Contributed by: Abshar Faheem
High blood pressure is a state in which the force of the blood against the blood vessel walls is at an unusual degree or too high. The heart pumps blood into the blood vessels that bring the blood throughout your body. Your blood pressure or hypertension is determined as per how much blood is moving through your blood vessels and the quantity of resistance the blood gets while the heart is pumping.
Thin blood vessels or arteries can enhance the resistance. The narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure will be. High blood pressure or hypertension is a dangerous condition because it makes the heart function harder so that it can pump blood out of the body. This can lead to several complications such as hardening of the arteries, or vision loss, stroke, kidney disease, heart failure, and other health issues.
What happens when you have high blood pressure?
Normally, high blood pressure or hypertension is described as blood pressure beyond 140/90 and can be severe if the pressure goes beyond 180/120. Generally, high blood pressure develops with time and you will not feel any symptoms. Although without symptoms, hypertension can cause some damage to your blood vessels and organs, particularly the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys. But if blood pressure reaches 180/120 mm Hg, it shifts to a hypertensive crisis that can be a medical emergency.
At this stage, a person may feel the following signs and symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Facial flushing
- Fatigue or confusion
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Chest pain
- Trouble in sleeping
- Blurred vision
- Nose bleeding
- Sensations of heart palpitations
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Blood spot in eyes
Why does high blood pressure occur?
Experts and doctors are still trying to find out the exact cause behind high blood pressure but certain factors may contribute to your high blood pressure including,
- Irregular workout or physical activity
- Consumption of salt in high quantity
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Feeling of stress
- Older age
- Gene mutations or gene abnormalities
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Family history
- Use of illegal drugs
- The side effect of medications
- Chronic kidney diseases
- Thyroid and adrenal disorders
- Obstructive sleep apnea
What are the factors contributing to high blood pressure?
Detecting high blood pressure in the early stages is essential. Routine blood pressure readings can assist you and your healthcare provider or doctor to find out changes. If your hypertension is too high or elevated, your doctor might monitor your blood pressure over a few weeks and may wait to recognize if the degree of hypertension stays too high or comes back to its normal levels.
If hypertension is left untreated, it might cause severe health issues like heart attack and heart failure, metabolic syndrome, memory problems, torn blood vessels in the eyes, kidney failure, or stroke.
An unbalanced diet and unhealthy lifestyle habits can be raising your high blood pressure unintentionally. Following are all the things you should avoid to manage and control your blood pressure.
- Absence of physical activity: The absence of physical activity may lead to unhealthy weight or obesity although it may also raise your blood pressure. It is usually recommended to do a workout or exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Thirty minutes of workout in a day can keep you healthy and fit, lower blood pressure, boost your cardiovascular system. It can also stop you from weight gain or obesity. You can easily go out for a walk or do some easy workouts at home.
- High consumption of tobacco: High consumption of tobacco may activate high blood pressure. Regular smoking and chewing tobacco may contribute to high blood pressure or hypertension and chemicals present in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can make your arteries narrower and enhance your risk of heart disease. Moreover, it may also lead to multiple health risks, even cancer. To evade hypertension and other life-threatening diseases you must discontinue the consumption of tobacco as soon as possible. You can also ask for guidance or help if you are addicted.
- Stress: Severe stress can activate high blood pressure. Various factors can contribute to stress like office work pressure, deadlines, examination, school work, household work, and many more. The reason behind hypertension may vary from person to person. Although stress due to any reason can elevate your blood pressure. You can add some healthy practices to your daily routine to manage and control your stress. A workout is an excellent way to manage or control your stress. Other activities may also be effective. These include meditation, deep breathing, body massage, progressive muscle relaxation, walking out, or yoga. These are all proven stress-reducing techniques. Getting adequate sleep can also help reduce stress levels.
- Excess of caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine can be included in your daily routine but you may be unaware that it may also elevate your blood pressure. If you like to drink coffee then have a lighter one. Frequent consumption of excess caffeine may be harmful because some experts believe that caffeine can block a hormone that assists in keeping your arteries widened. Similarly, high consumption of alcohol may also trigger blood pressure levels. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may advise you to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to other health issues too such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Hence it is always suggested to drink alcohol in a balance.
- Consumption of sodium: People with high blood pressure are often advised to lessen their salt consumption in their diet because it can elevate your blood pressure. When you consume too much salt, which contains sodium, your body carries extra water to dilute the salt from your body. This extra water in your body enhances your blood volume meaning your heart functions harder because it can push more liquid through your blood vessels. More vigorous pumping by your heart inserts more force on the blood vessels. With time this elevated force can boost your blood pressure and harm blood vessels. It makes them stiffer that increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.
The bottom line
If your hypertension readings are continuously too high, you must not overlook this condition. In such a condition, it is imperative to discuss with your doctor immediately and take proper treatment to evade the risk of serious health issues such as cardiovascular diseases.