Also known as High Blood Pressure, Hypertension is a common condition, which if left untreated might increase the risks of heart attacks and strokes. In this condition, the long-term force exerted by the blood on your artery walls is higher than normal.
When you get your blood pressure tested, the higher number is the force at which your heart pumps blood and the lower number is the pressure of the blood in between the heartbeats. The ideal blood pressure must be in between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. If it is more than 140/90 mmHg, then it is considered high blood pressure, and if it lower than 90/60 mmHg then it is low blood pressure.
Causes of Hypertension
There are two types of Hypertension;
- Primary Hypertension
There is no actual cause for this type of Hypertension. This tends to develop gradually, over the years for adults.
- Secondary Hypertension
This type of Hypertension tends to happen all of a sudden due to various reasons, such as;
- Sleep Apnea
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal Gland Tumours
- Thyroid Problems
- Defects in the blood vessels
- Due to medications, such as birth control pills, pain relievers, etc.
- Illegal Drugs
- Chronic alcohol consumption
The risk of high blood pressure increases for men by the age of 45 and for women, it is mostly by the age of 65. However, high blood pressure is more common in men than women.
High blood pressure is more common in black people than the white.
- Family History
High blood pressure can be hereditary.
When you become obese, you require more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Therefore, when the volume of the blood that is being circulated increases, the pressure on the artery walls also increases.
- Not being active physically
When you lead an inactive lifestyle, your heart tends to have a higher heart rate. So, when the heart rate becomes higher, your heart will have to put in extra efforts during each contraction, leading to a strong pressure on your arteries. Also, when you are not active physically, it can cause obesity. Hence, it might lead to high blood pressure.
Smoking or chewing tobacco increases your blood pressure temporarily. Also, the chemicals used in tobacco can cause a damage to the lining of your artery walls. This can narrow the arteries, which increases the blood pressure. Second-hand smoke can also cause high blood pressure.
- Too much salt
Salt contains sodium and when you consume too much salt, your body might retain fluid. This can increase your blood pressure.
- Too little Potassium
Potassium is necessary to help balance the sodium present in your cells. Therefore, when you don’t consume enough potassium, the sodium in your blood gets accumulated, leading to high blood pressure.
- Too little Vitamin D
Being Vitamin D deficient is not a definite cause of high blood pressure. However, Vitamin D might affect an enzyme, which is produced by your kidneys. And, this affects your blood pressure.
- Consumption of too much Alcohol
When you drink too much, gradually, over the years, it can damage your heart. Also, having more than 2 drinks a day for men and more than 1 drink a day for women can affect the blood pressure. So, if you much, do it moderately.
- Existing Health Conditions
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and High cholesterol levels can cause high blood pressure, especially as people grow older.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure doesn’t have a sure set of symptoms. Therefore, it is sometimes called as the ‘Silent Killer’. Hence, you must get yourself checked often to avoid any complications. However, sometimes when a person is suffering from high blood pressure, he may notice excessive sweating, anxiety, problems with sleep, and blushing.
If the blood pressure reaches a dangerous level, the person may experience headaches and nosebleeds. When high blood pressure is left untreated, it can cause damage to the cardiovascular system and other internal organs.
When hypertension continues, it can lead to complications through atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition where the blood vessels become narrow due to the formation of plaque. This might cause; heart attacks or heart failure, an aneurysm, kidney failure, stroke, amputation, and even blindness.
There are various treatment options available for high blood pressure. However, the most important part of the treatment is to start a healthy lifestyle. Doctors recommended that people suffering from hypertension must at least engage in a physical activity, such as walking, cycling, jogging, etc. for 30 minutes. The workouts must not be intense, and it is always good to check with your physician before you begin to avoid any complications. Other treatment plans include; stress management, changes in diet, and consuming oral medications.