Often known as “a silent killer”, hypertension or high blood pressure (HBP) usually doesn’t show any symptoms. This is why most people with hypertension do not think of getting their blood pressure levels checked until they experience severe symptoms, by which time it is often too late.

If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, or have a family history of it and are at risk of developing it, you can manage it using telehealth. Not only can online doctors monitor your blood pressure measurements, they can also help you get prescriptions online and offer lifestyle tips to help keep it in control.

Here’s all you need to know about hypertension and how to manage it at home with the help of an online doctor.

What is hypertension?
Hypertension or high blood pressure (HBP) occurs when the force with which blood flows through the arteries and blood vessels is too strong. Over time, arteries and vessels can get damaged, the circulatory system of the body can also get impaired, which then leads to a host of other problems, such as strokes, chest pain, vision loss, organ failure or peripheral artery disease (PAD).

It is possible for people to have hypertension for years without any symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. No wonder it is called “the silent killer”!

Causes of hypertension
There are two main types of hypertension:

Primary (essential) hypertension
This type of hypertension usually does not have any identifiable cause and develops slowly over many years. It is thought to be linked to genetics, poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise, but does not have a clear cause. Primary hypertension is the more common of the two types of hypertension.

Secondary hypertension
This type of hypertension is usually caused by another underlying condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, kidney disease, adrenal gland tumours and as a side effect of certain medications like birth control pills, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some cold remedies.

Secondary hypertension, in comparison to primary hypertension, occurs suddenly and raises blood pressures to higher levels.

Symptoms of hypertension
It is possible for people to have hypertension for years without any symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. No wonder it is called “the silent killer”!

A few people may experience frequent headaches, nosebleeds or shortness of breath. But because these symptoms do not always occur, and may even be indicative of other problems, they cannot be called symptoms of hypertension. Often, people may only experience these symptoms once the blood pressure levels have reached a life-threatening stage.

Risk factors of hypertension
Genetic disposition:
Some people may have a family history of high blood pressure. If your parents or their parents had ever been diagnosed with hypertension, you may be at risk of developing it later in life.

The risk of developing hypertension increases as you age. Men may develop high blood pressure until about age 64, while it is more common for women to develop it after they turn 65.

Overweight or obese people are more at risk of developing hypertension. This is because the more you weigh, the more blood is required to supply oxygen to tissues, but the size of the vessels and arteries does not change. The increase in blood flow increases pressure on the walls of your blood vessels and arteries.

Lack of exercise
A sedentary lifestyle leads to weight gain, but it may also lead to a higher heart rate. When the heart rate is high, the heart must work harder with each contraction to pump blood to the body, putting strain on your arteries.

Studies show that people of Afro-Caribbean descent are more at risk of hypertension. People of this race may also develop it at a younger age and may experience more severe complications than any other race.

High sodium diets
Sodium causes the body to retain fluid, which in turn increases the volume of blood and consequently, blood pressure.

Alcohol consumption
More than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women can raise your risks of developing hypertension.

Seeing an online doctor for your hypertension
While an online doctor cannot diagnose you with hypertension because a number of tests are required to do so, they can certainly help you manage it once you have been diagnosed. You may need to take your own blood pressure readings, which the online doctor can then remotely monitor and read. Then, they will be able to adjust your medication as necessary, explain some lifestyle changes you may have to make and educate you on how to keep your blood pressure levels under control.

You can also get prescriptions via online doctors, who will fax or email your script to your nearest pharmacy for you to pick up whenever it suits you.

If you already know that you suffer from hypertension, telehealth can be a great way of keeping it under control without having to make routine appointments with your GP.

Author's Bio: 

I have zeal to pen down my thoughts when it comes to writing. When not working, either I am glued to my playlist, Netflix, books or you can find me splurging on myself.