pressure in the future. It may be classified as essential or secondary. Roughly 95 percent of cases are considered essential hypertension because they do not stem from a known cause. In secondary hypertension, the cause is known. It may be due to a tumor, hormonal contraceptive, medication or a tumor.

What are the Symptoms of Hypertension?

Roughly 70 million adults in the United States suffer from hypertension[2]. In addition, an estimated two million minors have high blood pressure according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This medical ailment has a wide range of symptoms. One out of three individuals with hypertension does not realize that they have the condition. The remaining individuals may develop severe headaches, nausea, irregular heartbeat or dizziness. They may also have difficulties breathing, chest pains, vision issues, fatigue, confusion or blood in their urine.

What are the Causes of Hypertension?

A range of lifestyle factors can lead to hypertension. Sedentary individuals or smokers are more likely to develop this condition. Obesity and lack of physical activity are leading factors. High sodium intake, diabetes or a poor diet can also lead to high blood pressure. Other risk factors include aging, low calcium levels, hormonal contraceptives, stress, alcohol consumption and a vitamin D deficiency. Since this illness can be hereditary, a family history of hypertension makes it more likely that an individual will develop the same issue. Chronic kidney disease, tumors, thyroid issues or adrenal problems can also heighten the incidence of hypertension.

How Can Hypertension be Prevented?

Prevent Hypertension

The easiest way to prevent hypertension is through diet and exercise. Physical activity helps the cardiovascular system to work effectively and strengthens the heart. A healthy diet can ensure that there are no nutrient deficiencies or harmful foods ingested. Higher sodium levels have been linked to hypertension. In order to prevent high blood pressure, individuals should cut down on the salt in their diet.

What are the Diagnosis and Treatment Options Available?

Hypertension is typically diagnosed by a doctor. They use an arm cuff, valve or pump to figure out the blood pressure level. Once this is done, they may look at a chart to see if the blood pressure is higher than it should be. If the patient is extremely stressed by the doctor’s visit, they may ask them to come back later for a more accurate reading. The physician may also look at the patient’s family history or risk factors like smoking and diabetes. Other tests to confirm the diagnosis include blood tests and electrocardiograms. The physician may use these tests to decide if the high blood pressure is due to a secondary cause.

Once the condition has been diagnosed, individuals will be advised about treatment methods. Ideally, the doctor will want to lower their blood pressure to 140/90. The first recommendation is normally to eat a healthy diet and begin exercising. In addition, the doctor may recommend that they lose weight, quit smoking and reduce the amount of alcohol that they drink. For more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe ARB drugs, alpha-blockers, ACE inhibitors[3], beta-blockers or peripheral vasodilators.

How Does Hypertension Cause Water Retention?

If the body is not able to pump blood effectively, toxins and fluid remain within the tissue and buildup. Overtime, this can increase the appearance and severity of water retention.

What are The Diet and Exercise Recommendations that Should be Followed?

Doctors typically tell patients to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains. They should limit their salt and alcohol intake. In addition, patients should workout at least three to five days a week. Any exercise that gets the heart rate up like walking or swimming will help ease the problem.
Hypertension causes numerous medical problems like dizziness, cardiovascular disease and water retention. In order to treat the symptoms of water retention, individuals must first cure or treat their hypertension problems.

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Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandri

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