Blood Pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension, is the condition where the blood flows with more force than normal. This, in turn can damage and rupture blood vessels and tissues. Left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to serious health complications and life-threatening conditions such as kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.
Stages of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is measured in terms of how much height the blood vessels push a column of mercury. The measurement includes two numbers, that represent the systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure.
- Systolic blood pressure: Systolic blood pressure is shown by the top number and it refers to the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure: Diastolic blood pressure is shown by the bottom number and it refers to the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart is at rest between beats.
What follows in a list on blood pressure reading and what it they represent:
- A reading below 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal.
- A reading of 120-129 mm Hg systolic blood pressure and below 80 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure is called ‘elevated blood pressure’. There is a possibility of developing high blood pressure.
- A reading in the range of 130-139/80-90 mm Hg represents Stage 1 hypertension.
- A reading of 140/90 mm Hg and above represents Stage 2 hypertension.
- A reading above 180/120 mm Hg represents hypertensive crisis and is extremely dangerous.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Symptoms of high blood pressure are not always clear and identifiable, as they can be attributed to other diseases as well. However, severe hypertension can have symptoms like headaches, dizziness, blood in the urine, nose bleeds, shortness of breath and chest pain, among others.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
The specific causes of high blood pressure can vary depending on the type of hypertension you are suffering from. Hypertension can be either primary or secondary.
- Primary Hypertension
Primary hypertension, also known as essential hypertension, does not have any specific cause, but it gradually develops in people over time. However, a number of factors can lead to essential hypertension. These factors include:
- Genetic mutations and abnormalities that are inherited at birth can lead to hypertension.
- Any underlying physical changes, for instance, due to aging, can lead to increased blood pressure.
- Lifestyle habits like the kind of diet you have, smoking, lack of physical activity, stress, being overweight, etc., can lead to primary hypertension.
- Secondary Hypertension
Secondary hypertension develops quicker than primary hypertension and is more serious than the latter as well. Secondary hypertension can be caused by a variety of underlying health conditions such as:
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid problems
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Side effects of certain medications
- Congenital heart diseases
- Alcohol abuse
- Certain tumors of the endocrine
In modern times, high blood pressure has become a common problem. On the brighter end, it can be curbed with proper caution and care. With proper dietary changes and restrictions, regular exercise and healthy life choices, hypertension can be kept in check. Make sure that your doctor regularly keeps a check on blood pressure. Consult a dietitian on HealthAssure to get a proper food chart that not only keeps your blood pressure in check, but also helps you manage your weight and compliments your workouts.
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