High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is fairly common disease observed in the United States. It is known as a condition where excessive force is placed in the blood against your artery walls. Over time, this can cause more serious problems if left unchecked, such as heart disease. Blood pressure (BP) is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries become, the higher your blood pressure will measure.

You can have this condition for years without noticing any symptoms. Although no symptoms are observed, that does not mean that damage to blood vessels can still be detected. Be sure to control any case of high blood pressure to avoid serious health disorders like a heart attack, or stroke. This disease normally develops over a series of years, and ultimately affect many in the U.S. population. The good news is...high blood pressure can be detected easily. Once you know you have this health condition, you can discuss the best forms of treatment to control it and keep it from lessening your quality of life. 

When to see a physician. Your blood pressure is usually taken as part of a routine doctor's appointment. Ask your primary care physician for a blood pressure reading at least every two years starting at age 18. If you're age 40 or older, or you're 18 to 39 with an elevated risk, then as your doctor for a reading each year. Blood pressure should be checked in both arms for any observable differences.Your physician will likely recommend more frequent readings if you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure or have other risk factors for heart disease. 

Two main causes of High Blood Pressure:

  •  Primary Hypertension: Usually develops gradually over many years.
  •  Secondary Hypertension: Some patients develop high blood pressure due to an underlying condition. This type usually appears suddenly and can cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. In addition, certain conditions can also lead to secondary hypertension. These include:
    •  Obstructive sleep apnea
    •  Kidney issues
    •  Adrenal gland tumors
    •  Thyroid problems
    •  Cetain congenital birth defects
    •  Medications like birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, OTC pain relievers, etc.
    •  Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines

Risk Factors:

  1.  Age; increases with age; observed in men until about age 64, Women are more likely to develop the condition after age 65
  2.  Race; Commonly viewed among people of African heritage, often developing at an earlier age than in american men.
  3.  Family History
  4.  Being overweight or obese; higher weight means more blood needing to be pumped for oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. This increased volume of blood circulated through your bloodstream, increases the pressure put against your artery walls leading to eventual damage.
  5.  Not being physically active; inactivity can increase your heart rate which means your heart must work harder to contact, putting wear on your arteries. 
  6.  Using tobacco; the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls, narrowing them which increases heart disease risk.
  7.  Too much salt in diet; excess sodium can cause your body to retain fluid, which raises blood pressure.
  8.  Too little potassium in diet; Affects the balance of sodium in your cells. Without enough potassium, you may retain too much salt in  your blood.
  9.  Drinking excessive alcohol; heavy drinking can damage your heart. Moderation is key. 
  10.  Stress; can temporarily increase your blood pressure
  11.  Certain chronic conditions (e.g. kidney disease, diabetes, sleep apnea)

Complications:

  1. Heart attack or stroke; can cause hardening/thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), that can trigger a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
  2. Aneurysm; your blood vessels can weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If one ruptures, it can be life-threatening.
  3. Weakened or narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys; prevents the organ from functioning normally.
  4.  Altered blood vessels in the eyes; can lead to vision loss.
  5.  Metabolic Syndrome; a cluster of disorders of the body's metabolism.
  6. Trouble with memory or understanding.
  7.  Dementia; narrowed or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain, leading to this condition. 

 

The key in preventing this condition is by making the right diet and lifestyle choices so you and your loved ones can crush the likelihood of ever being diagnosed with this disease.

Choose to live your best today.