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Why High Blood Pressure Is Problematic

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2024
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is called hypertension. This common condition occurs when the force of the blood pushing on the blood vessel walls is too high. High blood pressure puts people’s health in danger, thus it’s problematic. Per WebMD, a leading source of medical information, people who have readings of 130/80 or higher on at least two occasions are said to have high blood pressure. Read on to learn more about this health condition.

How common is it?

One in every three adult Americans, about 65 million people, have high blood pressure. WebMD shares that over half of all Americans age 60 and older have it and over a lifetime, the risk of developing high blood pressure is 90%.

How is it diagnosed?

High blood pressure requires a medical diagnosis. Typically, health care providers test patients for high blood pressure using a cuff that wraps around the upper arm. As the cuff inflates, it squeezes a large artery. This action temporarily and momentarily interrupts the blood flow. As air is slowly let out of the cuff, the blood begins to move through the artery and the pressure is measured. Blood pressure is measured in two numbers, systolic and diastolic. Systolic measures the pressure when the heart pumps. Diastolic measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

What are the main types of hypertension?

  • Prehypertension occurs when one’s blood pressure is a bit higher than 120/less than 80.
  • Primary hypertension is the most common type of high blood pressure. This is when no other medical problem is found to cause the high blood pressure. However, some factors may be present, such as having parents with high blood pressure or being overweight.
  • Secondary hypertension is when a medical problem is present that causes high blood pressure. For example, a person may have kidney disease, a heart problem, or another condition. Sometimes, medications may cause secondary hypertension.

Lack of symptoms

Typically, no symptoms of high blood pressure are present. Hence, people are often surprised to learn they have it. In fact, it is estimated that 46% of adults with hypertension are unaware of their condition. However, very high blood pressure may cause symptoms including headaches, blurred vision, chest pain and other warning signs according to the World Health Organization.

Why address high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can quietly damage the body. It isn’t good to have because it makes the heart pump harder, and it puts blood-carrying arteries under strain. As a result, blood may not flow easily through the blood vessels.

What can high blood pressure do?

Untreated persistent high blood pressure can cause damage to organs like the heart, brain, kidneys, and sensory organs like the eyes. It can also damage the arteries, possibly leading to issues such as narrowed arteries or aneurysms. High blood pressure can also potentially lead to other serious problems like heart attacks, strokes, peripheral artery disease, and more. Additionally, hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide. As a result, finding it early and treating it promptly is vital.

What’s a patient with high blood pressure to do?

High blood pressure is problematic. Listen to medical experts and follow their guidance for treatment. Remember that physicians are your best partners in health, and the recommendations they make are intended to promote wellness and longevity.

What are the treatments?

Doctors may recommend beneficial lifestyle changes in patients with high blood pressure. This can include encouraging patients to eat healthier, lose weight, reduce salt intake, avoid caffeine and alcohol, increase exercise, cease smoking, and more. When lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower high blood pressure alone, medication(s) and other therapies may be prescribed to reduce risks of developing serious health problems.

This article is purely informational and is not intended as a medical resource. Folks are encouraged to visit their doctors regularly and discuss blood pressure results as part of one’s wellness check.

Interested in more information on this and other medical topics? Click here to visit Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit American academic medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and cutting-edge research.   Interested in tips to healthy eating? Click here.

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