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CAUSES, EFFECTS AND PREVENTION OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION)

High blood pressure is also called HBP or Hypertension.

Blood pressure is the tension or force with which blood runs against the wall of the arteries. When this is too high it is termed High Blood Pressure or Hypertension. The normal blood pressure ranges from 120/80 below, Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure goes above 140/90 and is considered as chronic when the blood pressure reaches 180/120 or goes higher than this. The more blood your heart has to pump, and the narrower your arteries, the higher the blood pressure. It makes it harder for the heat to pump blood out to the body and can lead to a hardening of the arteries.
It is important to keep a regular track of your blood pressure by checking it regularly, there are different ranges to the blood pressure and they are;
  1. Normal blood pressure; 120/80 or less
  2. Elevated blood pressure 120-129/80 or less
  3. Stage 1 high blood pressure; 130-139/80-89
  4. Stage 2 high blood pressure; 140/90 and above
  5. Hypertension Crisis stage; 180/120 and above.
CausesAlthough Hypertension may not have a definite cause, there are various factors which can contribute to an increase in a person’s blood pressure. These contributors include,

  • Age; Naturally the risks of having a high blood pressure are usually increased in people as they get older, from ages 35 and above a person is more prone to getting a high blood pressure if it is not prevented.
  • Lifestyle; a person’s lifestyle choices also plays a major role in the risks of having a high blood pressure for instance, people who smoke consistently or indulge in heavy consumption of alcohol are more prone to having a high blood pressure.
  • Family history; genetics can make a person stand a high chance of getting a high blood pressure, families with high record of hypertensive patient are usually advised to be more at alert as they are more prone to have more people coming up with a high blood pressure.
  • Pregnancy; pregnancy can also contribute to having a higher blood pressure than normal.
  • Stress; this is one of the major contributors especially in urban setups, lack of rest and inadequate sleep can increase the risks of having a high blood pressure.
  • Diet; it is Important to be mindful and watchful of what foods we consume and how we consume them, a high consumption of red meats and salty foods aslo puts a person at risk of a high blood pressure.
  • Weight; an unhealthy weight gain can also increase the risks of having a high blood pressure.
  • Lack of exercise; inadequate physical activity and a lack of body exercise also greatly contribute to having a high blood pressure, it is important to keep active as often as possible to enable an easy flow of blood through the body.
  • High consumption of salt; a high consumption of salts and sodium based foods also contribute to a high blood pressure.
  • Race; it has been observed based on medical records that Africans and African-Americans have a higher risk of having a high blood pressure than many other races.
  • Kidney diseases
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Birth control Pills
Symptoms

High blood pressure is referred to as “the silent killer” as it is not necessarily identifiable by specific symptoms. The only way to be sure of your blood pressure is through regular check-ups, however, there are certain signs to look out for and if noticed it is advisable to see a doctor immediately as they may be pointers to a high blood pressure and these include;

  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pains
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood spotting in urine
  • Pounding sensation in chest neck or ears
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Sleeping Disorders.

However once these symptoms occur, check your blood pressure level immediately, it is risky to allow these symptoms persist before finding out if they are related to hypertension or not.

Effects of High blood pressure
Hypertension in itself is a very discomforting condition to be in, coupled with that, it is a contributor to a lot of risky health conditions. Stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, eye problems, mental challenges, cardiac arrests and untimely deaths are some of the risks associated with having an unhealthy blood pressure.
Prevention
Either we are at a risk of having a high blood pressure or not, it is pretty important to be on the lookout for our health an overall well-being, however if you at a risk of being diagnosed with hypertension it is mandatory to consider the following tips for prevention;
  • Healthy diet including fruits, veggies, proteins, whole grains
  • Reduce meat especially red meat
  • Cut sugar intake
  • Set weight goals to monitor and control unhealthy weight gain
  • Monitor blood pressure regularly, you should have a personal heart rate monitor so you can check yourself often and keep record
  • Exercise regularly and stay active as often as you can
  • Reduce stress and you can also consider meditation, massage and yoga to help achieve a balanced state of mind
  • Reduce salt intake and foods with a high percentage of sodium.

There are no known definite cures to hypertension but if kept in check the blood pressure can be stabilized especially by observing the above listed preventive measures.

Keep your heart healthy!

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