What Are The Causes And Risks Of HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE Or HYPERTENSION

Blood pressure is the measure of the force that the blood vesicles exert while the blood flows through it. Hypertension (HTN) or is commonly referred to as high blood pressure. It is a common condition in which the force exerted on the walls of the arteries by the blood consistently exceeds normal ranges, affecting one in every three Americans. 


About 40 percent of the world's population over the age of 25 suffers from high blood pressure. Worldwide, 17.3 million people die each year from complications related to high blood pressure or hypertension. The exact cause of your high blood pressure can be difficult to diagnose. 

It interacts between your lifestyle and genetics and other factors, which together affect your blood pressure. Regardless of the cause, high blood pressure means your heart is pushing harder to get blood around your body. 

The bigger push gives your heart and the blood vessels a bit of a workout. As a result, the arteries bulk up further, restricting blood flow and worsening the problem and it is this increasing pressure on the blood vessels, that's a big concern eventually can cause them to thicken to the point where they become blocked or burst. 

The blocked or burst artery means the blood cannot get through. The cells on the other side will not get oxygen and will be damaged.  In your brain, this may mean a stroke, in your heart, a heart attack, in your kidneys, wastes (toxins), and extra fluids are not removed, which has serious heart and health implications. 

However, because high blood pressure does not usually manifest any symptoms, many people may not know that they have it. So get it checked and with help from your doctor, you can take the necessary steps to get it under control. 

WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE? 


As blood circulates through your body, it exerts pressure against the walls of your arteries. That pressure is what is measured with a blood pressure device. Blood pressure is measured by two numbers. The top number is called systolic and measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart is pumping. The low number is called diastolic that measures the pressure in your arteries when they are resting and refilling. 

High Blood Pressure is something you need to avoid in order to keep your heart and arteries healthy and clear of any cardiovascular disease. Blood Pressure is always best measured at rest. Ideal blood pressure is 120 over 80 your blood pressure should be less than 135 over 85 in the comfort of your home and less than 140 over 90 elsewhere. If you suffer from diabetes, your blood pressure should always be lower than 130 over 80. If your numbers are consistently above these targets, you should consult your doctor is very important. 

WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE OR HYPERTENSION? 

If the blood pressure is consistently higher than normal then it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. However, before saying that someone is suffering from high blood pressure, blood pressure should be measured after sitting for at least 5 minutes at three different times for at least three days. If you found the blood pressure is consistently high more than three times, it can be said for sure that you are suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE Or HYPERTENSION    


·        Generally speaking, if a person has a blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg (a unit of tor pressure) or above in both arms, it can be called high blood pressure.

·        Again, if the blood pressure is 139/69 to 120/80 mm Hg, it is called prehypertension. Pre-hypertension is not a disease, but people with pre-hypertension are much more likely to develop hypertension.

·        Again, in the case of diabetic or kidney patients, caution should be exercised only if the blood pressure is above 130/60 ton and treatment should be started if necessary in consultation with a specialist doctor.

Proper Technique to Measure Blood Pressure? 

Take your blood pressure following these easy instructions.

·        Sit comfortably in a chair that offers good back support. Uncross your legs.

·        Place the proper size blood pressure cuff on one of your arms.

·        Put your arm on the armrest so that the blood pressure cuff is at the same level as your heart.

·        Relax for five minutes and do not talk. If you have time, take your blood pressure three times.

·        Discard the first reading and average out the second and third readings.

·        Keep a log of your readings for your doctor. 

‘THE SILENT KILLER’ 

Hypertension (or High Blood Pressure) is usually a major problem, with no symptoms or visible signs that is why it has been called the ‘silent killer’. Many people around us are suffering from high blood pressure but they do not know it themselves. 

Most of the time, high blood pressure is diagnosed after seeking treatment for some other ailment or after a long period of high blood pressure.  However, if left untreated, high blood pressure can do a lot of damage to different parts of your body. In fact, death is due to uncommon hypertension. 

Here are some common ways that high blood pressure can damage your body: 

Heart: 


The heart is an organ in the body that helps the blood circulates. High Blood Pressure makes your heart work a lot harder than normal and causes added strain to your artery walls. Over time, this can contribute to the buildup of plaque restricting blood flow, which can lead to coronary artery disease. 

If the artery becomes fully blocked, you could have a heart attack. High blood pressure makes blood circulation within the heart difficult. As a result, some parts of the heart, especially the left ventricle are overworked and thickens (known as left ventricular hypertrophy). 

Blood Vessels: 


High blood pressure is disrupted by the lining of blood vessels, especially arteries. Over time, this can contribute to the buildup of plaque restricting blood flow throughout your body. If the coronary arteries of the heart become too narrow or completely blocked, there is a risk of angina or heart attack. 

If the blood supply arteries in your arms or legs get constricted or blocked leads to pain, and fatigue, which is called peripheral artery disease. Sometimes high blood pressure and the lungs drop down, resulting in a large surface called an aneurysm, which can probably explode. 

Brain Stroke: 


High blood pressure may cause the blood clot and this clot may block some blood vessels in the brain, which make a part of the brain deprived of oxygen and nutrients. This is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). TIA may lead to a brain stroke when the blood vessel gets ruptured due to the blockage and high blood pressure in the brain.    

Dementia And Memory Loss: 


Blood flow to the brain may be reduced, mild cognitive impairment (or dementia in its more severe form) may occur. The narrowed or blocked artery hampers the blood flow to the brain leading to vascular dementia. A brain stroke interrupts blood flow to the brain can also cause vascular dementia. 


Kidney: 


High blood pressure weakens and narrows the blood vessels in the kidney. Hypertension is one of the most common causes of kidney failure and glomerulosclerosis, which is detrimental to a part of the kidney. These problems impair the kidneys' ability to filter blood normally and can lead to fluid accumulation in the body. 

Eyes And Vision: 


Long-term high blood pressure damages the blood vessels and nerves in your eyes, leading to conditions known as retinopathy, choroidopathy, and optic neuropathy. In this condition, bleeding occurs in the eyes, blurred vision, or complete loss of vision. Routinely a major artery and vein are blocked, which affects vision. 

Sexual Illness: 


Problems with normal sexual activity is common but its association with high blood pressure is commonly discussed.  In men, high blood pressure causes lesser blood to flow to the penis, which makes it difficult to achieve an erection. 

Hypertension may interfere with sexual desire and ejaculation. In women, chronic hypertension leads to a decrease in blood flow to the vaginal cells, which can lead to vaginal dryness. Women are more likely than men to have sexually transmitted diseases related to high blood pressure. 

Aneurysm: 


High blood pressure over a long time put pressure over weakened arteries and this can cause a section of the arterial wall to enlarge and for a bulge called an aneurysm. An aneurysm can get ruptured and cause life-threatening internal bleeding. 

It is very important that you check your blood pressure regularly, especially if someone in your family has high blood pressure. You can avoid these complications by controlling them. Remember that you may avert 20% of these risks by dropping your blood pressure by 10 mmHg. 

If the blood pressure rises too much, some other symptoms may appear, such as headaches as well as eye pain or blurred vision, difficulty breathing, or nosebleeds. This is called malignant hypertension. In that case, you should rush to the hospital immediately. 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE? 

There are two types of hypertension primary and secondary. 

1] PRIMARY OR ESSENTIAL HYPERTENSION 

Primary hypertension also referred to as essential hypertension tends to develop gradually over the years and is idiopathic, meaning that it arises spontaneously and without a known cause. The exact cause of this high blood pressure is difficult to diagnose. 

It is a result of the complex interaction between your lifestyle and genetics and other factors, which together affect your blood pressure. 95% of the population in the US is suffering from this type of hypertension where the exact cause is difficult to found and tends to develop gradually over many years. 

Although the cause of essential hypertension is somewhat mysterious, there are certain risk factors that are linked to essential hypertension. These risk factors are-  

1.     Family History:


Your family history plays an important role in high blood pressure. Risk factors for hypertension increase the individual has a family history of hypertension. 

2.     Gender:


Gender also plays a role as men before the age of 64 are more likely to be diagnosed with hypertension. Men over the age of 45 are more likely to have a high blood pressure than women. Women who stop menstruating are also at risk for reducing the protective effects of estrogen. 

3.     Age:


High Blood pressure in older age is inevitable, especially of systolic hypertension after age 60 years. As you get older, your blood vessel elasticity decreases and becomes stiff. You are more likely to have high blood pressure due to hormonal changes associated with aging. 

4.     Race:


High blood pressure is common among African and Latino ancestry. African-Americans are reported to have high blood pressure more often than their white counterpart. They develop high blood pressure at a much younger age and develop more severe complications sooner. 

5.     Obesity :


The more weight you gain, the more blood your heart needs to pump to deliver oxygen and nutrients. This large amount of blood puts more pressure on the walls of your arteries. Physicians generally consider weight loss and regular exercise to be the first step in treating mild to moderate blood pressure. 

6.     Lack Of Physical Activity:


When you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your heart rate, and pulse rate may be higher. As a result, your heart has to work harder to contract, thus putting more pressure on your arteries. Again, if there is less physical activity, there is a risk of gaining extra weight. 

7.     Tobacco And Smoking:


Tobacco use and smoking raises your blood pressure for a short time. However, in the long run, the chemicals in tobacco make your arteries thicker and harder which makes blood circulation more difficult. While quitting smoking not only directly reduce blood pressure, it is extremely important for patients with high blood pressure, as it can help control a number of associated risks of high blood pressure, such as a stroke or heart attack. 

8.     Excessive Alcohol Consumption:


High-calorie alcohols increase the amount of lipids circulating in your bloodstream. As a result, your heart has to use more pressure to pump blood. Besides, alcohol increases your appetite and reduces physical activity, which in turn makes matters worse. 

9.     Improper Diet:


About 70% of patients get the disease due to high salt intake.  Eating packaged and junk foods increases your sodium levels and lower your potassium levels. The link between salt and high blood pressure is especially undeniable as people with high BP are ‘Salt Sensitive’. This imbalance of electrolytes causes water retention and increases blood volume. 

2] SECONDARY OR RESISTANT HYPERTENSION 

When the direct cause for the high blood pressure can be identified, the condition is described as secondary hypertension. Secondary hypertension is rare and reported to occur in only 5 to 10 percent of the population. It is not always discovered. 

Among the known causes of Secondary High Blood Pressure: 

1.     Kidney Disease:


An injury to the kidney or renal arteries that are too narrow can lead to the poor blood supply to the organ. This can trigger higher production of a hormone called renin. Renin leads to the production of substances (like the protein molecule angiotensin II) in the body that can raise blood pressure. 

2.     Adrenal Gland Abnormality:


Tumor or other abnormalities in the adrenal gland that causes to secrete an excessive amount of the hormone that elevates blood pressure. Located on top of the kidneys, the adrenal glands produce and regulate hormones. When these glands do not function properly, hormones in the body can become unbalanced and cause several conditions. 

3.     Obstructive Sleep Apnea:


In this condition, due to collapsed passages in the upper airways, a person is awakened frequently from sleep and has pauses in breathing during sleep. Severe snoring, breathing stops and starts to characterize sleep apnea repeatedly during sleep, causing oxygen deficit. 

Not getting oxygen can damage the lining of the blood vessel wall. This makes the blood vessel less effective in regulating blood pressure. Moreover, sleep apnea may irritate the nervous system to release chemicals that increase blood pressure. 

4.     Thyroid Disease:


Abnormal thyroid function can cause high blood pressure. When the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or produces too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), high blood pressure can result in both cases. 

5.     Birth Control Pills:


Birth control pills taken by women are one of the reasons for high blood pressure, especially those containing estrogen. 

6.     Pregnancy:


Pregnancy may induce gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. Pregnancies can worsen existing high blood pressure.  In gestational hypertension, high blood pressure develops in pregnant women prior to 20 weeks of pregnancy. There are no signs of excess protein in the urine or organ damage. Sometimes gestational hypertension eventually develops preeclampsia. 

Preeclampsia develops when hypertension develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is associated with signs of damage to other organ systems, including the kidneys, liver, blood, or brain. Untreated preeclampsia can lead to serious complications for mother and baby, including the development of seizures (eclampsia). 

7.     Certain Medications Or Illicit Drugs:


Use of certain medications or illicit drugs can be the cause of high blood pressure. Widespread use, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly pain reliever, like aspirin, and acetaminophen are the most common drugs in worsening control of blood pressure. 

A range of prescription medications such as birth control pills, antidepressants, stimulants, and immune system suppressants can cause or aggravate high blood pressure in some people. Over-the-counter decongestants may have the same effect. Numerous illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, also raise blood pressure.

For any other types of suggestions and questions on this topic, you can connect with us through the comment box below. 

Disclaimer: Only generic information is provided in this content and this is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult your own doctor or a specialist for more information.  

Please check with your doctor if you are on any prescription medications. Some foods and supplements may interfere with certain medications. HEALTHY and FITNESS do not claim responsibility for this information.

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