Hypertension- Symptoms, Cause, and Prevention
High blood pressure (Hypertension) is a condition that is common to most people of this era. It affects the arteries
High blood pressure (Hypertension) is a condition that is common to most people of this era. It affects the arteries, where the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls is consistently too high. As a result, the heart has to work harder to pump blood.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). While a normal BP count is 120/80 mm Hg or lower, hypertension is a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
Experts have divided blood pressure into four general categories:
- Normal blood pressure- 120/80 mm Hg or lower.
- Elevated blood pressure- The top number ranges from 120 to 129 mm Hg and the bottom number is below, not above, 80 mm Hg.
- Stage 1 hypertension- The top number ranges from 130 to 139 mm Hg and the bottom number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 hypertension- The top number is 140 mm Hg or higher or the bottom number is 90 mm Hg or higher.
Meanwhile, blood pressure higher than 180/120 mm Hg is considered a hypertensive emergency or crisis. In such cases, emergency medical help is much needed.
If untreated, high bp can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious health issues. Starting from age 18, it is advisable to check your blood pressure at least every two years.
In order to avoid health hazards related to blood pressure abnormality, some healthy lifestyle habits can prevent and treat this condition. This includes not smoking, exercising, and eating well. However, in some cases, people need medicine to treat high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can be determined by two things- The size of the arteries and the amount of blood the heart pumps. The more blood the arteries pump and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure.
There are two main types of high blood pressure:
Primary Hypertension- In adults, there is no certain cause of high blood pressure, this type is called primary hypertension or essential hypertension. This condition develops gradually over years. The risk of high blood pressure increases due to plaque, called atherosclerosis, building up in the arteries.
Secondary hypertension is caused by an underlying condition. It can occur suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension can. Health conditions that can lead to secondary hypertension include adrenal gland tumors, blood vessel problems since birth (congenital heart defects), kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and thyroid problems.
Apart from these, illegal drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines, cough and cold medicines, some pain relievers, birth control pills, and other prescription drugs can also lead to secondary hypertension.
Most people with high blood pressure show no symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.
On the other hand, a few people with hypertension often have headaches, shortness of breath, and nosebleeds.
However, these symptoms aren’t specific. In these cases, symptoms usually occur only when high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.
This is why regular blood pressure checkups are always the prevention of many health issues related to hypertension.
High blood pressure can have many reasons to occur. Some common ones are age, race, family history, obesity, lack of exercise, consumption of tobacco or vaping, too much salt, low potassium level, too much alcohol, stress, certain chronic conditions, and pregnancy.
High blood pressure is most common in adults, but kids can also be affected by this condition. Hypertension in children could be the result of problems in the kidney or heart. However, in most cases, lifestyle is seen as equally responsible for kids to grow up with the causes and bear the consequences as an adult. Habits including unhealthy diets and lack of exercise are the main causes of kids’ detrimental lifestyles.