High Blood Pressure is common, and doctors often refer to it as a silent killer, as most people do not show any symptoms until the problem escalates, hence the need to check blood pressure as often as possible.
The narrower your arteries are, the more resistance there is, and the higher one’s blood pressure will be. In the long run, the increased pressure can cause health issues, including heart disease. Two numbers create a blood pressure reading. Systolic pressure (top number) indicates the pressure in a person’s arteries when the heart beats and pumps out blood. Diastolic pressure bottom number is the reading of the pressure in a person’s arteries between beats of a person’s heart.
Five categories define blood pressure readings for adults:
• Healthy: A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
• Elevated: The systolic number is between 120 and 129 mm Hg, and the diastolic number is less than 80 mm Hg. Doctors usually don’t treat elevated blood pressure with medication. Instead, your doctor may encourage lifestyle changes to help lower your numbers.
• Stage 1 hypertension: The systolic number is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
• Stage 2 hypertension: The systolic number is 140 mm Hg or higher, or the diastolic number is 90 mm Hg or higher.
• Hypertensive crisis: The systolic number is over 180 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is over 120 mm Hg. Blood pressure in this range requires urgent medical attention. If any symptoms like chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or visual changes occur when blood pressure is this high, medical care in the emergency room is needed. As previously mentioned Hypertension is generally a silent condition. It often takes many years for the condition to reach levels severe enough so that symptoms become obvious.
Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:
• blood spots in the eyes (subconjunctival hemorrhage)
There are two types of hypertension namely essential (primary) hypertension and secondary hypertension; each has a different cause.
Essential (primary) hypertension Essential hypertension is also called primary hypertension. This kind of hypertension develops over time. Most people have this type of high blood pressure.
A combination of factors typically play a role in the development of essential hypertension:
• Genes: Some people are genetically predisposed to hypertension. This may be from gene mutations or genetic abnormalities inherited from your parents.
• Age: Individuals over 65 years old are more at risk for hypertension.
• Race: Black non-Hispanic indiviuals have a higher incidence of hypertension.
• Living with obesity: Living with obesity can lead to a few cardiac issues, including hypertension.
• High alcohol consumption: Women who habitially have more than one drink per day, and men who have more than two drinks per day, may be at an increased risk for hypertension.
• Living a very seditary lifestlye: lowered levels of fitness have been connected to hypertension.
• Living with diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome: Individuals diagnosed with either diabetes or metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk of developing hypertension.
• high sodium intake: There’s a small association between daily high sodium intake (more than 1.5g a day) and hypertension. Secondary 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
• problems with your thyroid
• side effects of medications
• use of illegal drugs
• chronic consumption of alcohol
• adrenal gland problems
• certain endocrine tumors
In our next edition we will look into diagnosing high blood pressure, and treatment options for high blood pressure. Information contained in this article was sourced from Healthline.com and American Heart Association