Hypertension is so common that almost everybody is affected at some point.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be.If this pressure remains consistently high, it can cause many complications in the body.
Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and more.
What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?
If your doctor consistently reads your blood pressure as 140/90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or higher, you will most likely be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Hypertension is a very common condition, in both developing countries and industrialized nations.
In fact, according to the American Heart Association, more than 76 million Americans over age 20 or 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure.
The following can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure:
Dietary choices: What you choose to eat (and not to eat) can increase your risk for hypertension, including the following:
- Older age
- Race: High blood pressure is more common in African-American adults than in Caucasian or Hispanic-American adults.
- Family history: Having a family history of high blood pressure can also increase your risk, as the condition tends to run in families.
- Being overweight: The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissue.
- Obesity: Especially abdominal obesity also increases stiffness in arteries, which increases blood pressure.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Being inactive is often linked to factors that can increase your heart rate, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Tobacco use: When you smoke or chew tobacco, your blood pressure rises temporarily. Being exposed to passive smoking also can increase your blood pressure.
- Too much salt (sodium) can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
- Since potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells, not getting enough potassium can lead to too much sodium in your blood.
- While studies are limited, vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affect your blood pressure, so having too little could be harmful.
- Alcohol consumption: Drinking more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect your blood pressure.
- Stress: Being under intense stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.
Moreover, if you try to cope with stress by overeating, using tobacco, or drinking alcohol, all these can contribute to your high blood pressure.
Chronic conditions: Having kidney disease, sleep apnea, or diabetes can affect blood pressure.
Pregnancy: Being pregnant can cause an increase in blood pressure.
Birth control: Women who take birth control pills are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to the following:
- Heart attack, angina, or both
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Retinal problems (retinopathy)
So you should get your body check up regularly after 45 years of age and if you have this disorder, you must consult your physician and take regular medicines and avoid precipitating factors.