High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a disease in which blood flows through the arteries at higher than normal pressure. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries, stroke (brain damage), kidney disease and to the development of heart failure.
Causes of high blood pressure (hypertension)
I believe that the main cause of Hypertension is our unhealthy lifestyle.
- Eating too much salt;
- No physical activity;
- Drinking too much alcohol;
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
There are other causes of Hypertension which have nothing to do with our lifestyle and these include:
Blood vessel structure and function:
Changes in the structure and function of small and large arteries may contribute to high blood pressure.
as we get older, the effects of unhealthy lifestyle over the years can build up and increase the blood pressure
Race or Ethnicity:
people from African-Caribbean and South Asian communities are at greater risk than other people of high blood pressure.
A family history of hypertension increases the risk of developing prehypertension or high blood pressure. Some people have a high sensitivity to sodium and salt. Genetic causes of this condition run through the family and put you at risk.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and High Blood Pressure:
This happens because renal failure changes the way the body controls fluids, sodium, and hormones in the blood, which leads to secondary high blood pressure. Treating the medical problem may lower the blood pressure back to normal.
Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
HBP usually has no obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to know if you have this condition is to have your blood pressure measured. However, a single high reading does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Many things can affect your blood pressure through the day, so your doctor will take a number of different measurements to see whether it stays high over time.
Occasionally people with a very high measure report to experience headaches, but it is best to visit your Doctor if you are concerned about symptoms.
Because diagnosis is based on blood pressure readings alone, this condition can go undetected for years, as symptoms do not usually appear until the body is damaged from chronic high blood pressure.
Stages of High Blood Pressure in Adults
|High blood pressure Stage 1||140–159||OR||90–99|
|High blood pressure Stage 2||160 or higher||OR||100 or higher|
The ranges in the table above are blood pressure guides for adults who do not have any short-term serious illnesses. People with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should keep their blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg.
How to treat High Blood Pressure
To best control your blood pressure, follow your treatment plan and take all medications as prescribed. Sticking to your treatment plan is important because it can prevent or delay complications that high blood pressure can cause on your overall health and can therefore lower your risk for other related problems.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help lower your HBP. This includes:
Limiting sodium and salt intake:
Reducing salt or sodium content in your diet can help you manage your blood pressure. You should try to limit the amount of sodium that you eat. This means choosing and preparing foods that are lower in salt and sodium. Try to use low-sodium and “no added salt” foods and seasonings at the table or while cooking.
Being physically active:
Routine physical activity can lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk for other health problems
Maintaining a healthy weight:
A loss of few kilos can lower the risk for health problems. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you control your high blood pressure and reduce the risk for other health related problems.
Keep in mind that no matter how much you weight, it is important and essential to control a healthy blood pressure to maintain good health.
Limiting alcohol intake:
Too much alcohol will raise your blood pressure. It can also cause weight gain because alcohol also adds extra calories.
Managing and coping with stress:
Learning how to relax, manage stress and cope with problems can improve your emotional and physical health and can lower your blood pressure.
Stress management techniques include:
- Being physically active
- Listening to music
- Performing yoga