High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force (created by the blood) against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as the heart pumps the blood. The readings of blood pressure are measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury) and there are two numbers systolic and diastolic (120/80 mmHg). Either of these two numbers can be elevated. In case the systolic measure goes above 140 mmHg and/ or diastolic measure goes above 90 mmHg we are talking about hypertension.
High blood pressure (hypertension) represents a serious medical condition. It requires proper treatment and control. In case of high blood pressure the body suffers a lot of damage and there are several organs and organ systems that are particularly affected by elevated blood pressure. Apart from treating high blood pressure it is also essential to identify the underlying cause. If left untreated high blood pressure leads to a serious damage to blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys and many other organs.
The risk for high blood pressure is increased in certain medical conditions such as diabetes (both types) as well as obesity.
Causes , Incidence and Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Increased blood pressure affects people who consume food rich in salt. The condition tends to affect older people more comparing to younger generations. This can be explained by the fact that blood vessels become stiffer as we age and this eventually leads to onset of high blood pressure.
Increased risk for high blood pressure is evident in African Americans, obese people, stressed and anxious people, those with family history of high blood pressure, people suffering fro diabetes and those who smoke. Secondary hypertension develops due to alcohol abuse, atherosclerosis, certain autoimmune diseases (polyarteritis nodosa), chronic kidney disease, cocaine use, certain endocrine disorders (e.g. adrenal tumors- pheochromocytoma or aldosteronism), intake of certain medications etc.
Devastating Effects of High Blood Pressure
It is no wonder that hypertension is also known under the name 'silent killer'. In many cases one is not even aware of elevated blood pressure and the very presence of this elevations leads to damage. So until one is diagnosed with the condition the damage can be serious.
There are many complications associated with high blood pressure and they tend to develop in case elevated blood pressure is not controlled and treated properly. High blood pressure may cause aortic dissection, blood vessel damage, brain damage, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, heart attack, hypertensive heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and several complications in pregnant women. Furthermore, elevated blood pressure is also associated with stroke, severe vision damage and potential vision loss.