Are You Having High BP?

High blood pressure is a common disorder that affects the body’s arteries. It is also called hypertension. The force of the blood pushing against the artery walls is consistently too high if you have high blood pressure. It must function tougher to pump blood.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury. Overall, hypertension is a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.

Experts divide blood pressure into four general categories. 

  • Normal blood pressure. It is 120/80 mm Hg.
  • Raised blood pressure. The upper number ranges from 120 to 129 mm Hg and the bottom number are lower, not above, 80 mm Hg.
  • Phase 1 hypertension. The upper number ranges from 130 to 139 mm Hg or the lower number is between 80- and 89-mm Hg.
  • Phase 2 hypertension. The above number is 140 mm Hg or higher or the below number is 90 mm Hg or more.
  • If it is higher than 180/120 mm Hg is considered a hypertensive emergency or crisis. 

Untouched, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems. It is significant to have your blood pressure checked at least every two years starting at age 18. 

Healthy routine habits such as not smoking, exercising, and eating well can help stop and treat high blood pressure. Most people need medicine to treat high blood pressure.

What are the Symptoms?

Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, although blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. You can have high blood pressure for years without any indications.

A few individuals with high blood pressure may have:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds

Yet, these indications aren’t specific. They usually do not happen until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

What are the Causes?

Blood pressure is regulated by two things: the quantity of blood the heart pumps and how hard it is for the blood to move through the arteries. The more blood the heart pumps and the thinner the arteries, the higher the blood pressure.

The types of high blood pressure are given below.

Primary hypertension

There is no recognizable cause of high blood pressure for most adults. And this is called primary hypertension. It inclines to progress gradually over many years. Plaque formation in the arteries, called atherosclerosis, increases the risk of high blood pressure.

Secondary hypertension

This form of hypertension is caused by an underlying condition. It starts suddenly and causes higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. Conditions and drugs that can lead to secondary hypertension comprise:

  • Adrenal gland tumour
  • Blood vessel complications present at birth, also called congenital heart defects
  • Cough and cold tablets, some pain killers, birth control pills, and other prescription drugs
  • Illegal drugs, like cocaine and amphetamines
  • Kidney disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Thyroid problems

Occasionally just getting a health check-up causes blood pressure to increase. This is called white coat hypertension.

What are the Complications?

The unnecessary pressure on the artery walls caused by high blood pressure can harm blood vessels and body organs. The higher the blood pressure and the longer it stays high, the greater the damage.

If left untouched this can lead to complications including:

Heart attack or stroke- Toughening and thickening of the arteries due to high blood pressure or other factors can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.

Aneurysm- Elevated blood pressure can cause a blood vessel to weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If an aneurysm breaks, it can lead to life threatening bleeding.

Heart failure- When you have elevated blood pressure, the heart must work harder to pump blood. The tension causes the walls of the heart’s pumping chamber to thicken. This condition is called left ventricular hypertrophy. Ultimately, the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, causing heart failure.

Kidney problems- High blood pressure can cause the blood vessels in the kidneys to become thin or weak. This can lead to kidney damage.

Eye problems. Elevated blood pressure can cause thickened, narrowed, or torn blood vessels in the eyes. This can result in vision loss.

Metabolic syndrome- This disease is a group of disorders of the body’s metabolism. It includes the uneven breakdown of sugar. The syndrome comprises increased waist size, high triglycerides, reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. These situations make you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Variations with memory or understanding– Uncontrolled high blood pressure may disturb the ability to think, recollect and learn.

Dementia- Tapering or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain. This can cause a specific type of dementia called vascular dementia. A stroke that disturbs blood flow to the brain also can cause vascular dementia.