High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a chronic medical condition and a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease. High blood pressure may also cause a chronic kidney disease and other health problems.
Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood exerted on the walls of the arteries while the heart pumps blood. Blood can be damaged in many ways while blood pressure rises and assumes an extended high state.
When is blood pressure considered high?
The heart is required to work harder in circulating blood through the blood vessels in a normal way when blood pressure in the arteries is high. Normal blood pressure ranges from 100 to 140 mm Hg systolic for the top reading and 60 to 90 mm Hg for the bottom reading. A persistent reading of 140/90 mm Hg in a person confirms that he or she has high blood pressure.
Silent symptoms to watch out for
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms and can be identified or detected through screening or when consulting your doctor for another health problem.
A high proportion of people with high blood pressure complain of headaches particularly at the back of the head and usually in the morning. They also experience other conditions such as lightheadedness, vertigo, tinnitus, altered vision and fainting bouts. However, these symptoms are more related to anxiety than high blood pressure itself.
Types of hypertension
High blood pressure may be classified as primary hypertension or secondary hypertension.
- Most cases (which are about 90 to 95 percent) are considered primary hypertension, which means high blood pressure with no underlying medical cause.
- People with secondary hypertension or 5 to 10 percent of those with hypertension have conditions that affect the kidneys, arteries, heart or endocrine system.
Senior populations need to watch their blood pressure readings when diagnosed with borderline blood pressure. Read further on how to help seniors with borderline blood pressure.
How to control hypertension
A moderate elevation in blood pressure in the arteries is already associated with a shorter life expectancy.
A change in your diet, as well in your lifestyle, are the most effective way of controlling or improving high blood pressure and decrease the risk of associated illnesses. People who have tried changing their lifestyle but still suffer from high blood pressure would require consultation from your doctor and eventually drug treatment.
Blood pressure usually increases with age. Practicing a healthy lifestyle and having a healthy diet helps most people in delaying and sometimes preventing rapid rise in blood pressure.
High blood pressure can also be prevented by minimizing your salt intake especially for adults who should consume just one teaspoon or 1500 mgs of sodium a day. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can also prevent high blood pressure.