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What is Hypertension?
Hypertension, also called as High blood pressure is a medical condition in which the blood pressure (pressure against the blood vessels )increases to unhealthy levels.
Narrow arteries increase resistance. The narrower the arteries are, the higher will be the blood pressure. Over the long term, increased pressure can cause health issues, including heart disease.
Hypertension typically develops over the course of several years. Usually, there are NO Symptoms. But even without symptoms, high blood pressure can cause damage to your blood vessels and organs, especially the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys.
Early detection is important. Regular blood pressure readings can help you and your doctor notice any changes. If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor may have you check your blood pressure over a few weeks to see if the number stays elevated or falls back to normal levels.
Treatment for hypertension includes both prescription medication and healthy lifestyle changes. If the condition isn’t treated, it could lead to health issues, including heart attack and stroke.
Symptoms of hypertension?
Hypertension is generally a silent condition. Many people don’t experience any symptoms at all. It may take years or even decades for the condition to reach levels that level that the symptoms become visible. Regular health check-up with blood pressure monitoring is advisable.
Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:
- Throbbing headaches – typically around temples or occiput area.
- Shortness of breath- due to pressure over heart it can lead to shortness of breath on least exertion
- Nosebleeds– this happens because there is increased pressure over superficial arteries, causing bursting out leading to nosebleed or epistaxis
- Flushing, increased perspiration with anxiety
- dizziness or vertigo
- chest pain
- visual changes- there can be blurring of vision or conjuctivalhaemorrhage
These symptoms require immediate medical attention. They don’t occur in everyone with hypertension, but waiting for a symptom of this condition to appear could be fatal.
If a person has family history of hypertension or risk factors for developing hypertension than it is advisable to undergo regular health check ups with blood pressure monitoring. Your doctor will be able to advise on the same.
Causes high blood pressure?
Hypertension is classified into two types . Each type has a different cause.
- Primary hypertension
- Secondary hypertension
Primary hypertension is also called essential hypertension. This kind of hypertension develops over time with any identifiable cause. Most people have this type of high blood pressure.
Researchers are still unclear what mechanisms cause blood pressure to slowly increase. A combination of factors may play a role. These factors include:
Genes: Some people are genetically predisposed to hypertension. This may be from genetic abnormalities inherited from your parents.
Physical changes: any physical changes in the body or any symptoms occuring in other organs of body causes reverse back flow to heart leading to increased blood pressure.
Environment and lifestyle changes : Over time, unhealthy lifestyle choices like lack of physical activity and poor diet can take their toll on your body. Lifestyle choices can lead to weight problems. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for hypertension.
Secondary hypertension often occurs quickly and can become more severe than primary hypertension. Several conditions that may cause secondary hypertension include:
- kidney disease
- obstructive sleep apnea
- congenital heart defects
- overactive or under active thyroid
- side effects of other medications
- use of illegal drugs
- alcohol abuse or chronic use of caffeine intake
- adrenal gland problems
- certain endocrine tumors
High blood pressure has many risk factors, including:
Age: The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Nowadays hypertension is very common in 30+ age group.
Family history: High blood pressure tends to run in families that is genetic relations
Being overweight or obese: The more you weigh the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
Sedantory lifestyle: Not being physically active. People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight.
Excessive use oftobacco: Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow and increase your risk of heart disease.
Too much salt (sodium) in your diet: Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
Too little potassium in your diet: Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet or retain enough potassium, you may accumulate too much sodium in your blood.
Drinking too much alcohol: Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than one drink a day for women and more than two drinks a day for men may affect your blood pressure.
Stress: Stress has a major relation to blood pressure.High levels of stress can lead to a temporary or permanent increase in blood pressure.
Certain chronic conditions: also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Although high blood pressure is most common in adults, children may be at risk, too. For some children, high blood pressure is caused by problems with the kidneys or heart. But for a growing number of kids, poor lifestyle habits, such as an unhealthy diet, obesity and lack of exercise, contribute to high blood pressure.