To begin with, hypertension is one of the most common lifestyle ailments in the world, and the multitude of people suffering from it is constantly on the rise. As per a WHO report, nearly 7.5 million lives worldwide are lost each year due to raised blood pressure, which is another term for hypertension.
The effects of hypertension are life-threatening, and often people suffer from it without showing apparent symptoms. Hence, it becomes even more important to understand what the nitty-gritties of this health condition are and try preventing it while you still have time.
What is hypertension and what are its impacts?
Blood pressure refers to the pressure exerted by your blood on the wall of the arteries. Commonly, this pressure is the highest when your heart beats and pumps blood, and is described as systolic pressure. The pressure falls when your heart is at rest between the beats which is described as diastolic pressure.
Hypertension is the condition when your blood pressure is abnormally high. Blood pressure is generally denoted by two numbers –
Blood pressure around 119/79 is considered normal
A pressure of around 140/90 or higher is what denotes high blood pressure
High Blood pressure can have serious impacts on your health, and the longer the condition is ignored, the worse it grows to be. The excessive pressure on the walls of the artery due to high blood pressure can be damaging to the blood vessels and other organs. Some of the most serious issues that uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to, include –
Stroke – High blood pressure can cause thickening of the arteries which can eventually lead to stroke, heart attack.
Heart failure – In order to counter the raised pressure on the vessels, the muscles of your heart thicken. This thickening, however, makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood, subsequently leading to heart failure.
Organ malfunction–The weakening of blood vessels often causes organ malfunctions.
Aneurysm – Raised blood pressure can lead to bulging and weakening of blood vessels, causing an aneurysm. The rupturing of an aneurysm could further cause excessive bleeding and prove life-threatening for you.
Metabolic syndrome – High blood pressure along with various other disorders such as low HDL, increased waist circumference, high levels of insulin and so on, lead to metabolic syndrome. This eventually leads to the development of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
Memory issues – People suffering from high blood pressure often have trouble thinking or understanding clearly, and also learning or remembering things.
Causes and risk factors
No clear causes for high blood pressure have been known. However, specialists point out certain factors that were common across patients of hypertension as the possible risk factors. Some of these factors include –
Obesity–When you are overweight, you require more blood to meet the oxygen and nutrient need of your body. This increased blood circulation through the vessels puts more strain on the walls causing hypertension.
Inactivity–People leading sedentary lives have often increased heart rate, which pushes their hearts to work harder with each contraction thus increasing the pressure on their hearts.
Alcohol abuse–Alcoholism or high alcohol consumption is also related to high blood pressure, not to mention the increase in the risk of heart diseases.
Certain medications – A few types of medications such as birth control pills and pain relievers also increase the risk of hypertension in people.
Inherited predisposition–Hypertension also has a genetic component attached to it. Shared genetics or similar lifestyles often cause high blood pressure to run in the family.
Excessive salt intake – Consuming excess salt makes your body hold on to more fluid which makes your blood pressure go high.
Stress – Stress has also been considered as one of the precursors of hypertension, not to mention that people often take to alcoholism when stressed.
Anothercondition–Secondary hypertension is the condition which results from other health disorders such as thyroid disorder, kidney disorders, sleep disorders, diabetes etc.
Routine checkups can help determine if your blood pressure is within limits or high. You may also need to take certain dietary measures to keep your hypertension within the limit. And in this fast pacing life, healthy lifestyle modifications can go a long way in decreasing the alarming effects of hypertension.