Introduction To High Blood Pressure
Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension
It is a condition that occurs when your blood pressure becomes higher than normal. your blood pressure refers to the amount of blood that passes through your veins and arteries and the resistance that these blood vessels offer to the blood flowing through them. Narrow blood vessels (arteries) imply increased resistance. If your arteries are narrow, your blood pressure will be higher. High blood pressure that lasts for too long a time can trigger health disorders, such as heart disease.
High blood pressure is a common condition. Guidelines by the American College of Cardiology suggest that over half of American adults are hypertensive. Hypertension does not develop all-at-once. It develops gradually, taking several years for the early symptoms to manifest. Usually, the patient doesn’t feel the symptoms until after a lot of damage has been done. High blood pressure damages the organs and blood vessels. Organs most prone to damage include the kidneys, eyes, heart, and brain.
This condition must be diagnosed early. Checking your blood pressure regularly can help you detect the necessary changes. If there’s an elevation of your blood pressure, your doctor will run the necessary checks to confirm if the pressure is still elevated or has fallen back to normal levels. Hypertension can be treated with prescription medications and healthy lifestyle modifications. Failure to treat this condition may result in stroke and heart attack.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
There are two main forms of hypertension, each with its cause.
This is the first form of hypertension. It is also known as essential hypertension. Primary hypertensionhas no known cause. This is the commonest type of hypertension.
Medical researchers are yet to uncover the reason why blood pressure increases slowly. Several factors may contribute to this, including:
- Genetics: the genetic makeup of some individuals predisposes them to high blood pressure. Such makeups may include inherited genetic abnormalities or gene mutations.
- Physical changes: if changes occur in your body, you may begin to experience some issues in your body. One of these may be high blood pressure. Let’s take the kidney for instance. Aging can cause the kidney to function below optimum levels, thus upsetting the natural salt and fluid balance in your body. This, in turn, causes an increase in your blood pressure.
- Environment: making poor or unhealthy diet choices and leading a sedentary lifestyle can also affect your health. Weight problems are a consequence of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Overweight or obesity are major risk factors for high blood pressure.
Secondary hypertension is fast-occurring hypertension. It is usually more severe than primary hypertension. Factors that may trigger secondary hypertension include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney disease
- Congenital heart defects
- Thyroid problems
- Problems with the adrenal gland
- Endocrine tumors
- Alcohol abuse
SYMPTOMS OF HYPERTENSION
The problem with hypertension is that it is a silent condition. Not everyone may experience the symptoms. Sometimes, one may experience the symptoms after several decades of having the condition. And even at that, these symptoms may be associated with other health conditions.
Common symptoms of hypertension include:
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in the urine
- Changes in vision
- Pains in the chest
The symptoms of hypertension usually require prompt medical attention. Not every hypertensive patient experiences these symptoms, but then, waiting for a symptom to manifest may not be a wise decision. The key to knowing your blood pressure status is by getting your blood pressure checked regularly. In most health facilities, blood pressure readings are taken just before meeting with the doctor.
If you have only a yearly physical, consult your doctor to know your risks and anything you may need to do to regulate your blood pressure. Let’s assume that there’s a history of heart disease in your family, or you are at risk of developing heart disease, your healthcare provider may recommend checking your blood pressure at least twice yearly. With this, you and your doctor can arrest any issues before they become complicated.