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Definition, Causes, And Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. We shall learn about the definition, the causes, and the symptoms of hypertension.

Your blood pressure measurement considers how much blood passes through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while pumping.

Narrow arteries increase resistance. The narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure will be. Over the long term, the increased pressure can cause health issues, including heart disease.

Hypertension is quite common. Hypertension typically develops over several years. Usually, you don’t notice any symptoms.

But even without symptoms, high blood pressure can cause damage to your blood vessels and organs, especially the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys.

Early detection is essential. Regular blood pressure readings can help you, and your physician notices any changes.

If your blood pressure is elevated, your physician may have you check your blood pressure over a few weeks to see if the number stays elevated or falls back to normal levels.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?
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Treatment for hypertension includes both prescription medication and healthy lifestyle changes. If the condition isn’t treated, it could lead to health issues, including heart attack and stroke.

Also read: How To Treat High Blood Pressure

There are two types of hypertension. Each class has a different cause.

I) Primary hypertension:- Primary hypertension is also called essential hypertension. This kind of hypertension develops over time with no identifiable cause. Most people have this type of high blood pressure.

Researchers are still unclear what mechanisms cause blood pressure to increase slowly. A combination of factors may play a role. These factors include:

  • Genes: Some people are genetically predisposed to hypertension. This may be from gene mutations or genetic abnormalities inherited from your parents.
  • Physical changes:  If something in your body changes, you may begin experiencing problems throughout your body. High blood pressure may be one of those issues. For example, it’s thought that changes in your kidney function due to aging may upset the body’s natural balance of salts and fluid. This change may cause your body’s blood pressure to increase.
  • Environment: Over time, unhealthy lifestyle choices like lack of physical activity and poor diet can take their toll on your body. Lifestyle choices can lead to weight problems. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for hypertension.

ii) Secondary hypertension:- Secondary hypertension often occurs quickly and can become more severe than primary hypertension.

Several conditions that may cause secondary hypertension include kidney disease, sleep apnea, congenital heart defects, problems with thyroid, side effects of medications, use of illegal drugs, alcohol abuse or chronic use, adrenal gland problems, certain endocrine tumors.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

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Hypertension is generally a silent condition. Many people won’t experience any symptoms. It may take years or even decades for the condition to reach levels severe enough that symptoms become apparent. Even then, these symptoms may be attributed to other issues.

Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:

  • shortness of breath,
  • nosebleeds,
  • flushing,
  • dizziness,
  • chest pain,
  • visual changes,
  • blood in the urine.
  • headaches

These symptoms require immediate medical attention. They don’t occur in everyone with hypertension, but waiting for a symptom of this condition to appear could be fatal.

The best way to know if you have hypertension is to get regular blood pressure readings. Most physicians’ offices take a blood pressure reading at every appointment.

If you only have a yearly physical, talk to your physician about your risks for hypertension and other readings you may need to help you watch your blood pressure.

For example, if you have a family history of heart disease or have risk factors for developing the condition, your physician may recommend checking your blood pressure twice a year. This helps you and your physician stay on top of any possible issues before they become problematic.

What are the effects of high blood pressure on the body?

Because hypertension is often a silent condition, it can cause damage to your body for years before symptoms become apparent. If hypertension is left untreated, it may lead to serious, even fatal, complications.

Complications of hypertension

I) Damaged arteries; Healthy arteries are flexible and strong. Blood flows freely and unobstructed through healthy arteries and vessels. Hypertension makes arteries tougher, tighter, and less elastic.

This damage makes it easier for dietary fats to deposit in your arteries and restrict blood flow. This damage can lead to increased blood pressure, blockages, and, eventually, heart attack and stroke.

ii) Damaged heart; Hypertension makes your heart work too hard. The increased pressure in your blood vessels forces your heart’s muscles to pump more frequently and with more force than a healthy heart should have to. This may cause an enlarged heart.

An enlarged heart increases your risk for the following: heart failure, arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, or heart attack.

iii) Damaged brain. Your brain relies on a healthy supply of oxygen-rich blood to work properly. High blood pressure can reduce your brain’s supply of blood: Temporary blockages of blood flow to the brain are called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).

Significant blockages of blood flow cause brain cells to die. This is known as a stroke. Uncontrolled hypertension may also affect your memory and ability to learn, recall, speak, and reason.

Treating hypertension often doesn’t erase or reverse the effects of uncontrolled hypertension. It does, however, lower the risks for future problems.

Check out: High blood pressure quick diagnosis strategy

What’s your experience with high blood pressure? Any queries? Any correction or addition is welcomed.