Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the reality of most middle-aged people. Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently increased pressure of blood flow. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. Each time the heartbeats, it pumps blood into the vessels. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as the heart pumps it. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.
This is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and contributes to the hardening of the arteries, leading to stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure.
What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure reading is written like this: 120/80. It’s read as “120 over 80.” The top number is called the systolic (It measures the force of blood against your artery walls while your ventricles — the lower two chambers of your heart — squeeze, pushing blood out to the rest of your body). The bottom number is called the diastolic (is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This is when the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen.)
The ranges are:
- Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
- Elevated: 120-129/less than 80
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130-139/80-89
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 140 and above/90 and above
- Hypertension crisis: higher than 180/higher than 120 — See a doctor right away
What Are The Causes of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension can be broken down into two; Primary and Secondary hypertension
Over the years, the cause of primary hypertension or essential hypertension is unknown and not identifiable. Most people have this type of high blood pressure.
Researchers are still unclear what can cause blood pressure to increase slowly. Different factors play a role, such as:
- Genes: Some people inherit these gene mutations or genetics from their parents.
- Physical changes: If something in your body changes, you may begin experiencing issues 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 ageing 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 of hypertension.
Secondary hypertension is when a direct cause of high blood pressure can be identified. One major known cause is kidney disease. Birth control pills — specifically those containing estrogen and pregnancy can boost blood pressure, as can medications that constrict blood vessels.
Key Point To Note: The exact causes of high blood pressure are unknown, but several reasons include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity
- Too much salt in the diet
- Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
- Older age
- Family history of high blood pressure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Adrenal and thyroid disorders
- Sleep apnea
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