Many people have high blood pressure but they usually do not notice it. Over time, this can lead to damage of blood vessels. High blood pressure also called essential hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which may lead to mortality.
In more than 95% of cases, etiology of hypertension is unknown. Such a patient is diagnosed as essential hypertension. Secondary hypertension results as a consequence of a specific disease or abnormality e.g. renal disease, endocrine disorder, drugs, pregnancy.
Blood pressure readings are always listed as a pair: 120/80 mmHg, for example. The higher value which comes first is the systolic blood pressure and the lower value is diastolic blood pressure. BP is measured in units of “millimeters of mercury,” written “mmHg” for short.
BP is shooted up if the systolic value is over 140mmHg or diastolic value is over 90mmHg. However, these levels were set for practical understanding and are a general guide. Experts totally don’t agree to this fact. There is no parameter that defines the value of lower blood pressure.
Classification of Blood Pressure
|Category||Blood Pressure mm Hg.|
|Normal||Normal < 120||Normal < 80|
|Stage 1 hypertension||140-159||90-99|
|Stage 2 hypertension||> 160||> 100|
Types of Hypertension
Essential or Primary Hypertension – The exact cause of this type of hypertension is unknown. It is diagnosed when the blood pressure continues to be high with no cause identified.
Secondary Hypertension – When your hypertension occurs as a result of any underlying disease then it is termed as secondary hypertension. Usually it may occur either due to an abnormality in the arteries or an obstruction in your airways while sleeping. This may also be due to you may have secondary hypertension. This can also be caused by hormonal abnormalities, diseases of the thyroid, etc.
Hypertension is classified into a few more types. They are:
Isolated Systolic Hypertension
Normal blood pressure is usually considered in the range of 120/80. In this category people will have risen systolic value (above 120), whereas the diastolic pressure remains in the normal range (below 90). This is common in upper age group above 65yrs. The most common cause of this type of hypertension is the loss of arterial elasticity.
This is more often seen in young adults and is a very rare type of hypertension. This occurs only in 1% of the hypertensive candidates. Malignant hypertension occurs when blood pressure rises suddenly and is requires immediate medical care.
This type of hypertension happens mostly due genetic inheritance. About 20-30% hypertensive individuals fall in this category. Even after taking the prescribed medicines from physician the BP remains high.
What are the probable causes of Blood Pressure?
• Blood pressure usually increases with age
• Stress or fear can also result in increased BP
• Lack of sufficient sleep
• Increased physical activity or exercise
• Overweight or obesity
• Over usage of salt in diets
• Consumption of Alcohol
• Some medications can also increase the risk of blood pressure
• Weakened heart muscles.
• Sedentary life style
• Family history
What are the symptoms of High blood pressure?
Most individuals might not show any signs and symptoms even if the blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. Few people might exhibit symptoms like:
• Shortness of breath
• Epistaxis (nosebleeds)
• Double or blurry vision
But these signs and symptoms aren’t specific. It varies from person to person. This usually doesn’t show up until the blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.
Major risk factors for high blood pressure include:
• Being overweight or obese
The more weight you have, the body has increased work to supply oxygen and other nutrients to the tissues. As the circulation increases through blood vessels the pressure inside the arteries also increase.
• High salt (sodium) in your diet
Excess intake of sodium leads to retaining fluids in the body. This leads to constriction of arteries in the body which leads to increase blood pressure.
• Too little potassium in your diet
Potassium helps balance the level of sodium in the cells. Potassium also leads the smooth muscle cells in arteries to relax, which reduces the blood pressure.
• Physically inactive
Exercise is the best way to help the body function well. Being active helps the body to increases blood flow through all arteries which generates natural hormones and cytokines that relax blood vessels, which in turn optimises the blood pressure. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of obesity
• Drinking too much alcohol
Indulging in more than two drinks per day can cause hypertension. It can be due to adrenergic nervous system which causes constriction of blood vessels and simultaneous increase in blood flow and heart rate.
• Mental Stress
High levels of stress can lead to a temporary, but drastic, increase in blood pressure. Following relaxation and meditation techniques effectively lower blood pressure.
• Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Continuous intake of medicines like NSAIDs increases the risk for damage of arteries. This in turn worsens kidney, heart or even can worsen the condition to stroke or heart attack.
• Certain chronic conditions
Certain disease conditions like diabetes, kidney disease and sleep apnoea, also increase your risk of hypertension.
• A diet deficient in vitamin D
Less Vitamin D in the body can risk high blood pressure. Researchers believes that vitamin D may has effects on the enzyme produced by kidneys thereby effecting blood pressure.
Diet rich in whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products can prevent the risks and complications for hypertension. Consider boosting the potassium intake. Rather than the supplements it can be enhanced through fruits and vegetables. Reduce the intake of too much salt in the daily diet. Do not overburden your body with incompatible food items