What is high blood pressure?
When the arteries fail to accomodate the pressure the heart pumps out blood, high blood pressure occurs. However, for it to be a medical condition it has to happen persistently. Otherwise, it can happen occasionally and be normal. Normal blood pressure should be between 120/80 mm Hg and 140/90 mm Hg. If one has a blood pressure more than 140/90 mm Hg it is a high and unhealthy blood pressure. This is where we say one has high blood pressure or is hypertensive. If it is more than 180/120 mm Hg, however, it is not only unhealthy but also dangerous. In order to survive and function properly, your tissues and organs need the oxygenated blood that your circulatory system carries throughout the body. This pressure — blood pressure — is the result of two forces: The first force (systolic pressure) occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system.
Often, high blood pressure does not show any symptoms until the pressure reaches 180/120mm Hg and turn into a
medical emergency; hence, the name the silent killer. However, it starts to show symptoms after this point. The
symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred or double vision.
There are two types of high blood pressure: essential(primary) high blood pressure and secondary high blood pressure. There are no estabilished causes for essential high blood pressure. However, some factors are associated to it. Age is one of them. The blood vessels decrease in flexibility as age increases, as a result the pressure in the arteries increase. Genetic heritage, both family and ethnic, are also important.
If one has high blood problem in their family then it increases their chance of contracting the disease. Hypertension is also more prevalent among people of African origin. Also, adult male are more likely to contract the disease as compared to women. Obesity is also another culprit. When the body gains weight the amount of blood transported increases as well. On the contrary, however, the blood vessels might not carry it because they are tightened because of the fat accumulated on them.
Smoking, in addition to narrowing the blood vessels, decreases the amount of oxygen in blood, forcing the heart to pump blood faster. Alcohol also increases blood pressure.
Diet, especially, high in animal fat is of the most important things that are associated with high blood pressure. The accumulation of unhealthy fats makes cholesterol to build around the arteries. This in turn tightens the arteries. Being overweight and obese also have similar effect. Presence of high amount of sodium in the body is also associated with high blood pressure.
There is no cure for this kind of high blood pressure but it is possible to manage it. Professionals advice patients to watch thier diets and exercise regularly. It is wise to use plants like avocadoes and olive oil as sources of fat instead of animal sources of fat. Consuming fruits regularly is also advisable. Reducing the consumption of sodium is also considered to be effective in this regard. For this reason it is very important to reduce the intake of salt, which is very rich in sodium. However, if the blood pressure gets higher than 180/120 mm Hg the risk of developing severe medical complication like heart disease, stroke or brain damage increases.
For this reason medication is prescribed at this point. On the other hand, however, secondary high blood pressure usually has known causes. It is usually caused by other medical conditions like kidney diseases, endocrine problems or obesity. When the kidney fails to filter blood the blood pressure increases. Diabetes is usually what causes this. It can, however, be caused by hormonal problems or even a tumor. Pregnancy is another cause for secondary high blood pressure. Sleep apnea, inability to breath while sleeping, can also cause high blood pressure.
Secondary high blood pressure does not respond to medications and life style changes that are effective in managing essential high blood pressure. Rather, the root cause need to be identified and treated.
High blood pressure is one of the prevalent diseases in the world. On average one in three adults have it in the US, the UK and Australia