High blood pressure is also termed as hypertension. This happens to be the most common cardiovascular ailment. People suffering from high blood pressure generally come to know about it during routine checkup.
Blood pressure means the pressure or force that the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries as it flows through the body. Just like the water on the hose or the air on the tire, the blood also exerts some pressure on the arteries. So, when the pressure to too much, it can damage the arteries which can result in a heart stroke or other cardiac ailments.
High blood pressure is known to be the prime reason of cardiac attack and stroke. As many as 73 million of people suffer from hypertension only in the US.
Measurement of Blood Pressure
The blood pressure expressed through couple of numbers. The higher number is referred as the systolic pressure. It denotes the pressure on the walls of the arteries when the heart pumps the blood. The lower number is known as the diastolic pressure that represents the pressure on the arteries when the heart rests in between the pumping.
During the birth, the normal blood pressure of the child is 90/60. In case of a healthy adult, the normal blood pressure is 120/80. Don’t be alarmed if it shows a high value if you measure it immediately after playing a game of badminton or delivering a fiery speech. The blood pressure in our body keeps changing depending upon our physical and emotional state.
The normal blood pressure may also vary with each person. It also varies in different body parts. High blood pressure makes the heart overwork and thus puts pressure on it. Apart from damaging the blood vessel, it can affect the eye, kidneys and brain.
If a person’s blood pressure shows the reading of 140/90 or higher twice, then it can said that the person suffers from hypertension. Reading of 200/120 or higher warrants immediate treatment. But for persons with diabetes, even a reading of 130/80 necessitates immediate medical attention as diabetic persons are more prone to cardiac ailments.
Medical researches recognize 120/80 as threshold limit of high blood pressure. A slightly higher reading than this is known as pre-hypertension. This condition can lead to the damage arteries, brain, kidneys and heart. Hence, such people need proper medical treatment.
Notwithstanding this constant danger, many people are not aware of their condition. Hypertension is also known as the ‘silent killer’ due to the fact it does not really manifest in the form of some early symptoms, even though it can cause serious damage to the different organs in the body. When not treated, hypertension can result in cardiac attack, vision problem, kidney failures and strokes, which can sometimes prove to be fatal.
It can even result in heart failure. People suffering from this may have difficulty in breathing. Unusually high pressure in the range of diastolic of 130 or a systolic pressure of more than 200 is known as malignant hypertension. The condition of people suffering from this can worsen rapidly and can damage the organs. Hence, such people need immediate medical treatment.
But with proper care and attention, hypertension can be kept under control. The first thing you should do it keep a tab on your blood pressure at regular intervals.
Who are prone to suffer from hypertension?
The following groups of people are more prone to be affected by high blood pressure:
- Black people
- Are obese
- Are over the age of 55
- Lead a sedentary lifestyle
- Indulge in excessive drinking
- Smoke a lot
- Take a diet high in sodium and saturated fats
- Take medications like decongestants, NSAIDS and cocaine regularly
Reasons of hypertension
In case of 95 percent of people, suffering from hypertension in the U.S., the reasons for the ailment can’t be established. Such cases of hypertension are known as essential hypertension.
Although the causes of essential hypertension are yet to be fully understood, there are certain guiding factors. Hypertension is hereditary in nature and men are more likely suffer from it than the women. The chance of black people developing it is twice than that of white people. Black women suffer most from it after the age of 65.
It is also linked to the food we eat and the lifestyle we lead. A high salt intake is known to cause it. That is why high incidence of hypertension is reported in cases of people living in the northern island in Japan, who have the highest per capita intake of salt. On the other hand, people with little salt intake generally do not suffer from it.
Most of the people suffering from hypertension are ‘salt sensitive’, which means a small amount of salt more than the body needs, can accentuate the blood pressure. The other reasons for hypertension include diabetes, anxiety, obesity, consumption of alcohol, lack of exercise and inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
If the reason behind the hypertension can be established, then it is termed as secondary hypertension. Kidney diseases are known to be the main cause of this. Other reasons can be tumors and secretion of too much by the adrenal glands. Pregnancy, birth control pills and some other medications can also increase the blood pressure.