Over 29% of adult Americans suffer from high blood pressure. In fact, children can also develop high blood pressure if the right measures are not taken at the right time. Among non-Hispanic Whites, about 30.7% of women and 33.4% of men have blood pressure. Thus, I suppose, high blood pressure or hypertension is not a new word or concept to you. Isn’t it hard to watch our loved ones suffer the risk of heart diseases due to high blood pressure? Let’s identify the causes and effects of high B.P first to choose a proper lifestyle for ourselves and our family.
But, before we begin...
It is crucial for us to understand what hypertension is. Blood pressure is the amount of force blood exerts on the walls of the arteries while flowing. When this pressure increases, we call it high blood pressure. High B.P can wear down the walls of the arteries and cause death. If you are not sure about your blood pressure, get it checked today by a physician. Anything higher than ‘130 over 80 mmHG’ will be considered as abnormal.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Our hearts pump blood throughout the body. The blood which has low oxygen levels is pumped towards the lungs by the heart to replenish itself. Then the blood rich in oxygen is pumped throughout the body to supply the cells and muscles. This pumping action is what creates the pressure. When the walls of the arteries are under too much constant pressure, we call it high blood pressure and the doctors call it hypertension.
Speaking of the causes of high blood pressure, we need to divide the blood pressure into two categories:
Essential high blood pressure- This one does not have any specific cause. It just happens with increasing age.
Secondary high blood pressure: This one occurs due to some other secondary health issue. It can occur due to persisting diabetes or some other renal problem in your body.
Some of the factors contribute to the high blood pressure regardless of the category. You can control some of these, and you can’t control the others. Let’s see what you have in your hands and how you can curb the effects of high blood pressure.
You can’t do anything about the age, right? Anyway, with passing age, the risk of high blood pressure also increases considerably. The blood vessels become less flexible and hence more susceptible to high blood pressure.
2. Ethnic background
Did you know that African-Americans have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure? This is primarily due to their high rate of responsiveness towards certain medications. They may be having those medications as a part of their background.
3. Family history
It is very common to see members of the same family suffer from high blood pressure. It is better to get your family history checked to be on the safe side.
4. Obesity and overweight
Obese people are more prone to high blood pressure. Consult with your doctor to check if you are really over-weight. Body-shaming isn’t right. But, keeping your weight under control due to health issues is absolutely right.
5. Physical inactivity
How often have you been asked to exercise daily at least for 30 minutes? Well, it looks like this advice can help you curb the occurrence of high blood pressure. An unhealthy lifestyle and lack of exercise can increase the risk of high blood pressure to a great extent.
Adult men are way more prone than adult women when it comes to high blood pressure. After 55 years of age, women become more susceptible to this disease than men.
You definitely have control over this. Smoking tends to narrow down your blood vessels. Thus, it increases your blood pressure. Tobacco also reduces the oxygen content of your blood. Therefore, the heart tends to pump faster to cover up the sudden surge in blood pressure.
8. Poor diet
According to most expert dieticians, a high concentration of fats and salt causes the risk of high blood pressure. Also, there are specific types of fat that may cause increased blood pressure. You better have a word with your dietician to follow a healthy diet.
9. Intake of alcohol
Increased amounts of alcohol can also raise your blood pressure dramatically. Thus, it also increases the risk of irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and a stroke.
10. High cholesterol
Most of the people with high blood pressure also have high cholesterol. Even doctors believe that diets that consist of unhealthy fats cause high blood pressure. Get your levels of cholesterol checked before it gives rise to increased blood pressure.
11. Mental stress
Have you been feeling stressed these days? You better get your blood pressure checked right away. Stress can increase your blood pressure in a way you have never imagined. Chronic mental stress occurs due to both socioeconomic and psychological factors.
Diabetic patients have always been very prone to hypertension. Follow the right doses of insulin and keep your blood sugar level in control to curb the occurrence of high blood pressure. Also, follow your prescribed medication to take care of the disease.
Other factors, such as pregnancy and sleep apnea, can also lead to high blood pressure. The bottom line is, you need to follow a healthy lifestyle to keep the increased blood pressure under control. Some of the most common signs of high blood pressure are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc.
What are the effects of high blood pressure on the body?
High blood pressure can damage your body quietly for a very long time. By the time you realize that it might be too late for you to handle. Some of the most common effects of high blood pressure are:
1. Coronary artery disease
This affects the arteries that carry blood to your heart. In coronary heart disease, the arteries are unable to do their jobs. It also leads to chest pain, irregular heartbeats, and a heart attack.
2. Enlarged left heart
Your heart works harder than usual in case of high blood pressure. This leads to an enlarged heart and also causes heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and heart failure.
3. Heart failure
High blood pressure weakens your heart and makes it work less efficiently. Eventually, it wears out and fails to work completely.
High blood pressure damages and weakens your brain cells. Thus, your brain may not need the oxygen and nutrients that it needs, leading to brain stroke.
The narrowing down of arteries can impair your ability to think, speak or remember things. Thus, high blood pressure can be also dementia and interrupt the blood flow in your brain.
Hopefully, now you have got all your doubts clarified regarding the high blood pressure. Have a word with your doctor in case you have been experiencing the symptoms of high blood pressure. Take care of your health.