Blood pressure is the force that persons blood exerts against the walls of blood vessels. This pressure depends on the resistance of the blood vessels and how hard the heart works. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and aneurysm. Keeping blood pressure under control is vital to maintaining health and reducing the risks of these serious conditions.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
A person with high blood pressure may not notice any symptoms, so people often call it the “silent killer”. Without detection, high blood pressure can damage the heart, blood vessels and other organs such as the Kidneys, so it is necessary to check your blood pressure regularly. In rare and sever cases, high blood pressure leads to sweating, anxiety, trouble sleeping and flushin.
Causes of high blood pressure
There are two types of high blood pressure:
- Primary Hypertension for most adults, there is no specific causes for high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called Essential Hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years.
- Secondary Hypertension some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and causes blood pressure to be higher than primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension can be caused by a variety of conditions and medications, including:
- sleep apnea
- kidney problems
- adrenal gland tumors thyroid problems
- certain defects (congenital) in the blood vessels
- some medications such as: birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, pain relievers
- illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines.
Conditions that lead to high blood pressure
- Diabetes: which causes kidney problems and nerve damage
- Kidney patients
- Pheochromocytoma, a rare cancer of the adrenal gland.
- Cushing’s Syndrome: that can be caused by corticosteroid medications.
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: a disorder of the adrenal glands secreting cortisol
- Overactive Parathyroid glands, or overactive Parathyroid glands
- Hyperthyroidism: which affects calcium and phosphorous levels.
- Sleep apnea
Risk factors for high blood pressure
There are number of factors that increase the risk of high blood pressure:
- Age: The risks of high Blood Pressure increase with age. Up to the age of 64, high blood pressure is more common in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after the age 65.
- Ethnicity: High Blood Pressure is particularly common among people of African heritage, and often develops at an earlier age than it does in Europeans, serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure are also more common in people of African heritage.
- Family history: High Blood Pressure tends to be passed down through the family.
- Size and Weight: the higher weight, the more blood you need to supply tissues with oxygen and nutrients. With the increase in the volume of blood circulating through the blood vessels, which leads to increase pressure on the walls of the arteries.
- Tobacco use: not only dose smoking or pumping tobacco temporarily raise blood pressure, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of arterial walls. This can cause the arterial to narrow and increase the risk of heart disease. Passive smoking can also increase the risk of heart disease.
- To much (salt-sodium) in your diet: Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increase blood pressure.
- Lack of potassium in your diet: Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don’t get enough potassium, just too much sodium builds up in your blood.
- Drink a lot of alcohol
- Stress: High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in the blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only increase your high blood pressure problems.
- Some Chronic Conditions: some chronic conditions may also increase the risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, Diabetes, and sleep Apnea.
Effects of High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure in the long term can cause complication through atherosclerosis, where deposits develop on the walls of blood vessels, which leads to their narrowing. This narrowing makes high blood pressure worse, because the heart must pump hard to circulate the blood. Atherosclerosis associated with high blood pressure can lead to:
- Heart failure and Heart attacks
- An aneurysm, or an abnormal bulge in the wall of an artery that can rupture
- Renal failure
- Retinopathy and ocular hypertension, which can lead to blindness
Tip to maintain blood pressure
- Do not add salt to food
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Eating a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits
- Avoid alcohol
- Maintain constant movement and daily exercise
- Monitor weight, as it has been found that excess weight is related to high blood pressure
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