Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions. It is a long-term medical condition that is caused by the high force of blood against artery walls. Hypertension is also responsible for various health diseases such as heart disease, heart attack, vision loss, chronic kidney disease and even stroke.
Hypertension is classified into two categories, Primary hypertension and Secondary hypertension. While 90 to 95 per cent of hypertension cases are primary, only 5 to 10 per cent people suffer from secondary hypertension. Getting affected by primary hypertension are lifestyle changes and genetic factors play vital role. Eating foods with high amount of salt, tobacco smoking or excess consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Secondary hypertension excess use of birth control pills, narrowing of kidney arteries (Problems) and endocrine disorder. High blood pressure tends to appear suddenly and other factors responsible for secondary hypertension are obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid, alcohol abuse and illegal drugs such as cocaine.
Stress and depression can also cause high blood pressure. But this can lead to a temporary increase in the blood pressure. Relaxing may control the levels. Signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, even if it is reaching higher levels. Hypertension affected peeople may feel dizziness, suffer from headaches, short of breath or his/ her may nose bleeds abnormal. It should be noted that these symptoms may not even appear until high blood pressure has reached a life-threatening stage.The way we are leading our lifestyles, it has become crucial to be extra careful about our physical as well as mental health. Visit your doctor immediately if your body shows any different symptoms. Get your blood pressure checked at regular intervals so as to avoid any serious health complications.
Studies show that in 90 per cent patients there is no known cause for Hypertension, making it all the more important to be alert. The exact cause(s) of high blood pressure is not known. However, there are a number of lifestyle habits that aggravate Hypertension. They are:
The force with which blood pushes against the sides of the blood vessel walls is called blood pressure. When this pressure gets high, it puts strain on your heart and blood vessels leading to hypertension. Hypertension is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump the blood and leads to hardening of arteries which is also called as atherosclerosis. Hypertension can also lead to kidney failure, heart disease and heart failure.
Stages of hypertension:
– Prehypertension: 120/139 over 80/89
– Hypertension stage 1: 140/59 over 90/99
– Hypertension stage 2: 160 or above over 100 or above
– Normal blood pressure: Less than 120 over 80
Blood pressure varies throughout the day; it’s low while we sleep and increases when we are awake.
Studies show that in 90 per cent of patients, there is no known cause for Hypertension, making it all the more important to be alert. The exact cause(s) of high blood pressure is not known. However, there are a number of lifestyle habits that aggravate hypertension. Some of them are:
1. Excess sodium consumption: According to the American Heart Association, more than 1500 mg of salt in a day can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
2. Ageing: As we age, our blood pressure increases naturally. If we don’t maintain a healthy diet, smoke or drink excessively and eat fatty and sugary food items then hypertension may hit us even at a younger age.
3. Sleep apnea: It’s a condition where oxygen level decreases while we sleep leading to high blood pressure, stress and cardiovascular diseases. Those people who have sleep apnea have more chances of developing high blood pressure.
4. Drugs and alcohol: Increased use of drugs and alcohol will lead to stress on heart and arteries and will damage them. This can be one of the major reasons for hypertension. Substances like cocaine, amphetamines and crystal methamphetamine put stress on your heart.
Some other common reasons can be genes, obesity, thyroid disorder and adrenal disorder.
Usually high blood pressure shows no symptoms. Most of the people affected with Hypertension have no idea about the ailment till it takes serious toll on the body. Due to absence of symptoms, it is also known as the ‘silent killer’. The symptoms include the following:
There are three main categories of hypertension: pre-hypertension, hypertension stage 1 and hypertension stage 2.
1. Some rare symptoms include frequent headaches, nose bleeding and short breath.
2. In severe cases, hypertension may lead to vision loss, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction and loss of memory.
3. Blood spots in eyes is also an uncommon symptom in people with high blood pressure or diabetes.
4. Dizziness is one of the side effects of high blood pressure medication. But dizziness is not caused by high blood pressure. However sudden dizziness, loss of balance and problem in walking can be warning signs of stroke. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for stroke.
5. Many people do not seek care until the condition is very severe. This condition is known as malignant hypertension. In malignant hypertension, the diastolic blood pressure (lower number) increases up to 140 mm Hg.
6. Hypertension may lead to peripheral arterial disease which causes leg pain while walking. Peripheral arterial disease is a condition in which plaque builds up in arteries and affects the blood flow in lungs due to which symptoms like numbness, aching or heaviness of legs may occur.
7. Hypertension that occurs during pregnancy can be due to several reasons including being over 40 years of age, IVF or other pregnancy related issues, being overweight, inactive, having more than one baby (twins or more) in the womb, smoking and alcohol.
8. If hypertension continues to be there after 20 weeks of pregnancy then problems like preeclampsia may arise. High blood pressure may lead to a premature birth of the baby and may require caesarian delivery.
Due to absence of symptoms in majority of cases, high blood pressure often goes unnoticed. It is critical to monitor blood pressure at regular intervals. The sooner it is caught, the easier it becomes to control it.
Doctors will ask you to cut down salt in your diet. Salt contains sodium which is directly proportional to blood pressure. The richer the diet in sodium, the higher the blood pressure.
A balanced diet can help you prevent a plethora of diseases, the same is true for Hypertension. A diet rich in potassium helps maintain blood pressure levels whereas a diet rich in fats, carbohydrates may trigger high blood pressure.
A minimum 30 minutes of workout is mandatory for people with high blood pressure. However, they should consult their doctor before starting any workout regime.
5. Quit smoking and alcohol
Moderate consumption of alcohol may not affect blood pressure levels but smoking is directly linked to high blood pressure. Do consult a good doctor if you have any concerns regarding alcohol intake.
6. Maintaining a healthy weight
Weight plays an important role when it comes to hypertension. If you are obese then there are more chances of you being affected by hypertension. Obesity is the result of intake of more calories and no physical activity. So, to maintain a normal blood pressure, one should try to lose weight as doing so will help a lot.
7. Reducing stress
Stress can lead to high blood pressure and if not taken care of, it can cause a permanent problem of high blood pressure. There are many ways in which stress can be reduced, including, yoga, meditation and by being optimistic towards life.
Read Next Article :- Why Is Fasting Before A Blood Test Is Needed?